Turkish sailors and a bad place for a toothache

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April 16, 2009

Categories: Member Testimonials,

If you consider yourself a Naval trivia buff, here’s one for you:
What is the only dental-capable ship in the Combined Task Force in the Gulf of Aden?

If you answered the USS Boxer, you probably work there.

The history of dentistry heroics at sea may not be the stuff of legend, but at least two Turkish sailors on an anti-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa may beg to differ.

The two men aboard the TCG Girasun found themselves with stinging toothaches earlier this week. For those of us who live 20 minutes from our dentists’ offices, this is not so newsworthy. But it is when you’re floating on one of the Turkish Navy’s G-class frigates off the coast of some of the least-developed and unstable countries in the world.

Both sailors required root canals, and one of them had a chipped tooth.

“It was causing him quite a bit of pain,” said Lt Christopher Henninger, DMD, the Boxer’s dental officer. He added that, without the Americans’ intervention, the men would likely have required a medical evacuation.
The Turkish medical office aboard the Girasun, who acted as a translator during the intervention, said he was “honored” to come aboard the Americans’ vessel and view their medical capabilities. “The entire crew has been very welcoming,” he said.

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