U.S. Marines train to fight and win in any environment—but no amount of training or planning will help a Marine fight a dental emergency.
The responsibility of dental readiness in the Marine Corps falls to the Dental Corps of the U.S. Navy. The service members of II Marine Expeditionary Force rely on the Sailors from 2nd Dental Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group for their dental health.
2nd Dental Battalion conducted an Authorized Dental Allowance List (ADAL) exercise at Camp Lejeune, December 2-13.
“The ADAL exercise gives us an opportunity to practice the whole reason we’re here, supporting the warfighter in an austere environment with dental care,” said Lt. Craig Cedermark, dentist and platoon commander with the unit.
ADAL is a field dentistry kit utilized by dentists when they work in the field. The kit has everything needed to sustain dental readiness including patient chairs, X-ray machines, sterilizing equipment and dental instruments.
“From limitations of supplies and personnel, working with the different field equipment, to just being out here in the elements, these are all challenges that the Sailors have to overcome” Cedermark said, “We wouldn’t want a Sailor’s first time seeing this gear to be when they’re dealing with a million other stressors.”
The Sailors normally work in the dental clinic alongside dental officers providing routine dental care in a traditional setting. Being in a field environment however, gave some a chance to work on their basic combat skills as well.
Marines with Battle Skills Training School taught classes to the dental crew on machine gun drills, radio operations and the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
“We don’t get many opportunities to get this kind of field and weapons training. Having these Marines out here teaching these classes and drills is something that these Sailors may not get anywhere else,” said Lt. Jennifer Kolin, officer in charge of the exercise.
Sailors working within Marine Corps units are held to similar standards to Marines with respect to combat skills. They can—and are—called upon during times of conflict to operate weapon systems and use tactical gear. Sailors are tested on Marine Corps knowledge and skills when earning their Fleet Marine Force pin. The pin symbolizes that the Sailor has earned their place in the Fleet Marine Force and having it on your uniform is a goal of all Sailors working in Marine units.
Over the two-week long exercise the Sailors of 2nd Dental Battalion cared for 125 patients and contributed to the overall readiness of II MEF.