Korea’s top dentist changes command
Korea’s top dentist changes command
The 618th Dental Company (Area Support) and Dental Health Activity-Korea is a unique organization in the Army Dental Care System in that it is the only dental 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, Humphreys, Walker and Carroll.
Recently, the 618th and DHA-K underwent a change in leadership as the top U.S. Army dentist in of all Korea, Col. Tawanna McGhee-Thondique was replaced by Col. Mark Sweet during a June 19 ceremony at Humphreys Zoeckler Fitness Center.
“It is with great pride that I relinquish this mission set, having been honored to serve as commander,” said an emotional McGhee. “My emotions have explored the gamut of my life’s experiences as I have watched for two years as the unit grew as a team, focusing on accomplishing the mission and supporting the growth and development of one another.”
Presiding over the change of command was Col. Derek C. Cooper, the 65th Medical Brigade 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 have given to those here in Korea," said Cooper. "Col. McGee you have taken DENTAC-Korea to new heights by executing tough realistic training, building character resiliency and courage within the Soldiers while instituting a series of STXs deploying teams to Suwon, Yongsan, Busan, Daegu, the NCO Academy and others all while providing direct support to Soldiers at forward outposts across pen as well as to our naval and marine sister services.”
Cooper went on to say that the Korea team under McGhee’s leadership has Improved host nation relationships through multiple humanitarian missions, integrated dental support in joint and combined environments all in the midst of a pandemic.
“While the rest of dental command stopped or curtailed services, Dentac-K persisted and continued to find solutions for dental support during the challenging COVID times to sustain the readiness of all of USFK soldiers,” said Cooper.
In the last two years, the unit executed in stride the movement of the headquarters and all of its equipment from Yongsan to Humphreys. Closed three dental clinics at Camps Red Cloud, Stanley and Yongsan and realigned the current services at Camp Casey and Humphreys.
McGhee will depart Korea and assume the role as director, of the dental corps directorate within the MEDCOM G-3/5/7.
As one leader departs, the Army provides another exceptionally qualified leader to pick up the baton. Col Mark Sweet is no stranger to the team or Korea said Cooper as he has been serving this past year as the deputy commander for clinical services for the 618th and DENTAC-K.
"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 Sweet. " I feel the sense of pride you have and that commitment to excellence. Together we will continue that tradition of providing quality care and implement the mitigation strategies set forth by Col. McGhee to improve the quality and safety of our dental operations.”
During her time in command, McGhee considered it a privilege and an honor to work with the team to get the job done right.
"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 provides glue that makes this all worthwhile, spiritual to provide strength and encouragement to know all things are possible, and an Army foundation to remind me why I chose the commitment to arms as my profession. We worked together, one team, one fight, one family."
Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!
Follow us on social media!