Engage

T
Logo
T
Logo
F
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
Facebook
2,043,165
Like Us
Twitter
389,282
Follow Us
YouTube Google+ Blog RSS Instagram

News Search

Clear

Mortuary affairs sends fallen warriors home

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- A solemn dignified transfer of remains is conducted upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base, Del., from the aircraft to a transfer vehicle to honor those who have given their lives in service to America. These fallen warriors, however, have stops along the way including the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing here on their way home to family.

"What we do is ensure these fallen warriors get home to their families, friends and loved ones as quickly and safely as possible," said Tech. Sgt. Harvey Greenwood, the 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron mortuary affairs NCO in charge.

While there are only two mortuary affairs technicians locally, they're supported by the entire 379th EFSS and work closely with the 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron.

"We have a fallen warrior detail consisting of six to 12 members who carry the transfer cases to and from the aircraft," Greenwood said.

After the fallen warriors have been secured, the mortuary affairs specialist jump into action.

"The sooner we can get the member ready for transport again, the sooner they can be home and offer their families some peace," said Master Sgt. Michael Trace, the 379th EFSS mortuary affairs superintendent deployed from MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Being deployed ushers in a whole new set of emotions and mortuary affairs technicians learn to cope with them in their own ways.

Trace said, it takes a special person to fill their shoes.

"We're hand-selected by our squadron leadership," Trace said. 

"After chosen, we attend a five-day course designed to better prepare us in handling the technical aspects of mortuary affairs," Greenwood said. 

The course focuses on the procedures for case file management; administrative functions; search and recovery operations; and honor guard.

"It's a course that pulls Airmen from across the Air Force and all from force support squadrons," Greenwood said. "You have to be in the Services career field to fill this position."

It's a challenging job, Trace and Greenwood said, but they're proud to take part in sending their fallen comrades home.

Upon returning from the theater of operations to the United States, a dignified transfer begins. This is the process by which the remains of fallen military members are transferred from the aircraft to a waiting vehicle and then to the port mortuary. The dignified transfer is not a ceremony; rather, it is a solemn movement of the transfer case by a carry team of military personnel from the fallen member's respective service. A dignified transfer is conducted for every U.S. military member who dies in the theater of operation while in the service of their country and a senior ranking officer of the fallen member's service presides over the transfer.

Reminiscing, Trace said the greatest sense of accomplishment that he's done a job well is when the grieving family member comes to him and thanks him for returning their warrior home.

"Our job is one of the most stressful and rewarding at the same time," Trace said. "At the end of the day, when that family member walks up to you with tears of thanks -- that's what it's all about."

This appreciation is due, in part, to the care the Airmen give the fallen service member.

"They and their family made the ultimate sacrifice," Greenwood said. "We're here to make sure their loved one is handled with dignity, honor and respect in care, service and support for the families."

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.
comments powered by Disqus