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AFMAO hosts ANG mortuary course

  • Published
  • Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, DE -- Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations recently hosted Air National Guard Force Support personnel for mortuary and casualty training.

During the ANG’s 5-Day Mortuary Officers and Technicians course and Casualty Affairs Representative course, the attendees learn and become proficient with their duties and responsibilities as mortuary officers and technicians in the ANG, said Electa Thompkins, AFMAO mortuary specialist and lead coordinator at AFMAO for the course.  

In the MOT course, AFMAO mortuary specialists and honor guard program managers provide an overview briefing on contracts and entitlements, remains and family funeral travel and escort and military funeral honors. The attendees also receive a behind-the-scenes orientation of AFMAO's embalming, dress and restoration and departures sections.

“The ANG installation mortuary team provides service for eligible and non-eligible survivors of the fallen guardsmen,” said Master Sgt. Sheryl Lomonaco, National Guard Bureau mortuary affairs program noncommissioned officer in charge.

Students attend some of the same sessions with relevant content to both mortuary and casualty, while the CAR course portion provides participants the ability to see the death and casualty process from all aspects of the Force Support Squadron casualty and mortuary team.

The training's primary goals are prompt accurate reporting, compassionate notification and effective execution of the mortuary affairs program, said Master Sgt. Noel Magcalas, ANG NGB force management program and casualty program manager.

“Mortuary officers and technicians receive technical aspects of the mortuary affairs program presented from a managerial perspective,” said Magcalas.

During this course, students learn procedures for the care and disposition of deceased personnel, as well as communication with many of those involved in the process including next of kin, higher headquarters and escorts.

Other information covered in the curriculum includes transportation of remains, entitlements and eligibility criteria, as well as search and recovery operations. Students also learn about Air Force and contract mortuaries, base honor guard involvement and summary court officers' duties.

This class is a combination of lectures and hands-on training and benefits the Guard as well as active-duty mortuary officers and technicians. 

The ANG mortuary officers and technicians are trained on providing briefings for the Person Authorized to Direct Disposition and can serve as a force multiplier for AFMAO and active-duty installation mortuary teams and can be requested to assist the active duty for PADD briefings, said Lomonaco.

They also work closely with the active-duty mortuary officers and technicians during in-status cases (death of an eligible guardsman) upon request and approval from AFMAO.

Attending the ANGC MOT and ANGC CAR at Dover AFB provides the full rundown of the mortuary operation, from the place of death to the investigation at the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System and AFMAO, the processing of personal effects at the Joint Personal Effects Depot, and escorting until the fallen are home. It also assists the team in taking care of the survivors.

“As a bonus benefit, everyone goes back to their home unit and tweaks their mortuary plan, search and recovery tactics, techniques and procedures and wing exercises based on what they have learned from the course,” said Lomonaco.