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CAPT Howard K. Van Ness was born in the Naval Hospital at Chelsea, MA.  He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology.  He earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Dentistry.

Awarded a three year HPSP scholarship, he was commissioned as a Dental Corps Officer in March of 1998.  Upon graduation from CWRU in 2001 he was assigned to Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia and completed a General Practice Residency Program. 

In July of 2002, he reported to Branch Dental Clinic Guam and served as Dental Division Officer.   

In July 2004, he reported to Naval Dental Clinic Pearl Harbor, HI.  After 10 months onboard, he volunteered to take a hot-fill aboard the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) where he was appointed as Division Officer and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

In June of 2007, CAPT Van Ness attended the Naval Postgraduate Dental School Endodontic Residency Program at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.  He completed his certification in Endodontics and his Master of Science in Health Sciences in June of 2009.

In July of 2009, CAPT Van Ness reported to Branch Health Clinic Washington Navy Yard and was appointed as Dental Department Head supervising operations for 12 full-time providers, three part-time providers, and 27 support staff.  He coordinated quarterly staffing of two unmanned clinics supporting remote base readiness.  As Command Endodontic Specialist, he supported the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center General Practice Residency, providing instruction to 14 residents.

In June of 2012, he reported to Naval Hospital, Naples, Italy, and was selected as Director for Dental Services in May 2013.  He was responsible for the dental product line at two clinics supervising dental operations of 19 full time providers and 39 support staff.   

In July of 2015, CAPT Van Ness reported to 2d Dental Battalion/NDC Camp Lejeune, NC and assumed the role of Director for Clinical Services.  His immediate responsibilities included oversight of clinical operations for 415 staff at eleven clinics delivering care to over 49,000 patients.  He represented the Command on several facilities initiatives including three MILCON design projects valued at over $89 million. 

On July 06, 2017, he became Executive Officer of 3d Dental Battalion/Naval Dental Center, Okinawa Japan.  He provided operational and administrative oversight of 398 personnel across 12 geographically dispersed clinics serving 54,000 beneficiaries.

CAPT Van Ness has attended Advanced Medical Department Officer’s Course, Med Excellence, Naval Senior Leadership Seminar, CAPSTONE, Senior Officer Legal Course, and Naval Leadership and Ethics Course.  CAPT Van Ness is a member of the American Association of Endodontists and the American Dental Association.  In October 2014, he was inducted as a Fellow of the International College of Dentists. 

His personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (2 gold stars), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (1 gold star), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (1 gold star), Army Achievement Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, and Expert Pistol Marksmanship Medal.  He is qualified as Fleet Marine Force Warfare Officer and Surface Warfare Medical Department Officer.