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Army Reserve dentist answered call to service

By Lori Kullberg 3rd Medical Recruiting Battalion

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What do you do if you have already graduated dental school, have your own practice and a family, but still feel a call to service? You join the U.S. Army Reserve.

That is what Army Dentist Capt. Dominic Hohman did a little over a year ago, and he says he wishes he had done it sooner.

Hohman, a graduate of Case Western Reserve University Dental School and the University of Akron, has worked at a dental practice in Norton, Ohio, for more than three years. He is married with a two-year-old daughter. He requested information from an Army medical recruiter while attending dental school, but felt the timing was not right.

That all changed four years later when Hohman was contacted by Sgt. First Class Todd Fitzwater, a medical recruiter from Cleveland Medical Recruiting Station. At this point, he was more established in his career as a general dentist and the timing seemed perfect. Hohman researched all the military branches, and after talking it over with his family, ultimately decided the Army was the best choice for him.

Hohman’s grandparents and cousin’s military service served as a motivator for him to join the Army.  According to Hohman, anyone considering joining the military has to have “a drive to serve their country.” This was prominently displayed in his family. 

“It (the drive to serve your country) is a huge part of it. You have to be the type of person that is willing to jump in and willing to lead, to help people," he said. "The current pandemic crisis is a perfect example of that. That’s why I took the oath. By joining (Army healthcare) you are surrounding yourself with people with the same ideals and willingness do what needs to be done.  Being around like-minded people who are willing to put mission first above profit is where I want to be.”

In addition to his family, Hohman had  another person who served as a strong influencer in his decision to join. Col. Thomas Dundon, now his company commander, had been one of his instructors at Case Western and Hohman really respected him. When he found out that Dundon was in the Army, that became another positive factor for considering Army service.  

“I always gravitated towards him but had no idea he was in the Army, let alone that I would end up with his unit,” Hohman said.  “I knew if he was leading a unit because I knew his character, that it was something I could put myself into as well.”

The financial factors sealed the deal for Hohman.

Hohman stated, “The Army fulfills the big trifecta of responsibility; healthcare, paying off my student loans, and retirement. Those are the three things as a responsible adult you should do for your family and your future.”

Hohman serves in a field dental unit. During weekend battle assemblies, Hohman and his fellow Soldiers train for movement to remote locations to administer dentistry effectively.  

“We deploy a decent amount for a dental unit.  Some of our Soldiers have been to places like Afghanistan," Hohman explained. "So, most of our training is spent making sure our equipment is working properly and that it can be set up and torn down efficiently.  Additionally, our relationship with our support staff is extremely important, maybe more so than other medical professions, because they are literally our second set of hands and are essential in everything we do.”

Hohman credits his Army Reserve training with giving him knowledge of high quality equipment, such as the NOMAD X-ray, which he wants to incorporate into his dental practice.

“If the Army uses it, I am comfortable saying it is safe to use in my practice. I know the Army is doing their research and has done their due diligence when they chose to use certain equipment or techniques,” Hohman said.

Hohman might be new to Army service, but he continues to serve his local community.  His dental practice in Norton, Ohio, remains open for emergencies in an area where many dentists have shut-down due to COVID-19.  Furthermore, he serves in a volunteer role as an overflow office for local hospital emergency rooms.  

Hohman demonstrates leadership and an innate desire to help others, which are characteristics the Army looks for in its Soldiers.  These attributes are at the core of Army Values and considering that it’s easy to see why Hohman answered the call to service.