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Dream achieved

Dentist commissioned in Army during CE session on Sunday

Maj. Steven Marshall: Linda Marshall places a major’s pin on her husband’s lapel during session Sunday. Observing is Col. Thomas “Rob” Tempel, who officiated at the commissioning.
Dr. Steven Marshall dreamed about being a dentist in the U.S. Army, but the timing just never worked out.

Upon graduating from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry in 1981, he looked into becoming a dental officer, but at the time, there weren’t any available slots in his area.

He went into private practice instead, supplementing his free time with community service. He got his pilot’s license, started a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity and volunteered at his church and with the local school board.

Flash forward 25 years as he watched his son Brian enlist and rise to staff sergeant in the Army’s Special Forces and serve in Iraq.

Seeing Brian in uniform renewed his own interest, and so after selling his practice in 2009, he decided to go for it, signing up for the U.S. Army Reserves.

On Sunday, Dr. Marshall was commissioned into the U.S. Army Dental Corps at the start of Dentistry Around the World: Providing Dental Support to the Military and Nations in Need, part of the Federal Dental Services Track at annual session.

Col. Thomas “Rob” Tempel Jr., commander of the Northern Regional Dental Command at Walter Reed DENTAC, performed the commissioning ceremony.

“Dr. Marshall has chosen the ADA meeting to start his career in the military. It’s a fitting place to start since the ADA has always been so supportive of the federal services,” Col. Tempel said to a room filled with military and non-military dentists and dental team members who stood to applaud Dr. Marshall. “It’s also neat that in his case, he’s following in his son’s footsteps.”

Dr. Marshall’s wife Linda pinned the major’s rank and dental corp caduceus pins to her husband’s jacket.

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Dr. Marshall, 56, an ADA member from Bolivar, Mo., “When I sold my practice, I had several windows of opportunities and this is one window I wanted to take.”

Because of his 29 years of practice, Dr. Marshall enters the Army with the rank of major. As a licensed professional, he is exempted from basic training but will undergo an officer basic leadership course before becoming eligible for deployment.