USUaggie

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I'm looking into the different military options and trying to figure out if it would be worth it and what the best branch of service would be. I'm getting married this coming spring, and don't want to spend a lot of time away from my wife (obviously). I've heard that the Navy would give me the best chance of staying out of Iraq, and someone told me that the dentists don't get on the ships and stay out for 6 months but they just make sure everyone who does ship out is good to go. Is this true? Any current military dentists out there feel free to give me your 2 cents on what the pros and cons are of each branch.
 

usnavdoc

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USUaggie said:
I'm looking into the different military options and trying to figure out if it would be worth it and what the best branch of service would be. I'm getting married this coming spring, and don't want to spend a lot of time away from my wife (obviously). I've heard that the Navy would give me the best chance of staying out of Iraq, and someone told me that the dentists don't get on the ships and stay out for 6 months but they just make sure everyone who does ship out is good to go. Is this true? Any current military dentists out there feel free to give me your 2 cents on what the pros and cons are of each branch.
Whoever told you that has no idea what they are talking about. I have been to sea with the marines and deployed with them on several occasions. At each instance there were Navy dentists around. On the MEU(Marine expeditionary Unit) there were 2 attached to the Marines and another 5 attached to the three ships as ships company that took us out.

To put this in perspective to the number of MDs...There were 4 Docs attached to the Marines and not counting fleet surg there were 5 as ships company.

I would say if you dont want to deploy and you are definitely joining then join the air force. There are several navy dentists in Iraq and other mid east fun spots right now. In afghanistan its predominantly Army with occasional Navy here and there when the Marines come. I saw no AF dentists in either spot. I did see some in Quatar. But not many. And that place is a resort anyway.
 

helo doc

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Take heed to what usnavdoc said... if you don't want to spend time away from family, avoid the Navy Dental Corps. BTW, after discussing the topic of the pros and cons of military medicine/dentistry with several active duty Navy dentists, it seems the only group more bitter than docs are the dentists. Proceed with caution if at all.
 
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nonlethal

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I'm pre-med, prior-enlisted Marine, so take what I have to say for a grain of salt.
The last three floats I did (two to South America "dog and pony show" types and one to Iraq) all had dentists and dental techs along.
The dentists in SA did alot of humanitarian stuff, which while definitely not combat ops, was still a deployment (6-7 months long on a BGB i.e. Big Grey Boat). They flew into the Amazon jungle with one of our rifle platoons, and while the grunts were out eating snakes and acting cool, the dentists and docs were setting up clinics in the local villages. I head from some of the corpsmen that they had a blast trying to do procedures with only the stuff they packed in... Great learning opportunity for them.
As for the dental techs I ran into while in Iraq, they pretty much stayed in the "rear areas" and did normal checkups, cleanings and the occasional cavity. Just like back home at Camp Lejeune. Except with sand, and bugs. And the once a week RPG and mortar barrage. They did some humanitarian stuff to, and one of the dental techs assigned to our BAS (I was part of a Reserve Bn, so we had all sorts of guys running around that really aren't part of the T/O. Long story) ended up coming on some of our patrols and raids because he had nothing better to do, and he was a pretty good shot with a rifle.
While I would not actively discourage you from joining, I don't want to encourage you, either. If you join the Navy, expect to get deployed. That's what they do. Especially if you find yourself part of the "green-side."
Good luck with whatever you do.
 

USUaggie

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Hey thanks for your help guys. The guy who told me that is a classmate and a former marine, but while he was talking I kind of had the feeling he didn't know what he was talking about. The military looked appealing to me back in 2000 when I was an LDS missionary in Germany and thought it would be cool to come back and live on a base there with my (future) young family as a military dentist. Then the war started and the military dentist lifestyle doesn't quite have the same family-friendly appeal it did back then. I wouldn't join for the money, if I were to do the military route it would be for the experience, but it sounds like it wouldn't really be the experience I had in mind.
Anyway, thanks again for your advice.
 

pgg

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I'm a Navy GMO in Iraq now. A lot of Navy dentists and techs deployed from Camp Lejeune about the same time we did. They called in quite a few reserves, also, IIRC.

There's a Navy dentist with us now at our FOB in western Iraq - he keeps busy with both routine and acute issues with active duty personnel ... sees the occasional Iraqi Army soldier or detainee. He doesn't do any humanitarian work - neither he nor the techs with him ever leave the base. Aside from the family separation, it's a relatively cushy job for both him and me. Good living space, good food from KBR, safe environment.

I'm surprised that this still needs to be said, 4 years after Afghanistan started .and 2.5 years after Iraq started ... if you don't want to deploy, don't get yourself into any branch of the military.

Obviously there aren't many ships supporting operations in Iraq, but keep in mind that the Marine Corps gets all of its medical/dental support from the Navy, and the USMC is all over Iraq, and more or less owns Al Anbar province. When II MEF goes home, I MEF will be coming in. As long as there are Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, there will be Navy doctors and dentists here too.
 

eric275

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pgg said:
I'm a Navy GMO in Iraq now. A lot of Navy dentists and techs deployed from Camp Lejeune about the same time we did. They called in quite a few reserves, also, IIRC.

There's a Navy dentist with us now at our FOB in western Iraq - he keeps busy with both routine and acute issues with active duty personnel ... sees the occasional Iraqi Army soldier or detainee. He doesn't do any humanitarian work - neither he nor the techs with him ever leave the base. Aside from the family separation, it's a relatively cushy job for both him and me. Good living space, good food from KBR, safe environment.

I'm surprised that this still needs to be said, 4 years after Afghanistan started .and 2.5 years after Iraq started ... if you don't want to deploy, don't get yourself into any branch of the military.

Obviously there aren't many ships supporting operations in Iraq, but keep in mind that the Marine Corps gets all of its medical/dental support from the Navy, and the USMC is all over Iraq, and more or less owns Al Anbar province. When II MEF goes home, I MEF will be coming in. As long as there are Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, there will be Navy doctors and dentists here too.

For the dentist that you are referring to that are deployed into Iraq how long is a typical tour? 6 months, 1 year?
 
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