Story Number: NNS140821-20Release Date: 8/21/2014 9:27:00 PM
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Terah Bryant, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Public Affairs
PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- Naval Medical Center Portsmouth celebrated the Navy's Dental Corps' 102nd birthday two days early Aug. 20 in the courtyard with a ceremony and cake cutting.
NMCP has eight dental clinics in southeastern Virginia with more than 530 dental staff members consisting of dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental laboratory technicians and maxillofacial laboratory technicians.
"We serve the largest concentration of naval personnel in the eastern United States," said Cmdr. Raynese Fikes, director for dental services.
The ceremony included a reading of birthday messages from the Navy Dental Corps' chiefs and the Force Master Chief.
"As members of the Navy Medicine team, we have supported Sailors, Marines and family members at home and abroad since our official inception in 1912," wrote Rear Adm. Stephen Pachuta, chief, Navy Dental Corps. "Today, our remarkable team of active and reserve dental officers, hospital corpsman, civilians and contractors continue to provide the highest level of oral healthcare and compassion to our Sailors, Marines and their loved ones, all over the world."
In a message from Rear Adm. Terry Moulton, NMCP commander and chief of the Navy Medical Service Corps, said, "Your commitment to the operational readiness of our Sailors and Marines has resulted in a force that is dentally ready to defend our nation.
"You and your entire corps can be very proud of the extraordinary contributions you have made over the past 102 years and should look forward to future successes as you support Navy Medicine's global mission," he added.
The ceremony concluded with the cutting of the cake by the most senior and junior dental officers present, Cmdr. Joy Meade and Lt. Lulu Fang.
According to Fikes, the primary mission at NMCP is to achieve operational dental readiness for active duty personnel while optimizing dental health for the world's most-deserving patients. The traditional dental clinics are augmented by Mobile Dental Units that provide checkups pierside to minimize disruptions to ships' crews.
The Navy Dental Corps was established Aug. 22, 1912, with an Act of Congress that was later signed by President Howard Taft. The Secretary of the Navy was authorized to appoint no more than 30 acting assistant dental surgeons to the Medical Department. Six years after the Dental Corps was founded, the United States entered World War I. During that conflict, the Dental Corps expanded from 35 to more than 500 personnel, including 124 dentists commissioned in the regular Navy.
Nowadays, more than 2,500 active duty and Reserve Dental Corps personnel serve and support the Navy and the Marine Corps throughout the world and care for Sailors, Marines and their families.
For more news from Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, visit www.navy.mil/local/NMCP/.