HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — Air Force reservists from the 419th Medical Squadron brought dental care to underprivileged communities in Chiquimula, Guatemala, during a recent humanitarian mission.
Lt. Col. David Jackson, commander of the 419th MDS, and Lt. Col. Brady Thomson, commander of the squadron’s dental flight, spent two weeks in the region in partnership with Hirsche Smiles Foundation, a non-profit organization that sends plastic surgery, dental, and home construction teams to underserved areas throughout Guatemala.
While there, Jackson and Thomson worked mostly in a “pop-up” field dentistry unit and utilized a portable x-ray to perform various dental procedures. Their work area was located on the edge of a landfill, which the reservists said made conditions quite challenging, but the out-of-office experience provided valuable training for deployed environments.
“It was very rewarding to provide care that they would otherwise not get, and to see the gratitude in their faces,” Thomson said.
When not serving in the Air Force Reserve, Jackson and Thomson manage full-time dental and orthodontic practices respectively in Northern Utah.