The U.S. Army Dental Activity changed hands Monday during a ceremony at 10th Combat Aviation Brigade hangar at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield. During the event, Col. Roger S. Fiedler relinquished command to Col. Michael P. Mahoney.
Commander of troops for the ceremony was Capt. Giovanny Zalamar. Reviewing officer was Col. Thomas R. Tempel Jr., commander, Northern Regional Dental Command, Washington, D.C., who attended with Sgt. Maj. William Fitzgerald, also of NRDC.
Following a sequence of events that included an invocation, honors to the nation, and the change of command, Tempel, Fiedler and Mahoney made remarks.
Tempel recognized the accomplishments of DENTAC under the leadership of Fiedler and welcomed Mahoney.
He highlighted the DENCOM mission, which ensures Soldiers receive world-class health care, and the accomplishment of DENTAC, Fort Drum, having reached and maintained a 97-percent Soldier dental readiness status at all times.
Fiedler spoke next.
“The formation you see in front of you is but a small representation of an organization with a 39-chair clinic, a 24-chair clinic, a four-chair clinic and a headquarters. Only about 25 percent of our organization is active-duty military. The rest are split between government civilian employees and contract personnel.
“I also want to mention our three deployed dentists – Capts. Rattan, Garmi and Meyer. I would be remiss if I didn’t also recognize Red Cross volunteer dental assistants. Every one of these groups is key players in our organization and vital in our mission success,” he said.
Fiedler also reflected on DENTAC accomplishments in the last two years, including:
* The opening and memorialization of the new Stone Dental Clinic;
* The development and execution of the annual International Continuing Education meeting;
* The Active-Duty Dental Plan;
* Computer-assisted dentistry;
* Hosting the NRDC regional commanders’ off-site conference; and,
* Setting new highs in production and readiness at Fort Drum.
Fiedler expressed heartfelt appreciation to his Family and to members of the DENTAC staff for their support. He then spoke to the incoming commander.
“Leaving is a sad time for us, but I know the DENTAC will continue its path of success with Col. Michael Mahoney,” he said. “Mike, we came into the Army on the same day and met at the basic course some 24 years ago. … Who would have back then thought we’d be standing here today! You’ve been here twice before and are already a true member of the North Country. It’s good to have you back, and I know you will do great things here, especially with your extensive past and command experiences.”
Mahoney began his remarks with a warm welcome to distinguished guests, visitors and members of the DENTAC, then shared his feelings about returning to Fort Drum and the North Country – a third time.
“From the bottom of my heart, I can tell you it’s great to be back in the North Country,” he said.
“It is with great honor that I take command of the Fort Drum Dental Activity,” Mahoney continued. “From my previous two tours here during the 1990s, I know that this unit – both civilian and military – has consistently provided high-quality dental care to the Soldiers of this historical post. From my position in the FORSCOM Surgeon’s Office over the past two years, I know that this is certainly still the case. For example, your performance in preparing the division for deployment over the past two years has been nothing short of outstanding.
“As a result, I look forward to working closely with each and every member of the DENTAC over the next few years.”
Mahoney earned a bachelor of science in zoology from the University of Maryland, College Park. He obtained his D.D.S. from the University of Maryland Dental School (Baltimore College of Dental Surgery) and entered active duty as a Dental Corps officer in September 1987. He is a graduate of the Advanced Education Program in General Dentistry. He is also a graduate of the AMEDD Officer’s Basic and Advance Courses, Combat Casualty Care Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff College – Phase 1, Command and General Staff College, Interagency Institute of Federal Health and the U.S. Army War College, where he earned a masters of strategic studies. He is board-certified by the Federal Services Board of General Dentistry and the American Board of General Dentistry.
He most recently served as the FORSCOM command dental surgeon at Fort McPherson, Ga., from 2009 to 2011. Other duty assignments include: commander, U.S. Army Dental Activity-Alaska from 2005 to 2009; staff officer, Office of the Surgeon General from 2003-2005; commander, 257th Medical Company (Dental Services), Fort Bragg, N.C., from 2001-2003; staff dentist, Fort Bragg DENTAC from 2000-2001; officer in charge, Wilcox Dental Clinic, Fort Drum, from 1998 to 1999; officer in charge, Camp Red Cloud Dental Clinic, Korea, from 1997 to 1998 ; 10th Mountain Division dental surgeon from 1991 to 1995; and staff dentist, Hanau, Germany, from 1987 to 1990.
He is a veteran of Operation Restore Hope in Somalia in 1993 and deployed with the 10th Mountain Division (LI) to Florida in support of Hurricane Andrew Relief in 1992.
A member of the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Dental Association, Mahoney also holds the Order of Military Medical Merit and is a Fellow in the International College of Dentists.