USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman's (CVN 75) Dental Department celebrated its goal of 98 percent dental readiness for June 2010.
Cmdr. Jorge Graziani, Truman's dental officer, challenged his staff to exceed the Navy standard of 95 percent readiness by three percent and offered them a chance to shave his head if they reached the goal.
"My staff is outstanding. They work so hard and anything I can do to keep them moving toward mission readiness is important," said Graziani. "Reaching 98 percent is a tremendous accomplishment. When I gave them the challenge, I just wanted to make it fun and to keep group cohesion and morale - both of which are very important to me."
Dental readiness is measured by calculating the percentage of the total crew that are up-to-date on their dental needs, said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW) Michael Villella, the dental leading petty officer (LPO).
Keeping the crew in good dental health is important to the ship's overall mission readiness, and maintaining the high standards reached by Truman's staff requires a lot of hard work from the entire team.
Villella gave credit for reaching the benchmark to the dental technicians who perform routine dental care every day under the direction of Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW) Jennifer Bradley, Villella's assistant LPO.
"It involved a lot of time making contact with patients, reaching out to LPOs and chiefs, scheduling appointments and then making sure people made their appointments," said Bradley. "When you consider that we take care of over 4,800 Sailors and Marines - and that there are only four dentists and one oral surgeon on board - this is a huge achievement."
According to Bradley, the doctors and the technicians may be performing the dental work in the office, but the rest of the crew can do their part to help maintain dental readiness.
"They can brush and floss, eat healthy foods and make their appointments on time. The docs and the techs will take care of everything else," said Bradley.
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