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Military medical mission coming to Dover in 2021 to serve general public

Photo by Army Reserve Medical Command Lt. Col. Angela Wallace.
Capt. Paul Kearney (left), a general dentist assigned to 7404th Medical Support Unit, and Pvt. 1st Class Lauren Schildt (right), prepare to extract a resident’s tooth during IRT. ";

The Delaware Army National Guard is preparing to provide medical, dental and optometry services to thousands of Kent County residents next year.


The Department of Defense Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program will be bringing a medical mission to Dover in 2021.

“The program was started back in the ‘90’s and it continues through this day. It’s a successful program that pairs military training requirements with community needs. (Dover) Councilman David Anderson and Dr. Dan Houghtaling from the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce, under the Central Delaware Housing Collaborative, submitted an application and it was accepted,” said Delaware Army National Guard medical detachment commander Captain Jason Brooks.


He says he expects the medical mission to cover eight days in June and/or July next year.


“What this is going to look like as the plan currently exists, is that Dr. Daniel Shelton - the superintendent of schools at the Capital School District is going to graciously offer three points that we will be able to set up forward aid stations," sad Capt. Brooks. "Basically, we’re going to bring medical, dental, optometry and ophthalmic support.”

Capt. Brooks stresses that there is no cost to the community or individuals served,  noting taxpayers essentially foot the bill.

He says individuals will be treated on a first-come, first-serve basis by Army, Navy and Air Force medical personnel.


Capt. Brooks notes that for eight days, an estimated 250 medical personnel from the Army, Navy and Air Force will move in to provide, no-cost medical, optometry and dental services to the public.


“The need is there based on the fact that some things just aren’t covered by insurance," said Capt. Brooks. "Some folks have poor access to insurance and just can’t find the medical treatments that need in their areas. And this is common throughout the U.S. Our medical missions come in and offer support that these folks maybe haven’t seen in years.”


He says the non-profit Central Delaware Housing Collaborative applied last September for the IRT mission. That application was approved last November.

Capt. Brooks says exact dates for the mission have not yet been nailed down, but again, it will probably fall during June and/or July, 2021.


Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.