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20th MDG realigns squadrons for more efficient medical care

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Benjamin Gantt, 20th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron (OMRS) commander, right, assumes command of the 20th OMRS from Col. Christian Lyons, 20th Medical Group commander, at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, July 18, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Benjamin Gantt, 20th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron (OMRS) commander, right, assumes command of the 20th OMRS from Col. Christian Lyons, 20th Medical Group commander, at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, July 18, 2019. Because of the 20th Dental Squadron’s deactivation, the dental Airmen, now part of the 20th OMRS, fall under Gantt’s leadership. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destani K. Matheny)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Benjamin Clarke, former 20th Dental Squadron (DS) commander, rolls up the 20th DS guidon as part of the squadron’s deactivation at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, July 18, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Benjamin Clarke, former 20th Dental Squadron (DS) commander, rolls up the 20th DS guidon as part of the squadron’s deactivation at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, July 18, 2019. Former 20th DS Airmen will continue accomplishing their mission under the leadership of the 20th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destani K. Matheny)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. --

The 20th Medical Group held a change of command and redesignation ceremony, July 18.

During the ceremony, the 20th Dental Squadron was deactivated and the 20th Aerospace Medicine Squadron was redesignated as the 20th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron by order of former Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein.

“This represents one of the first organizational structure realignments of the Air Force Medical Service in 25 years,” said Staff Sgt. Jessica Palmer, 20th OMRS flight and operational medical technician. “The 20th OMRS will be the second medical squadron in the Air Force to execute this reformation with a mission of delivering high quality care and enhancing continuous readiness of the human weapons system.”

This change is part of the Defense Health Agency’s plan to unify all military medicine. There will eventually be two medical squadrons, one for active duty and the other for family members and retirees.

This puts less strain on Airmen in the medical squadrons as they will be able to focus more on the needs of their specific patients rather than being spread out across everyone on base, said Master Sgt. Katie Buus, 20th OMRS dental support element chief.

The 20th DS has provided care for Team Shaw’s 31,000 beneficiaries and the medical Airmen will continue accomplishing the mission under 20th OMRS leadership.

The unified and streamlined medical squadron empowers Airmen by exclusively managing medical care processes, ensuring increased efficiency and readiness.

“This move is structuring us to better serve the needs of our fighting force,” said Lt. Col. Benjamin Clarke, former 20th DS commander. “Our dental Airmen’s skill, passion and hunger for health care quality will not be disappearing. Our dental Airmen will simply be merging with our recently redesignated medical operations squadron to become the 20th OMRS.”

Lt. Col. Benjamin Gantt, 20th OMRS commander, said he looks forward to leading Shaw’s medical Airmen into a future of more efficient health care.

“I couldn’t be more excited and honored by the opportunity to lead the 20th OMRS,” said Gantt. “This is an exciting time for our Air Force Medical Service and for the 20th Medical Group. We are on the front lines of a reformation of how we deliver trusted care to our customers. We are going to care for the war fighter and we are going to care for our wingmen.”