Skip To The Main Content

A Salute to Military Dentistry Part V

Profiles of GDA member dentists who served in the US Armed Forces
In celebration of Veterans’ Day, we asked many GDA members with military service to share a little about their experience. Their reasons for entering the U.S. Armed Forces are many—some found inspiration because family members served during previous wars. Some worked to hone their skills and learn more about their chosen profession before choosing their path. Others found relief from dental school debt and felt called to keep men and women in the military healthy. We thank all of you who have served our country in uniform and are proud to share some of your stories.

dr frank whiteFrank H. White III DDS
USMC (1972–1980)
and USN (1986–1998)
Served in: Camp Lejeune, NC; Okinawa,
Japan; Beaufort, South Carolina;
Bethesda Naval Hospital; USS La Salle
(Persian Gulf); Jacksonville Naval
Hospital; USS John F. Kennedy.

“It was important to serve and mentor our young men and women of the Armed Forces.” 

I joined the service to to serve my country. My father was a navigator on a destroyer in WWII and fought in the Pacific theater. I felt it was a moral obligation to serve my country and to give back in some way to the greatest nation on earth. I believe that all Americans should serve their country, whether in the military or civil service; some “giving back” is due for the privilege of living in this great country.

During my service, it was important to me to be trusted to command a platoon, company, and dental department. I also felt it was important to serve and mentor our young men and women of the Armed Forces.

Some of my memorable moments include watching the F18s and F14s landing and taking off from the John F. Kennedy Aircraft Carrier during our operations and knowing that I was part of such an awesome machine and historic aircraft carrier. Other memorable moments include living for a year in Bahrain in the Middle East and learning about such a different culture than ours. Serving with some of the finest Marine officers anywhere is another memorable moment. I served with a Medal of Honor Winner Colonel Harvey Barnum, Navy Cross Winner Colonel Myron Harrington, Silver Star winner Colonel Peter Wickwire, and future Commandant of the USMC Colonel Carl Mundy. These were Marine’s Marines and true warriors.

After retiring from the U.S. Navy, I opened my Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinic in Albany, Georgia in 1998.If asked to impart advice to others, I would say to be ethical, honest, humble, moral, pursue excellence, and keep your ego in check. Realize that money is not everything in life. Remember the less fortunate. Have faith in God and love your country. Stand up for the flag, and every day you are vertical, thank God.

...And on my tombstone:
“Frank H. White III DDS USMC/USN
A good American who served his country.”

dr curtis williamsCurtis C. Williams III DDS MPH
U.S. Navy (1988–1994)

Oceana Naval Air Station, Virginia Beach, VA
22nd Dental Company, Camp Lejeune, NC
Operation Desert Shield
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Provide Promise
USS Trenton Med. Cruise Adriatic Sea—Pilot Trap Mission

“My six years of active duty gave me the confidence and fortitude to start my own solo practice in 1994.”

I joined the military to serve my country. I also wanted to deepen and broaden my dental skills. It gave me great pleasure to serve the young men and women of our Navy and Marines.

One memory that stands out is being with the Marines in combat. In 1990 this was a rare situation. I enjoyed my time with BSSG-4—Semper Fi!

My six years of active duty gave me the confidence and fortitude to start my own solo practice in 1994. Twenty-three years later, I still look forward to turning on the lights in my own place every morning.

My advice to others is simple: Take advantage of the training! While at a shore ommand, I went to every Friday afternoon in service. While deployed, I took correspondence courses. Every year, I went to the Bethesda Naval Dental School for a week, and my final year on active duty was spent in the Advanced Clinical Program at the Norfolk Command.

These profiles were first published in the November/December 2017 issue of Action.