Mortuary Affairs Excels in Short-Notice Exercise

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Gabrielle Winn
  • 435th Air Expeditionary Wing

Mortuary Affairs provides global contingency mortuary response teams in support of Air Force and combatant command requirements, supporting both an Air Force and joint role. In a deployed location, MA helps to get remains home by accounting for them and processing the remains to be shipped home in a dignified way.

Nigerian Air Base 101 is constantly finding ways to improve the base and with the addition of the MA team, they help the 768th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron mission grow.

The 768th EABS MA team at Nigerien Air Base 101, Niamey, Niger, executed a short-notice exercise Oct. 9, 2020.

Consisting of only six people on the team, the MA team is led by Tech. Sgt. Kelentrea McGill, 768th EABS Readiness noncommissioned officer in charge, and is made up from members of other flights in 768th EABS.

The exercise assessed the MA team’s ability to execute all MA tasks on a short notice, as well as evaluate the ability to communicate with other 768th EABS flights to include security forces, medical, logistics, contracting and personnel support.

“The exercise consisted of us being alerted that we had two casualties en route with a two hour estimated time of arrival,” McGill said. “While waiting for the human remains to arrive, we set up a mortuary area and within 30 minutes of notification we had a tent set up and were ready to receive and process.”

Coordination with the other flights aided in the smooth transition of the two casualties. During the exercise, the MA team also worked with logistics and personalist to simulate making next of kin notifications.

“I feel the exercise went great,” McGill said. “At first, I was really nervous and felt like we were missing steps and key items, but overall, it was a great exercise and learning experience for the younger Airmen on the team.”

Since this exercise was the first of its kind, evaluating the MA team’s strengths and weaknesses was key part to the exercise.

“After the exercise, we found out that it was supposed to be a tabletop and we went beyond what was expected of us,” McGill explained. “I was very proud of my team and I couldn’t ask for a better team.”

As part of the 435th Air Expeditionary Wing, the 768th EABS mission is to provide combat airpower and base operating support for operations across Africa.