Navy Reserve dentists Dr. Stewart Powers of Waxahachie and Dr. Claude Stephens of Midlothian recently completed a two week duty at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif.
The Javelin Thrust exercise, begun in 2009, is a once yearly opportunity for service men and women to gather in desert and mountain regions of California, Nevada and Arizona to train for deployment in the barren climate of many foreign lands.
It is the largest Marine Corps reserve training exercise in the United States. The yearly exercise focuses on necessary training that Reserve Marines often do not have the opportunity to practice at their home units, such as life-saving techniques in combat situations, anti-improvised explosive device training, and other situations that must be experienced in the field.
Working in a tented field environment using portable equipment, Dr. Powers and Dr. Stephens provided dental care to sailors and Marines participating in Javelin Thrust 2011.
Capt. Stephens, who has 30 years experience with the Navy and Marine Corps, stated that it was, “a rare treat to have someone with Lt. Powers’ diversity of skills and knowledge on this type of mission. I took care of the simple procedures and saved the challenges for Dr. Powers.”
Dr. Powers enlisted in the Navy Reserve in 2009; this was a first Javelin Thrust exercise for both doctors.
Speaking on behalf of them both, Dr. Stephens stated, “As Navy Reserve dentists, it is an honor to be able to provide dental care to the young men and women who serve in our military and is a tremendous source of pride for us. Our base camp was located at 6,500 feet altitude which provided cold nights but beautiful, comfortable days. Drilling and filling with helicopters and Humvees buzzing around is a professional experience unlike any other. Our mission as Navy dental officers supporting the Marines is to provide support to the troops to ensure they are physically prepared to fight from a dental health standpoint. After all, as we like to say ‘they can’t fight, if they can’t bite.’”