End of an Era

  • Published
  • By Tommie Horton
  • 78th Public Affairs

Although the 78th Medical Group Dental Squadron inactivated June 2, services available to active duty members at Robins will remain the same.

The Dental Clinic, which has been in existence since 1994, has transitioned from a squadron to a flight and realigned under the Aerospace Medical Squadron due to changes in the active duty population at the base.

Providing dental services that keep active duty members at Robins ready for deployment is the vital mission of the clinic.

“Our mission is strong when it comes to readiness,” said Lt. Col. Rene Saenz, 78th DS outgoing commander.

While the readiness rate goal of the Air Force is 95 percent, the 78th DS has consistently maintained a 98 percent rate. Any member not ready to deploy at any given moment is routinely taken care of within 30 days.

The mission of the squadron has not become any less important, and as a flight its personnel will continue providing exceptional levels of readiness and customer satisfaction.

Because the number of activity duty service members at Robins has gone down over the years, not as many personnel are needed to accomplish the mission. That’s the primary reason the clinic, which only services active duty members, has been reduced from 45 personnel to 29.

“We service 800 to 1,000 appointments monthly,” said Saenz. “That’s down about 10 to 20 percent.”

An inactivation ceremony attended by nearly 100 guests was held at Hangar One of the Museum of Aviation to commemorate the historic occasion. The presiding officer for the event was Col. Christine Berberick, 78th MDG commander.

The guidon flag passed to Berberick by the outgoing commander was furled and cased for transportation to the Air Force Museum of History at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where it will be archived.

The newly established flight will be led by Maj. Michael Alfaro, who will arrive at Robins from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, early in July.

Upon marking history as the last 78th DS commander, Saenz is headed to San Antonio, Texas, to serve in a headquarters staff position for the Air Force Medical Operations Agency.