• Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Kaitlyn Maricle
  • Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Public Affairs

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Delaware – Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith visited Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Feb. 8, 2022 to learn about AFMAO’s sacred mission and meet the team of joint personnel that makes that mission possible.

Black and Smith also visited AFMAO’s mission partners at the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System and Joint Personal Effects Depot at Dover Air Force Base.

“This visit has been very humbling. I am grateful that SMMC Black and I were able to visit with the service members to see first-hand their professionalism and commitment to this sacred mission,” said Smith. “They display such incredible care and exercise exceptional attention to detail, ensuring our fallen are treated with the dignity and honor they deserve before being laid to rest.”

AFMAO is supported by liaisons from each branch of service, including the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy, as the sole Department of Defense port mortuary in the continental United States. The U.S. Navy is also the only branch of service that employs active-duty morticians.

Although both Black and Smith have attended a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base, this was their first time seeing the different perspectives of the AFMAO mission, from the command, control and communication center to the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen.

“MCPON and I meet with the families of our fallen, and they always want to know if their son or daughter is being treated with dignity. That dignity is exactly what we’ve seen here today,” said Black. “I appreciate what this team does and every service member does as well.”