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Last dental rotation for New Horizons Guyana 2009 begins

Lt. Col. (Dr.) Darryl Bybee performs a triage exam on a Guyanese women Aug. 18 in Georgetown, Guyana. This exam allows the dental staff to determine what the patients most urgent dental care needs are. Colonel Bybee is a member of the 75th Dental Squadron and is deployed here in support of New Horizons Guyana 2009, a joint humanitarian mission designed to strengthen the ties between the United States and Guyana. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Burton)

Lt. Col. (Dr.) Darryl Bybee performs a triage exam on a Guyanese women in Georgetown, Guyana, Aug. 18. This exam allows the dental staff to determine what the patients' most urgent dental care needs are. Colonel Bybee is a member of the 75th Dental Squadron and is deployed here in support of New Horizons Guyana 2009, a joint humanitarian mission designed to strengthen the ties between the United States and Guyana. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jason Burton)

Capt. (Dr.) Brent Milne, 75th DS dentist, (left) removes some cavities from a Guyanese girl with the assitance of Airman 1st Class Jeremy Vinson, 75th DS dental technician, Aug. 18 in Georgetown, Guyana. The free dental care they are providing is just part of the New Horizons Guyana 2009 mission. There is also free health care and servicemembers are building a school and a medical clinic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Burton)

Capt. (Dr.) Brent Milne, 75th Dental Squadron dentist, (left) removes some cavities from a Guyanese girl with the assitance of Airman 1st Class Jeremy Vinson, 75th DS dental technician, in Georgetown, Guyana, Aug. 18. Free dental care is just part of the New Horizons Guyana 2009 mission; servicemembers also provide free health care and are building a school and medical clinic. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jason Burton)

Staff Sgt. Shelley Thomas, 75th DS dental technician, prepares a Guyanese man for a dental x-ray. Sergeant Thomas is deployed to Guyana along with 13 other Hill Airmen in support of New Horizons Guyana 2009. These Airmen have only been working in Guyana for two days and have already provided free dental care to more than 120 Guyanese in need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Burton)

Staff Sgt. Shelley Thomas, 75th Dental Squadron dental technician, prepares a Guyanese man for an X-ray. Sergeant Thomas is deployed to Guyana along with 13 other Hill Airmen in support of New Horizons Guyana 2009. These Airmen have only been working in Guyana for two days and have already provided free dental care to more than 120 Guyanese in need. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jason Burton)

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- The third and final rotation of dentists and dental technicians for New Horizons Guyana 2009 arrived this past weekend and began seeing patients at the Diamond Secondary School Monday.

Of the 18 Airmen on this two-week rotation, 14 are from Hill Air Force Base, Utah; two are from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.; one is from Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas; and one is from Vance Air Force Base, Okla.

After their second day of providing dental care, these dental Airmen have already helped more than 120 people. If they are able to keep that pace, they should be able to see roughly 600 patients before they head back home.

While seeing as many patients as possible is the goal, Lt. Col. (Dr.) Angela Montellano, 75th Dental Squadron commander and the dental commander of this rotation, said that is not the most important thing she is concerned about.

"My goal is not to be focused on how many patients or procedures we do, but to have a good time while providing quality care," she said. "I don't want my team to work themselves too hard and not enjoy what they are doing down here."

Colonel Montellano added that she thinks this humanitarian mission has done a lot of good for the people of Guyana and her Airmen are all working hard and will continue to work hard until the day they leave.

This is the first humanitarian mission for most of the Airmen on this rotation and they were all excited to volunteer for the opportunity.

Colonel Montellano said the Air Force Dental Corps put out a request looking for two-week volunteers for this exercise back in January. After talking with her dentists, dental technicians and dental laboratory technicians she found out they all wanted to go.

After discussing it with her chain of command, Colonel Montellano was able to work out the required manning that would stay at Hill AFB and still be able to accomplish the mission there, while most of the dental squadron deployed in support of New Horizons Guyana.

"This was a unique situation for us because most of the other dental volunteers came from larger bases with more personnel," she said. "So we are happy we were able to work it out and come down here to assist these people."

These dental Airmen have already noticed how appreciative the Guyanese people are for what they are doing.

"There are a lot of people here that need the help we are providing," said Capt. (Dr.) Joshua Hiller, 75th DS dentist. "There are people that get in line outside the gate here at six or seven at night and they will sleep in line until the next morning just to be seen. And they are so very grateful for what we are doing for them."

Captain Hiller said he is very happy to provide assistance to those in need and is thankful his unit was able to participate.

While helping those less fortunate is a major part of this humanitarian mission, it also offers some vital, real-world training to those that are participating.

While here the dentists and dental technicians will see roughly 70 patients a day. Such a high operation tempo creates situations not usually simulated during regular training.

"This is such a different environment to what we are used to state side," said Capt. (Dr.) Brent Milne, 75th DS dentist. "One of the biggest things this allows us to do is to use and test our mobile equipment in real situations. This allows us to see exactly what the equipment is capable of and what its limitations are."

Captain Milne added that training exercises like this allow for a great team building experience with all of those involved.

With the completion of their second day providing dental services to the Guyanese people these Airmen hope to leave a lasting impression with those they assist before their last day of dental care, Aug. 27.

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