FSCT-M Airmen train in advance of deployment

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

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. – Ten Airmen from three bases across Air Force Reserve Command are receiving consolidated training for their upcoming deployment to Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations. The week-long Force Support Contingency Training-Mortuary Course provides real-world mortuary training and introduces the Airmen to the sections and responsibilities they will fill during their deployment.

FSCT-M is a course exclusively for reserve Airmen in the ranks of master sergeant and below. The Airmen attending this iteration will deploy to AFMAO in the next eight weeks and train in three sections – departures, dress and restoration and the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen.

“We have seen it all this week,” said Staff Sgt. Keevis Thompson, FSCT-M attendee who will deploy to AFMAO in May. “I’ve learned the different types of carries, the details of the movements and every process in every section.” Thompson is assigned to the 514th Force Support Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

The training is intensive, with section-specific processes being taught in the morning and carry team training in the afternoon. FSCT-M culminates with ground training on the flightline, followed by a scenario-based evaluation to close out the week.

“This training is critical – the Airmen who attend receive credit for their required contingency training and it drastically reduces the training time when they arrive for their deployment, making them mission ready much sooner,” said Master Sgt. Christopher Gangloff, AFMAO operations section chief.

Because the students are solely from the Reserve component, the course reduces the need for training active-duty Airmen may receive from base-level mortuary operations at their home station.

“It gives you a head start. You can hit the ground running and already have an idea of how things work,” said Thompson. “It puts us on par with our active-duty counterparts.”

As the FSCT-M students prepare to deploy to AFMAO later this year, the chance to get training in advance allows Airmen to understand their crucial role in providing dignity, honor and respect to the fallen and care, service and support to their families.

“This has given me an extra sense of pride. There’s joy in learning a little bit of everything. Being here, you see everything come together,” said Thompson.

In addition to the 514th FSS, students from the 934th Force Support Squadron, Minneapolis-St. Paul Air Reserve Station, Minnesota and the 512th Memorial Affairs Squadron, Dover AFB also attended FSCT-M.