SD Army National Guard soldiers with Pierre ties among group providing medical, dental aid in Suriname

Three South Dakota Army National Guard soldiers with ties to Pierre were part of a small group that went to South America last month (April 10-12) to provide medical and dental services to the local residents.

Col. Murray Thompson says nine soldiers from the Guard’s Medical Command and 730th Area Support Medical Company were part of the medical and dental readiness education and training mission.

 

Thompson says this was his third trip with the South Dakota Army National Guard to Suriname, but his first time going there to provide dental services.

 

Residents of the area speak Dutch, so Thompson says local military soldiers served as translators when needed.

 

Over the three days, the team saw nearly 300 patients for a variety of medical needs– from minor aches and pains to badly infected sores infested with parasites. However, Thompson says the main emphasis for medical care was for oral health. He says the dental team performed nearly 400 adult and pediatric tooth extractions.

Hear more from Thompson in the latest KGFX Beyond the Mic podcast. Subscribe for free through Spotify, Google Play, Podbean or iTunes.

Photos:

U.S. Army Col. Murray Thompson, a dentist with the South Dakota National Guard, poses with a young girl about to receive a dental examination in Albina, Suriname, April 10, 2019. An SDARNG medical/dental team partnered with Suriname military and civilian medical personnel to assist with ongoing efforts of improving systemic and oral health in the region. (Photo Credit: Lt. Col. Anthony Deiss)

U.S. Army dentists Lt. Col. Eric Unkenholz, Col. Murray Thompson, and Maj. Kevin Donlin and Staff Sgt. Samantha Wempe, a dental technician, all with the South Dakota National Guard, perform dental work and tooth extractions on adults and children in Albina, Suriname, April 10, 2019. An SDARNG medical/dental team partnered with Suriname military and civilian medical personnel to assist with ongoing efforts of improving systemic and oral health in the region. (Photo Credit: Lt. Col. Anthony Deiss)

Soldiers with the South Dakota Army National Guard medical/dental team partnered with Suriname military and civilian medical personnel to assist with ongoing efforts of improving systemic and oral health for the residents of Albina, Suriname, April 10-12, 2019. Pictured left to right: Sgt. Lori Meyer (medic), Staff Sgt. Matthew Hanson (medic), Maj. Katie Urban (physician assistant), Capt. Betsy Suhr (Suriname liaison), Lt. Col. Eric Unkenholz (dentist), Staff Sgt. Samantha Wempe (dental tech), Col. Murray Thompson (dentist), Maj. Ronovan Ottenbacher (physician), Maj. Kevin Donlin (dentist) and Spc. Kirstin Gortmaker (dental tech). Also pictured is Dr. Paul Aikman, second from left, medical director of the Paramaribo Military Hospital, and U.S. Ambassador to Suriname Karen Williams, center. (Photo Credit: Lt. Col. Anthony Deiss)