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Readiness and Plans Division prepares AFMAO for inspections

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

Nearly every organization in the DoD is familiar with inspections, whether internal or from outside agencies. Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations is no different, and the team in the Readiness and Plans Division are responsible for ensuring AFMAO stays compliant at every level.

AFMAO is the only DoD port mortuary in the continental United States, and is subject to 11 inspections at the local, Air Force and DoD -level. The Air Force and DoD typically inspect AFMAO every 24 months, but the self-assessment program managers at the unit conduct internal evaluations to ensure AFMAO is fully ready for inspection every six months.

“Most of these inspections require weekly attention to ensure that each program is managed effectively,” said Master Sgt. Theron Hann, AFMAO Readiness and Plans superintendent. “All divisions are required to comply with weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual performance and task suspenses set by program managers.”

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness oversees an inspection of more than 250 questions. While some are now answered virtually, some are answered in-person over a two-week time span. The inspection team measures AFMAO’s compliance with federal code, DoD instruction and service component guidelines.

The division understands the importance of ensuring AFMAO’s success during an inspection and recognizes it’s a reflection of how the organization cares for fallen service members.

“AFMAO directly represents the Department of Defense when a mother, father, spouse or child is here at Dover Air Force Base attending a dignified transfer,” Hann said. “Positive inspection results also validate to the public how much we care for, provide service to and support the families of the fallen.”

Teresah Sawicki, AFMAO readiness specialist, manages the inspection program and noted that the Readiness and Plans Division earned several successes for AFMAO, including more than three straight years without a failed inspection of any kind.

“During the 2019 OSD inspection, AFMAO earned a 100 percent score, which has never been done since OSD began inspecting DoD mortuaries in 2015,” she said. AFMAO also earned a “highly effective” rating from the Air Force during its 2019 Unit Effectiveness Inspection.

“By diligently following guidance and operating instructions levied upon us, we never have to ‘prepare’ for inspections,” said Hann. “We’re always ready.”