OKINAWA, Japan - Dentists aboard amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the establishment of the Dental Corps Aug. 22.
In 1912, 30 acting assistant dental surgeons were appointed to be apart of the Navy's medical department by an act of Congress.
"Today we celebrate a centennial of service," said Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan, Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED). "Our dentists have served in times of peace and war to ensure dental readiness and optimize dental health for those entrusted to their care."
The primary mission of the Dental Corps is to prevent or remedy dental conditions that may interfere with the performance of duty by members of active naval forces.
"Dental health not only relates to your overall health but it also relates to readiness issues," said Lt. Brittany Kurzweg, the dental officer aboard Bonhomme Richard. "Since the Dental Corps was established, the Navy has been very successful in educating Sailors and preventing problems that may affect the mission."
In the last century, the Dental Corps has grown to more than 2,500 active duty and Reservist personnel, who serve Sailors, Marines and their family members throughout world.
"I'm very proud to be a part of the Dental Corps," said Kurzweg. "I have a strong commitment to this organization, and personally I feel the Navy has provided me several opportunities that are unavailable in the civilian world."
The Navy Dental Corps continues to improve oral health worldwide by participating in the spectrum of military combat, peacekeeping and supporting the maritime strategy through humanitarian relief missions around the world.
"It is their honor, courage and commitment that we commemorate today," said Nathan. "We applaud the men and women of the Naval Dental Corps and all they do to ensure our nation has a medically ready, fit and fighting force."