Dr. Phil Bales (pictured left) and Dr. Dave Carneiro (pictured right), both Astoria dentists, recently completed a two week joint military exercise in Ouzinkie, Alaska, Sharon Menapace, Dr. Carneiros wife, told the Ear. They were there as part of a training involving the Air National Guard (Bales), the U.S. Navy (Carneiro), and the U.S. Army ... The purpose of the exercise was to train medical providers in learning to set up mobile treatment units.
After setting up those units and the necessary equipment, she said, the team provided treatment for the local population. The dedicated dentists wound up treating more than 100 people by performing extractions, and doing fillings and cleanings.
Ouzinkie is located on Spruce Island, which is just off the northeast tip of Kodiak Island, Sharon explained. It has a population of about 160 people. There are approximately five miles of gravel roads, with trails making up the rest of the islands transportation network. Some patients walked over an hour and a half to get to the dental/medical clinic.
The Ouzinkie team slept on the gym floor of the school and ate plenty of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) while treating patients six days a week. The people of Ouzinkie really appreciated the services offered and, in return, shared plenty of fish dinners, a boating excursion and a hike to the far side of the island and the monastery there.
I didnt find out until two days before leaving that I was going to be working on a team with Phil, Dr. Carneiro recalled. To have a joint military exercise organized from units all around the nation, and to end up on a team with a local friend who is in a different branch of service, was just amazing.