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Dentists get CE, insider's look at Air Force base

Rapid City, S.D.—The 28th Medical Group of the U.S. Air Force Dental Corps held the Ellsworth Air Force Base Dental Seminar here Aug. 7-8, inviting South Dakota Dental Association dentists an insider's look at the base and B-1 Lancers, the Air Force's strategic bombers.

"The goal of the meeting was to offer quality dental education while also straying from the traditional mold of a dental meeting in order to offer participants an experience that was unique to Ellsworth Air Force Base," said Capt. Bradley D. Harrelson, continuing education officer of the 28th Medical Group Dental Flight.

ADA President John S. Findley, ADA 10th District Trustee Edward J. Vigna and SDDA President G.J. Muller II were invited to participate.

"We took advantage of that invitation; collaboration is valuable in so many ways," Dr. Findley said. "I am impressed with the military's reach in establishing dental care in far-flung places. They can provide so many instances of care in such remote areas. We can learn so much from the Air Force."

Col. Maureen Lang, Air Force consultant on temporomandibular disorders, and Col. Kraig Vandewalle, consultant on dental biomaterials—Air Force dentists on the teaching staff of Texas' Lackland Air Force Base two-year advanced education in general dentistry residency—facilitated CE for the seminar.

But the event went beyond lectures by providing dentists with a glimpse inside the base and its mission, the B-1 bomber from the perspectives of a navigator and crew chief, the Air Force Dental Corps, a tour of South Dakota Air and Space Museum, and a demonstration by the military working dogs and trainers.

A seminar leadership lecture further detailed the decision-making process employed by combat pilots, explained by Col. Steven Hiss, 28th Bomb Wing vice commander. A B-1 pilot, Colonel Hiss serves as second in command of the largest B-1 combat wing in the U.S. Air Force with 28 aircraft and more than 4,300 military and civilian members.