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Cutting Your Teeth On Life: Dental Care Onboard USS Abraham Lincoln

USS Abraham Lincoln is conducting maritime security operations as part of U.S. 5th Fleet — this means keeping sea lanes safe, and goods moving across the oceans. While we do hear about major news events involving the strike group, for Lincoln’s Sailors it is business as usual as they perform their daily tasks around the ship. It’s really a small city at sea, where you find people delivering mail, cutting hair, preparing meals and in the case of one small group of Sailors keeping the smiles of Lincoln Sailors bright. Among them is Hospital Corpsman First Class Laura Blanco, who’s specializes as a Field Service Dental Technician.

  “I have always been interested in the medical field. This job has set me up really well with a license that if I got out of the Navy right now I know that I would be fine.”

Laura is from Los Angeles, and she has had the opportunity to gain skills in the field of dentistry while in the Navy, and she finds other special benefits of working in this profession.

 

 

 “What I enjoy mostly about my job is making sure my patients’ health is taken care of. It’s always a joy to see a patient when they first start off, when they aren’t doing so well with their flossing and their overall health, and then seeing them again in six months and actually noticing the difference in their tissue. They are way more interested in their health; it’s a big impact to me because I know that I made a difference in their life and in their health.”

And while she is making an impact in the lives of others, she also takes the time to make an impact in her own life.

 “It’s important to continue my personal education because having a degree will actually give me a greater opportunity if I ever decide to pursue a career outside the military. It sets the example for my junior Sailors as well, it gives them something to look up to or follow.”

With her studying, she sets a good example to the junior Sailors on the ship. An example that lasts a lifetime.

 

 “I like to lead my Sailors by example and I try to mentor them by talking to them and getting to know them. I think to me, that is the most important thing: knowing who your Sailors are and how to approach and interact with each and every one of them.”

Laura’s life isn’t all work and no play, though.  She has found ways to pursue one of her life-long hobbies.

 

 

 “I love doing hair in my free time, it’s very relaxing. In my past I would do a lot of hair, even when I was young and playing with dolls.”

And at the end of the day, when she needs to get away from the office, there are still places she can go, even in the middle of the ocean.

 

 

 

 

“Going out on the fantail is like a retreat from dental. When I am having a hard day, I go out and feel the breeze and sunlight and look out into the ocean. It is a sense of relaxation where you kind of forget about your problems for a minute.”

It is during this time, watching the reflections of light off the waves, that Laura has the opportunity to reflect on how the Navy has helped her cut her teeth on life over the last dozen years.

 

Laura Blanco is very passionate about her Sailors’ professional accomplishments and the Navy as a whole. She is married, has two boys, and is the proud owner of a Great Dane. She believes that everyone is different and they have something to bring to the table. If she could give something back to the world, it would be understanding. As a leader, she believes we need to take the time to understand and know our people, taking into account their individuality. This will help us understand where they are coming from and assist us through the process of mentoring.

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