MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
As the sun rose on the morning of Aug. 13, Marines and sailors at the Combat Center’s Camp Wilson began forming a line outside the Combat Center’s Mobile Dental Unit with their dental records in hand.
While none of the Marines looked anxious to be told to take a seat in the dental chair, the MDU was there to ensure the Marines got the dental treatment they needed as quick and as easy as possible.
“The MDU is a $250,000 mobile dental clinic designed to bring healthcare support to the active duty unit that has limited access to the main branch dental clinic,” said Cmdr. Kurt J. Brockman, 23rd Dental Company Commander. “It is manned by one dental officer and a hospital corpsman to deliver dental service as required for optimum operational readiness.”
In addition to servicing the Marines and sailors of the Combat Center, the MDUs are often used for humanitarian and civil service operations.
Brockman said 23rd Dental Company, which is part of 1st Dental Battalion, Camp Pendleton, Calif., operates the MDU for the Combat Center. MDU’s have been part of the Dental Corps for 16 years.
Seaman Mark Arceneaux, hospital corpsman, said the Combat Center’s MDU is an all-around dental office on wheels.
The objective of the MDU is to bring the dental clinic to the Combat Center’s Marines and sailors in an attempt to keep the main dental clinic from becoming too congested, added Acreneaux, a native of Houston.
The unit provides dental technicians with the ability to perform dental examinations, x-rays, cleanings and even operative work in a clean and safe environment which mirrors a traditional dental office.
The unit often supports 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment; 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment; and often makes trips to Camp Wilson to service the Marines and sailors participating in Exercise Mojave Viper, a pre-deployment training evolution.
The MDU allows units to be more time efficient while also allowing them to get the proper medical care they need, added Arceneaux.
“The key is to get the Marines back to their training as quickly as possible,” said Arceneaux.
Sgt. Dennis Bailey, chief cook, Camp Wilson Mess Hall, said the best way to describe the MDU is convenient.
Bailey, a native of Long Island, N.Y., said he arrived at work on the morning of Aug. 13 and was told he had a dental appointment. The MDU arrived at Camp Wilson, shortly after, helped him fill out the necessary paperwork, examined him and had him on his way in very little time.
Brockman added the 23rd Dental Company has always had one MDU, but has recently added another that will be fully operational as soon as dental technicians and vehicle operators becomes readily available.
For more information about the Mobile Dental Unit or to schedule a visit for your unit, contact Lt. Cmdr. Nancy Osborne at 830-7054.