By Lt. Col. Eric DankoMay 28, 2019
Soldiers of the 673rd Dental Company (Area Support), the 508th Military Police Battalion, and the Joint Base Lewis-McChord DENTAC combined their efforts to execute "Operation Saberwire" from 13-17 May 2019 to provide patient treatment at the Northwestern Joint Regional Correctional Facility on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Prior to executing patient treatment 673rd DCAS Soldiers established an area of operations in the field in order to train on dental and operational equipment. During this time, Soldiers refined their skills setting up tents, operating expeditionary field dental equipment and utilizing power distribution systems while also training Army Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills. Patient treatment began after the set up field dental clinics outside of Dental Clinic 3.
"Operation Saberwire allowed the 673rd DCAS to test their expeditionary capabilities outside of Dental Clinic 3, and their sustainment capabilities within the correctional facility," said Lt. Col. Eric Danko, commander of 673rd DCAS.
The Soldiers established fifteen mobile dental operatories with the equipment the unit would utilize on a deployment. These self-powered and sustaining facilities were set up to prepare the Soldiers for real world follow on missions.
"This is the first time we have been able to incorporate our MTOE Assigned Personnel to train with the unit," said Danko. "Fifteen dentists from eight locations across the continental United States and Hawaii joined eleven local JBLM dentists for the training. The dentists enjoyed training with the Soldiers organic to 673rd and the exercise increased shared understanding between the dentists and dental technicians."
There was also additional value beyond training and providing immediate dental care to 150 patients; an estimated 545 hours of manpower were saved.
"This increased my confidence in the ability for us to provide great care in a deployment setting with our issued dental field equipment," said Cpt. Matthew Waite, a dentist at JBLM.
By working with 508th Military Police Battalion and the JBLM DENTAC risk minimized during this operation, by treating inmates within the correctional facility and preventing the need for transportation outside the facility.
"Morale was high and the teamwork was phenomenal," said Danko. "Our Soldiers are now better trained for deployment. We greatly appreciate the support of the 508th Military Police Battalion and the JBLM DENTAC."