An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Mortuary Affairs Training: Niagara Airmen travel to Dover to learn critical mission

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joshua Williams

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 914th Air Refueling Wing’s Force Support Squadron, Niagara Falls International Airport Air Reserve Station, New York, recently traveled to Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, for a week of training in support of the mortuary mission of providing dignity, honor and respect to fallen service members.

Some of the primary duties of force support Airmen in the services career field while deployed to AFMAO include care and support for family members of the fallen, the dignified transfer upon arrival at Dover, and dress and restoration, including the final uniform.

“Being here at AFMAO has been a great learning experience,” said Staff Sgt. Grissel Reyes, 914th FSS, who was on her second training tour at Dover. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here and learn from the team in place. They’ve only been here for a while and are already a plethora of knowledge. I’m now considering volunteering.”

Dover is home to AFMAO, where the dignified transfer of all DoD personnel and dependents from overseas locations and those who die while supporting overseas contingency operations takes place.

“I previously deployed here, and it was a very honorable experience,” said Staff Sgt. Parish Thacker, 914th FSS, who was assigned to the Fisher House, where family members of the fallen stay while awaiting the dignified transfer. “Coming back since my deployment offers me insight into the changes in processes and procedures, and helps me to prepare future Airmen who may deploy here, as well as stay connected with this mission.”

The AFMAO mission has Total Force support consisting of more than 85 civilian staff and active-duty Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, as well as Guard and Reserve personnel.

“It’s been over 10 years since I’ve deployed here, and a lot has changed,” said Master Sgt. William Bruce, 914th FSS. “To see the Fisher House completed and serving the families of the fallen is really impressive. This is what we are trained to do and it’s quite a humbling experience.” #ReserveReady

(Williams is assigned to the 914th Air Refueling Wing public affairs office.)   ■