Academy clinic home to Air Force dental tech of the year

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Cadets can smile with ease knowing that their own Cadet dental clinic houses an Air Force awarding winning dental technician, Master Sgt. Christaleen Hill.

"I have been in the Air Force for 14 years and never have I dreamed of receiving an award at this level," said Sergeant Hill on winning Air Force Dental Corps' Senior Dental NCO of the Year.

"My husband, Capt. Darren Hill, and I always joked that winning a wing level award had been elusive for me after 3 attempts, so when I got to the Academy and won a wing level award, I had accomplished my goal and could now place my award next to my husband's. Having won an award at this level is nothing short of divine intervention," explained Sergeant Hill.

Sergeant Hill had many achievements over the last year that earned her this award, here are just a few:

-Selected to be one of 13 Air Force delegates at the 2010 American Dental Association National Conference.

-Guided 24,000 appointments during the fiscal year 2010.

-Instituted first ever Air Force/Air Reserve dental exam program.

Prior to her arrival at the Academy in July 2010, Sgt. Hill was stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base, where she credits much of her development as a leader to the senior NCO's that she worked with.

Sergeant Hill's Academy commanders have had nothing but praise for her work and abilities.

"I have been so impressed with Sergeant Hill as a leader," said Col. Gregory Gates, deputy commander of the 10th Dental Squadron. "She has championed improvement of our key dental programs that pertain to ensuring quality patient care and safety, as well as, overall USAFA dental readiness."

Her abilities were also noticed by squadron commander.

"When you meet her it only takes a moment to recognize her talent and ability," said Col. Douglas Wilson, commander of the 10th Dental Squadron. "She takes mentorship seriously and is passionate about developing those she works with. She is truly deserving of this award."

All the accolades aside, according to Sergeant Hill, it's really all about the team.

"Ultimately this award is a team award, as nothing that we do is ever a solo effort," she explained. "It's a snapshot of the hard work that we put in as a team and it feels great that the dental family from the 10th Dental Squadron and 82nd Dental Squadron brought one home!"