On August 28, 2021, Dr. Albert Donald Rohrer celebrated his a centesimal birthday from his house in Louisville, Ky. Whereas surrounded by his household and buddies, he mirrored on a few of his proudest legacies in his lengthy life—his caring household, his 60 years as a training dentist, his lively position with the Shriners, Masons and Scottish Ceremony, and his time within the Navy Dental Corps.
Remarkably when Dr. Rohrer was born the Navy Dental Corps was lower than ten years previous. The Naval Postgraduate Dental College didn’t but exist. The number of the Navy’s first dental flag officer was nonetheless 20 years away. All Navy dentists have been nonetheless known as “dental surgeons.” And the dental specialties of oral surgical procedure, endodontics, and periodontics have been all of their infancies.
Admittedly, the Navy could not have been on Dr. Rohrer’s radar in these early years rising up in Beckley, West Virginia, however dentistry all the time was. Dentistry provided a method of serving his local people and, as he put it, “relieving the struggling of humanity.”
Whereas a younger man, Rohrer was taken below the tutelage of native dentist Dr. John Calloway who helped instill in him a ardour for “excellence in dentistry.” And maybe there was one thing about Beckley too that proved pivotal and motivated a few of its residents to develop into devoted dental professionals. Beckley can also be the hometown of Rear Adm. (ret.) Stephen Pachuta, a former Navy Dental Corps Chief and later Dean of West Virginia College’s College of Dentistry.
Alongside the way in which the Navy got here calling. Rohrer registered for the draft in February 1942 whereas nonetheless an undergraduate. However it was solely after graduating dental faculty on the College of Louisville that Rohrer was referred to as into service. He was commissioned Lieutenant (junior grade) within the Navy Reserves on June 26, 1945.
The mission of a Navy Dental Corps officer has not modified within the 76 years since Rohrer first entered the service. Then as now Navy dentists assist guarantee our sailors and Marines have optimum dental well being and are ready for deploying.
In 1945, Rohrer was briefly assigned to the Navy Yard in Charleston, S.C., to supply dental care to sailors connected to the station. His first impressions of the Navy have been optimistic and proved impactful on his later profession in civilian dentistry. “I appreciated the Navy and Dental Corps,” mentioned Rohrer. “I gained numerous expertise and discovered to be quick and proficient as a dentist.”
On the finish of the warfare, Rohrer was assigned to a forensic unit on Pearl Harbor to assist determine the stays of tons of of Marines killed within the Battle of Tarawa.
The Tarawa Atoll is the chief port of entry into the Gilbert Islands chain, situated 2,300 southwest of Hawaii. Tarawa consists of 25 islets, chief amongst them is Betio which served as the first touchdown spot for over 5,000 Marines on November 20, 1943. Over a 76-hour interval, over 1,000 People (together with 990 Marines and 30 Sailors) have been killed within the battle in opposition to a closely entrenched enemy on Betio. Lots of the lifeless have been buried in makeshift cemeteries and by no means recognized. Remarkably, in 2021—78 years because the battle was fought—greater than 400 of those servicemembers stay “misplaced.”
In 1946, the U.S. Military Quartermaster’s 604th Graves Registration Firm started excavating a few of Betio’s cemeteries and despatched the stays to the Central Identification Laboratory (CIL) at Schofield Mausoleum in Hawaii for identification and repatriation. Rohrer was a part of the army’s forensic workforce and spent many painstaking hours analyzing human stays that might not be recognized by way of both finger print or facial recognition. For Rohrer the possibility to determine the misplaced servicemen was significant, but in addition foundational. He credit this expertise for permitting him to function the Deputy Coroner for Jefferson County, Kentucky in his later years.
After three years in service Rohrer returned to stateside and left lively responsibility. Throughout the Korean Struggle he return to responsibility and served on the Naval Station Norfolk till 1953. He remained within the Navy Reserves till 1969 when he retired as a Lieutenant Commander.
All through his life although, the Navy—and repair to others—remained Dr. Rohrer’s guiding gentle. This stays evident to his household right now, amongst them his grandson Oliver Olson, a former Military “MP”-turned nurse practitioner. Olson has gotten to know his grandfather fairly properly whereas serving as one in every of his caretakers these previous few years. And he has discovered that his grandfather’s service within the Navy has all the time been a degree of satisfaction.
“He liked the chance to serve and have sailors and Marines as sufferers,” mentioned Olson. “They have been all the time well mannered and respectful—and he was all the time significantly impressed with the Marines.”
|Date Posted:||08.29.2021 11:54|
|Location:||FALLS CHURCH, VA, US|
|Hometown:||LOUISVILLE, KY, US|