The sharp sound of several M249 squad automatic weapons ring out across an open field. While the machine guns provide suppressive fire, a group of young Marines armed with M16A4 rifles advance on a target. Suddenly, the burst of an AT4 anti-tank rocket punctuates the battle. This may sound like a scene from a big budget war movie, but it is instead an everyday occurrence at Camp Geiger School of Infantry on Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base, North Carolina.
Young Marines training to enter the Infantry undergo this intensive, live fire training at the School of Infantry only weeks after graduating from boot camp. It was my honor to serve as the sole dental officer for the Camp Geiger Dental Clinic during my career as a Naval Officer. I was proud to serve not only the Marines undergoing training at the School of Infantry, but their instructors and leaders who were permanently stationed at Camp Geiger.
Shortly after graduating dental school at Ohio State, I arrived at Camp Lejeune and I was assigned to a large dental clinic with over a dozen dentists, including multiple specialists and senior officers. It was an incredible opportunity to have such experienced mentors who helped train new dentists in providing comprehensive dental care. After a few years at this large clinic, I was selected to run my own dental clinic at Camp Geiger. Without specialists or colleagues to act as a parachute or safety net, my time at Camp Geiger helped me the hone the skills I would need to eventually run my own private dental practice.
Daily at Camp Geiger, I led a team of supporting staff and was responsible for the administrative tasks and leadership, similar to my current private practice. Running a small clinic by myself made me realize that I eventually wanted to own my own dental practice. After four years of active duty, my military orders were up and my plan to purchase a practice was the obvious next step in my career. My experience at Camp Geiger gave me the confidence needed to enter civilian practice full-time and purchase my own dental office. I could not be more excited to serve this community for rest of my career and I am grateful for my experience in the Navy, especially at Camp Geiger.