Korea's top dentist moves on
The 618th Dental Company (Area Support) is a unique organization in the Army Dental Care System in that is the only organization with a dual mission.
It supports the Eighth United States Army during transition to hostilities and provides armistice health care to all United States Forces Korea beneficiaries on a daily basis at Camps Casey, Stanley, Red Cloud, Humphreys, Walker and Carroll as well as three dental clinics on Yongsan Army Garrison.
Recently, the 618th underwent a change in leadership as the top dentist of all Korea, Col. David A. Mott was replaced by Col. Manuel Pozo-Alonso during a ceremony at Yongsan's Collier Field House.
"Someone asked me once about my dream and I can tell you that I think that coming to Korea was a dream come true. It has been a true blessing for my family and I have had a special time here sharing with each and every one of you the joys of living in the ROK," said Mott.
Presiding over the change of command was Col. John W. Etzenbach, Pacific Regional Dental Command and U.S. Army Dental Activity-Hawaii Commander.
"Today is a historic day for the 618th Dental Command as we witness the change of command from one great leader to another. I thank all of you for the quality of care you having given to those here in Korea," said Etzenbach. "Col. Mott you have taken DENTAC-Korea to a 97% dental readiness of soldiers here in Korea and continued to embrace the Go First class initiative by not only improving the dental readiness of soldiers, but reducing the amount of time beneficiaries spent at appointments and lowered health care costs improving the quality of life."
Etzenbach went on to say that the Korea team has seen more than 75,000 patients last year and delivered more than $21 million in dental care and provided an additional $7 million in dental lab work. Not only soldiers benefited from the great dental care, but many family members and other beneficiaries passed through their doors. What made this unit unique is at the same time they performed the no fail mission of armistice dental care, and field training to support any contingencies that may arise on the Korean peninsula.
"During your tenure, Col. Mott, you put this unit first. The most difficult command in all of Army Dental core and sometimes the challenges between the two can be stressful, but you have managed to work through the challenges of re-stationing of troops, construction of facilities at Camp Carroll and Camp Humphreys, making sure dental is available wherever soldiers are stationed and care delivered in top notch facilities," said Etzenbach.
Col. Mott's leadership and mentoring resulted in two soldier's being awarded the order of military medical merit, two officers selected for post graduate dental education and two enlisted soldiers being selected to attend dental school with a commitment to return to the army dental core. He reached out to host nation colleagues and sponsored events to bring together a partnership rotation of staff into the area support clinics.
Welcome to the newest member of the army dental corps leadership team, Col. Manuell Pozo-Alonso, an outstanding new commander to the Dentac-Korea team. No stranger to international community, he was born and raised in Spain, served in the Navy Dental Corps as an orthodontist, then went into private practice and later came into the Army Dental Corps. He comes from the SHAPE Dental Clinic in Belgium where he provided care across NATO nations, working with host nation colleagues in Europe.
"I am humbled to command you and be part of a team bound by a critical mission and I look forward to serving beside you," said Pozo-Alonso. " I feel the sense of pride you have and that commitment to excellence. Together we will continue that tradition of providing quality care."
"My time in command seems like a few days ago offered this opportunity, it was a privilege, over past few years been awe struck by team to get the job done right, opportunity to work beside each of you every day," reflected Mott.
"Now this chapter comes to an end, my thoughts, my philosophies and my beliefs have not changed since day one, I believe in family values, spiritual values and Army values. Family provide glue that makes this all worthwhile, spiritual to provide strength and encouragement to know all things are possible, Army foundation as to why I chose the commitment to arms as my profession. We worked together, one team, one fight, one family."
Mott went on to say that, "Our mission to provide dental support to enable the Brigade to achieve its objective in support of Eighth Army and the Korean theater of operations, provide responsive and reliable oral health services and to improve readiness of all those entrusted to our care. It gives me pride to know we accomplished that with compassion, dedication to mission and commitment to excellence customer service."
"We exceeded dental readiness goals, helped in the re-stationing process, supported Army Reserve units, trained ARC personnel, RAD and CYS to name a few while maintaining a smile, exceptional treatment. Thanks for the 100% effort. Our tasks seemed endless but you never quit and challenged me every day. Your determined attitude inspired me every day to continue to live that Warrior Ethos and maintain pride to stand up for what is right and lead from the front," concluded Mott.