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Army dental assistants perform in operation arctic care

The versatility of our United States Army Dental Assistants was once again displayed during Operation Arctic Care 2005 held in the frozen tundra of the Alaskan peninsula from March 19th to April 1st. This major exercise is designed as a unique medical/dental training opportunity for members of the military while at the same time providing hard to get care to native Indians throughout the peninsula.

Operation Arctic Care is an annual multiservice readiness exercise that offers training in moving Army, Navy, Air Force, Reserve, Guard, U.S.

Public Health Service and native health personnel and their equipment/materials to remote locations in providing health care under realistic conditions. The locations served this year were the Kodiak Area Native Association and the Tanana Chiefs Conference villages of Ouzinkie, Port Lions, Larsen Bay, Karluk, Akhiok, Old Harbor Hughes, Huslia, Ruby Kaltag, and Nulato.

These often remote and isolated villages provide a huge challenge logistically as many of the areas can only be approached by air or sea. Austere conditions such as high winds, heavy snow, rain and fog also added to the challenges of moving personnel and equipment to the villages for the rendering of medical/dental care. Through it all, seven soldier dental assistants from the Western Regional Dental Command based out of Fort Wainwright (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Fort Richardson (Anchorage, Alaska) weathered the storms and barriers in ultimately working side by side with dental officers from different services in performing dental care to a ombined total of 1,477 native Indians

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