JBLM’s Dental Activity memorializes clinic

Terence Mitchell



Courtesy Story

Madigan Army Medical Center

By Terence Mitchell

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD DENTAL HEALTH ACTIVITY, Tacoma, Wash. - The Lefler Dental Clinic and the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Dental Health Activity (DENTAC) held a memorialization ceremony June 1, to dedicate their building to the late, retired Maj. Gen. Billie B. Lefler.

Lefler served over 30 years on active duty as a general dentist and prosthodontist and served more than 3 years as the 20th Chief of the U.S. Army Dental Corps.

The invocation and benediction for the ceremony was led by Maj. Stephan Buchanan, a chaplain with Madigan Army Medical Center. Spc. Muhota Mbuthia, a dental specialist with the Presidio of Monterey Dental Clinic in California, sang the national anthem.

Lefler was selected for the honor because of his distinguished and long-standing military service as both a dentist and an educator. He graduated from the University of Tennessee School of Dentistry in 1956 and was commissioned in the Army that same year. He completed the fixed prosthodontics residency program at Fort Bragg, N.C., in 1968. Lefler is a recipient of the Army Surgeon General’s “A” Prefix, the highest award that can be made in recognition of professional attainment within the Army Medical Department (AMEDD).

Last spring, Col. Kendall Mower, then DENTAC commander, sought out to name Dental Clinic #2 after Lefler. Mower knew that this would also be an extensive process for the clinic, especially since Lefler never served at Ft. Lewis. The dedication proposal was routed through U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) and Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, the 45th Surgeon General of the Army, favorably approved the MG Billie B. Lefler Dental Clinic (commonly called the Lefler Dental Clinic). The justification for the naming showed the dedication Lefler had to the Dental Corps coupled with his extensive record of leadership displayed at every level of the Dental Corps and the AMEDD.

“To me, his legacy is about the life he lived both in and out of the military. It is the selfless service he gave in everything he did. It was about the way he was committed to the Corps, his country, his community, his God and his family,” added Mower during his remarks.

The newly named Lefler Dental Clinic is part of the U.S. Army Dental Health Activity, Joint Base Lewis-McChord. It provides oral health care for active duty military, along with National Guard or Reserve service members on active duty. Lefler Dental Clinic is a state-of-the-art, 22 chair clinic with the capabilities to perform the full scope of dental care including exams, fillings, cleanings, orthodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, pathology and oral surgery. Furthermore, annually the clinic hosts the 12 month Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) residency program.

The event concluded with a cake cutting ceremony in the lobby, but guests lingered long after the event to wander around the rooms decorated with photos, awards and other memorabilia honoring Lefler.
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