PACAF mortuary manager sets battle rhythm

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Andrew J. Alvarado
  • Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations


The mortuary enterprise spans the globe and requires spatially separated locations that work in tandem to provide uninterrupted and immediate support to various commands. One Airman in the Pacific Air Forces Command has made it a point to make waves in the best way possible.

 "I oversee the Department of Defense's second largest mortuary affairs program, managing current death and contingency mortuary operations encompassing 36 nations and 46,000 Air Force  personnel," said Master Sgt. Breona Battle, command mortuary and honor guard manager.

The journey to a final resting place requires a connection between different service branches, constant communication with the person authorized to direct disposition, and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner throughout PACOM. Battle’s motivation stems from a desire to constantly provide surviving members their due care, service and support throughout this process.

"My motivation for this mission is quite simple," said Battle, "taking care of people."

In addition to her duties as command mortuary manager, Battle develops, coordinates and executes guidance that directly supports nine base-level mortuary and honor guard programs. The honors rendered seamlessly as part of her involvement underscores her consistent drive to place the needs of others before her own.

"Master Sgt. Battle is a self-paced senior non-commissioned officer who excels in everything she does," said Robert Glassheim, chief, Mortuary Affairs Operating Location Pacific. "Her attention to detail is amazing. She gets the mortuary program and its importance to the enterprise as a whole."

Infusing her existing duties with a pioneering spirit, Battle has also elevated the mortuary synergy through workshops intended to help prevent gaps in manning and fully-trained personnel.

"The Pacific is vast, and we have a quick turnover rate for mortuary officers and technicians – there are often gaps in training," said Battle. "The workshop allowed us to establish continuity in a way that had not been done for Pacific Air Force mortuary operations."

Regional unit  training for mortuary officers and technicians prepares them to  provide dignity, honor and respect to the fallen. This training has a ripple effect in the form of funeral honor details spanning multiple countries such as Palau, Samoa, South Korea and the Philippines.

“When I think of the impact Master Sgt. Battle makes in the Pacific region, it reminds me of the quote from Sir William Gladstone; ‘Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead, and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land, and their loyalty to high ideals,’” said Glassheim. "She lives this every day."