Air Force dental tech gains 'once in a lifetime experience'
By Staff Sgt. Jeremy L. Mosier, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 11, 2018
SOUTHWEST ASIA -- On Dec. 8, 2018, members of the 386th Expeditionary Wing dental team were given a unique opportunity to join forces with the U.S. Army veterinary clinic to provide support to the K-9 unit at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.
In most instances in a deployed environment the medical group supports the vet by providing medications and food related support, but on this day it was to perform a teeth cleaning on Military Working Dog Vviking.
“I am very grateful to do this out here,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Torri Olivieri, 386th Expeditionary Medical Group dental services non-commissioned officer in charge. “Working with a military working dog and supporting the mission in this aspect is a once in a lifetime experience.”
In a deployed location, the veterinary clinic leans heavily on the medical group in emergencies to support the K-9 unit if the veterinary clinic is unavailable.
“I called the dental tech and dentist down here today so they could get hands-on experience with the MWD, because if there is an emergent situation they would be the ones taking care of the dog,” said U.S. Army Specialist Caitlin Hinds, 719th Medical Detachment Veterinary Services vet technician.
While the veterinary clinic is a role three facility, which means they are able to support a majority of surgeries, they aren’t specifically trained to perform routine cleanings.
The vet clinic takes the opportunity to invite both medical clinic staff and dog handlers to many routine visits, such as blood draws and check-ups, to ensure they have the knowledge and are comfortable to do these things if they are unavailable, Hinds explained.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Angelina Borges, 386th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, discussed an incident earlier this year when her partner, MWD Vviking, was having issues lying down and sitting and the vet was there to help her every step of the way to help improve his health.
“I am really thankful for the vet clinic here and how they have explained everything to me,” Borges said.
The trust and willingness to accommodate one another has really bolstered the partnership between the army and air force and Hinds looks to keep improving that relationship.
“I can go to the kennel master and medical group and say, ‘I need this,’ and they are more than willing to help,” Hinds explained. “It makes me feel good, because I am building the bonds back.”
The cohesiveness between units at ‘The Rock’ stems from these bonds and has developed with trust and partnership with one goal in mind— to complete the mission.