ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- Naval Station Rota marked the merger of the hospital corpsman (HM) and dental technician (DT) Navy ratings Oct. 1.
Both the youngest HM and DT-converted-to-HM cut a celebratory cake to mark the merger of both Navy ratings to an overall HM rating.
"I think it's going to be great," said Master Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW/FMF) Merrilyn Crawford, the new command master chief for U.S. Naval Hospital, Rota. "If you look at it, we're all medically-related people. Dental and medical [services] for Naval Hospital Rota already merged in November last year. Now the ratings are merging, and I feel it's going to open so many opportunities," she said.
Navy medicine originally carved dental technicians from the existing pharmacy mate rating in 1923, after the first "C" school produced 11 in the inaugural class. These dental technicians filled a critical gap, extending the service of the recently established Dental Corps, and in many cases providing 100 percent of dental health to service members. The segment of pharmacists mates acting as dental technicians established their own rate as dental technician April 2, 1948.
"To dental technicians, U.S. Naval Hospital, Rota passes a heartfelt 'thank you,'" said Lt. John Ingersoll of U.S. Naval Hospital, Rota. "Know that your rate will live with a proud history in the pages of Navy medicine."
"It's going to be a good learning experience," said Crawford. "One of the things I'm telling the technicians [and the corpsmen] is that it's a positive change. When they look back 10 years from now and think about how much they've gained because of the merger, I think they'll see the benefits," she said.
This ideal can be applied to any of the Navy's latest and future mergers, according to Crawford.
"It's change, and it's going to be new and difficult, but in the long run it makes you more marketable when you get out in the civilian world. I think the skills they're going to gain from the mergers will outweigh any benefits they think they're losing," she said.
The real goal is to enter the merger with an open mind, according to Crawford.
"I think the biggest thing is that we're all gaining something here," she said. "We've just got to adjust to the change. I just think it's going to work out great."
For more information on the DT-HM merger or any other Navy rating mergers, visit Navy Knowledge Online at www.nko.navy.mil.
For related news, visit the Naval Station Rota, Spain Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/rota/.