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Maj. Gen. Bhaskar, former chief, Army Dental Corps, dies at 93

August 18, 2016
Photo of Maj. Gen. Bhaskar
Maj. Gen. Bhaskar
Monterey, Calif. — Retired Maj. Gen. Surindar (Sindi) Bhaskar, the 17th chief of the Army Dental Corps, died Aug. 4 at the age of 93.

Maj. Gen. Bhaskar was born in the state of Punjab, India, in 1923. He completed dental school at the University of Punjab at 19 and then practiced general dentistry in Bombay. When he was 21, he immigrated to the United States to attend the Northwestern University School of Dentistry. After receiving his degree in 1946, he went on to complete a Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy, and specialty training in oral pathology and oral medicine at the University of Illinois and University of Chicago. He was board certified in both oral pathology and oral medicine.

In 1955 he entered the U.S. Army Dental Corps where his numerous positions included chief of oral pathology, director of the U.S. Army Institute of Dental Research and director of medical personnel.

In 1975, he was promoted to major general and sworn in as assistant surgeon general for dental services and the 17th chief of the Army Dental Corps.

Maj. Gen. Bhaskar was instrumental in the Army separating its dental services from medical services so that dental care could be improved. In 1976, he testified at a House Military Compensation Subcommittee hearing that dental funds were being “mischanneled and misused,” according to the Army Times.

In a 2012 article published in the U.S. Army Medical Department Journal, authors Samuel A. Pass and Nolan A. Watson credited Maj. Gen. Bhaskar and Maj. Gen. Edwin Smith, both Dental Corps chiefs, with leading dental management studies that resulted in the 1978 legislation making the U.S. Army Dental Activity (DENTAC) separate from the hospital and medical activity.

Maj. Gen. Bhaskar wrote more than 200 scientific papers, four textbooks, and contributed to another eight textbooks. He was also an internationally recognized lecturer, delivering more than 10,000 hours of continuing education in his career.

After retiring from the U.S. Army, Maj. Gen. Bhaskar completed a periodontics residency at the University of California Los Angeles School of Dentistry before moving to Monterey in 1980 to practice periodontics with the Monterey Peninsula Dental Group. He continued to lecture throughout the country on both oral pathology and periodontics. His family said “he enjoyed teaching as much as caring for his patients.” He retired in 2005.

“Dr. Bhaskar loved his country, the United States Army, his profession and his family,” stated his obituary in The Monterey Herald. “He had a profound life that was full of adventure, success, intellectual challenge, pride, laughter and love. He lived the American Dream.”

Maj. Gen. Bhaskar is survived by Norma, his wife of 66 years; three brothers, Kedar Bhasker, M.D., Maj. Gen. Som Bhaskar, and Prem Bhaskar; three sons, William Bhaskar, M.D., Dr. Philip Bhaskar, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, and Thomas Bhaskar; daughter-in-law Brenda Bhaskar; and his beloved grandchildren, Elizabeth, Brian and Emma Bhaskar. Emma Bhaskar is currently a pre-dental student at the University of Washington and Brian Bhaskar is a second-year dental student at the University of Washington School of Dentistry.

Maj. Gen. Bhaskar will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Major General S.N. Bhaskar Scholarship Endowment, University of the Pacific School of Dentistry, Development Office, 155 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.