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Navy, Army Support Michigan Air National Guard Readiness

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Daniel Heaton
  • 127th Wing

More than 120 Michigan Airmen checked off a key readiness requirement in August, thanks to support from the Navy and Army.

Three dentists and three enlisted medical corpsmen from the Navy Reserve’s 4th Dental Battalion spent a day at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in August, providing exams to Michigan Air National Guard Airmen during the Airmen's regularly scheduled drill weekend. Citizen-Airmen in the Michigan Air National Guard are required to have annual exams from their personal, civilian dentist, with an exam by a military dentist once every five years.

The Navy Reserve dental team, which is assigned to a Marine Corps unit in Atlanta, Georgia, traveled to Michigan in August to support the Michigan National Guard at exercise Northern Strike, which is based at the Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center in Northern Michigan, about 200 miles away from Selfridge, which is located near Detroit in Southeastern Michigan. The Michigan Army National Guard flew the dental team by helicopter from Camp Grayling to Detroit.

‘The Michigan National Guard arranged to really maximize our time here,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Zimmerman, one of the Navy dentists. “When we travel to an exercise, we want to be put to good use. Support the Guard, both Soldiers and Airmen, is a great example of all parties working together.”

During the exams, the Sailors took x-rays of the Airmen and dentists performed an examination of each patient.

The Michigan Air National Guard does not currently have a dentist assigned, so the support from the Navy provided crucial readiness assistance to the 127th Wing Airmen at Selfridge. The examinations also benefited the Sailors.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Alex Evans was part of the crew providing x-ray services to the Airmen. In his civilian career, Evans is a biomedical maintenance technician, providing maintenance on medical equipment. In the Navy, he is a corpsman, with training to support dental operations.

“This gives me a chance to provide direct patient care, which isn’t something I normally do on the civilian side,” he said.