Thursday, August 18, 2011

Army Orders Dental Exam For Toothless Soldiers

Ft. Lee, VA -  A retired soldier received active duty orders to return to service in the Army earlier this month. With a number of soldiers being recalled to serve in the military, this does not mark an unusual event in America during this period of unease. What makes this one interesting is that the recalled soldier left active duty two years prior, and had a full dental workup before leaving the service. During his 18 years of service, he had lost all of his teeth during time in combat zones. The Army demanded that he proceed to Walter Reed Medical Center for a full dental x-ray and identification process. 

“I don’t understand why I need a full dental x-ray when I have no teeth, and the Army knows that,” said Col. Reginald Harris III. “I served the country, I lost my teeth as a result of that service. Now they’re calling me back and humiliating me in the process.”
Harris lost all of his teeth serving in various climates as a special forces soldier. Some were the result of close quarters combat, where Harris was hit in the face with objects such as guns and fists. Other teeth were pulled by the military as a result of poor dental hygiene in these various environments, while others fell out do to a recessive gum disease. 
Army spokesperson, Sgt. Wilkinson, stated that it was routine procedure for any new and recalled soldiers to have x-rays before returning to duty. “It is the policy of the Army to have a current set of dental records for identification. Even with no teeth, Col. Harris is required to have the same procedure performed. Even in the age of DNA testing, the military relies first on dental records, as it is cheaper and more time efficient.”
“Oh, I’ll report when it’s time and I’ll make my appointment. But that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it,” Harris said through a new pair of dentures provided by the Veteran’s Administration. 
Annabel Lee is a freelance journalist for the Baltimore Fake Times Journal. Having served in the military, she knows there are some odd requirements. Like bald men being required to bring shampoo and combs in their deployment bags, even if they are completely and naturally bald. 

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