The Dentist
by Nick Moreska

Did you ever have to go the dentist to have a filling for one of your teeth? Naturally you looked forward to the drilling--RRRRRR and then the thought-"What if his hand slips and the drill goes right thru your cheek." Well, it just so happens that one of my fillings came out and I went to the medics for some aspirin or anything they can do for me. What do you know! There is a dentist here. Am I in luck ?,or am I in luck?

My thoughts of drilling are coming back to me, but he won't be drilling. We've only been on the island two weeks. Surely, he didn't bring his office with him and all the equipment. Nothing to fear. I went into the adjoining tent (dentist's office) and he had me sit in the familiar dentist chair that tilts back. So far so good.

He poked around here and there and said " I think I can put another filling in, the one that fell out wasn't too big." Two thoughts ran thru my mind. One - he had some sort of material that he could wad up and stick it in the cavity and press it in with his thumb -- do a little trimming and I'm out of here. My second thought -- oh-oh- He says "I'll drill the cavity a little larger and try to make a better anchor." Drill? with what? He says "open wide" and I hear this whirring. He's got a hand drill! Surely it'll go thru my cheek for sure.

The drill bit is on my tooth now and he has both his hands around my mouth, so it can't be a hand drill. As he is drilling his body seems to be moving and just then out of the corner of my eye I see his one foot (it couldn't be two) pumping up and down. He has a foot operated drill. Where did they get it. It wasn't Japanese. The dentist said it  came from an old warehouse and had probably been in storage from WW I. I got some Oweees, but no slips and my cheek is fine!

Nick Moreska was with the U.S.Army's 7th Div, stationed on Attu from July 1943 through December of 1944. They were a holding force after the initial hostilities were over. The 17th & the 32nd regiments of the 7th div were in on the initial landings. They all trained together in the states - for desert warfare. Nick indicates that he was fortunate that his Regiment was needed!

The Aleutian Warriors: Attu