This Memorial Day, we’d like to extend a sincere thank you to those who have served in the military, in the past and present. Serving in the military is a selfless act performed by a select few. Today, we’re highlighting a few ASDA military members and a very special ASDA military wife. To those who are in dental school who plan to serve in the military in the future, or served before school, we thank you for your willingness to protect our country’s freedom and to truly embody the AMERICAN in American Student Dental Association.
Wesley Weibel, Houston ’15- Navy
Wes joined the Navy in December 2000. He graduated Navy Flight School in 2003 in Pensacola, FL. From 2004-2008 he flew the MH-53E Sea Dragon as a member of HM-15 (Airborne Mine Countermeasures Helicopter Squadron) completing 2 deployments to the Persian Gulf in 2005 and 2007. In the Spring of 2008 he transferred to the Department of Naval Science of Texas A&M at Galveston where he served as the Officer in Charge administering the Naval ROTC program for 90 students and staff. In the Fall of 2010 he deployed to Djibouti, Africa where he served as a department head in the Strategic Communications Directorate of the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa until the Summer of 2011. In the Fall of 2011 he started dental school at the University of Texas School of Dentistry in Houston, TX. He is still in the Navy and will finish his career as a Navy Dentist. Wes has been married for 10 years and have three children ages 7 (boy), 5 (boy), and 3 (girl).
From an early age my parents taught me the value of service to others, self sacrifice, and doing what was right. I have been and continue to be honored to have the chance to serve my country and its citizens. This great nation has afforded my family and me innumerable freedoms and opportunities, and I would feel remiss if I didn’t give back in some way. I look forward to continuing to serve my country as a US Navy Dentist providing essential healthcare to our service members and to those in need throughout the world. On this Memorial Day let us not forget those who have given all they could in defense of this great nation and its allies.
Robert served in the US Air Force as a Communications officer at Travis Air Force Base, CA for 2 years before entering dental school in 2009. While working on computer network systems and providing technical assistance to Colonels and Generals on base, he had the opportunity to lead 25-30 enlisted personnel where he learned not only how to be a good leader but a follower as well. He currently attends the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health in Mesa, Arizona.
My experience in the military has given me a deep appreciation for our armed forces and a true understanding of what it means to be able to practice true freedom. The Air Force core values of Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence on all We Do have transcended my time as an officer into my last 3 yrs of dental school. It was an honor to work with members of the Air Forc and I loved the order, discipline and attention to detail that the military demands of every service member. Many of these tenets I feel have not only made be a better leader but a better dentist as well.
Amanda Newcity, Harvard ’12- Army Wife
It is no surprise that being a military wife in dental school can be incredibly challenging. Amanda and her husband Zack met in high school. Upon graduation, Amanda went to college at the University of South Florida and Zack started working right away. In the Fall of 2006, Zack decided that the best decision for him at the time would be to join the Army and he left for Basic Training 2 weeks later. Zack came home for 2 weeks in March 2007. Given the short amount of time, Amanda and Zack decided to get married at the courthouse. Ten days after marriage, he left for Korea for one year, during Amanda’s third year of college. When he came back to the US, he was stationed in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where Amanda joined after her college graduation. A few months later, she started dental school at Harvard and Zack remained in Oklahoma. At the end of Amanda’s first year in dental school, Zack went overseas again, but this time to Iraq. He was in Iraq for one year and returned to the US at the end of her second year of dental school. By this time, his 4-year commitment with the Army was almost done. Zack separated from the Army in the Fall of 2010 and finally moved to Boston to be with Amanda. After being married for 3.5 years, the two finally lived together
In some ways, Zack’s deployment made my second year of dental school easier than it would have been otherwise. It gave me a much different perspective than some of my classmates had. I wasn’t worried about any test or obstacle that dental school could hand out because I was so worried about him being half-way across the globe in a war zone. Dental school just didn’t seem very hard compared to a deployment.
These stories make us proud to be American today and remember the sacrifices those before us have made to make our country what it is today. We thank you and your families for their service.
Thank you to these additional ASDA military members (feel free to comment with others you know):
Tim Hill, Houston ’14 (USMC)
Matthew McCullough, Houston ’14 (US Army)
Michael Sullivan, Houston ’14 (US Army)
Dwayne Gentry, ASDOH ’12
~Katie Sowa, Electronic Editor, Houston ’15