AFMAO transitions to internal refrigeration system

  • Published
  • By Christin Michaud
  • AFMAO Public Affairs
Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations finished its transition to an internal refrigeration system July 21, 2014 when the last refrigeration trailer unit was picked up from the Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary Affairs, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.

Refrigeration trailers have been used for more than 13 years with as many as four on site to support the mortuary mission, according to Jim Quinn, AFMAO logistics manager.

The units augmented the facilities capabilities prior to the current facility opening in 2003 and at the height of the war.

"We had several of them from the beginning of the war," said William Zwicharowski, AFMAO port mortuary branch chief.

Approximately 14 transfer cases are able to fit in the refrigeration trucks, but the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron built a storage system for cases to double the capacity if needed.

The transition to a more efficient internal refrigeration unit is larger, more versatile and eliminates a costly rental fee.

"By eliminating the external refrigeration trailers we save more than $700 a month in lease fees for each unit," said Senior Master Sgt. Brian Denny, AFMAO port mortuary superintendent.

That expense adds up to more than $300,000 for the time the mortuary has used refrigeration trailers.

"Through recent projects we have doubled our storage capacity by building new more efficient internal refrigeration units and still have the capability through a (blanket purchase agreement) to quickly reach out and expand for a large-scale mass fatality event," said Denny.

In the event of a mass fatality, the mortuary facility is designed to accommodate seven refrigeration trailers to expand mission capability.

"We have to be able to move, respond and act," said Denny. "Our mission is to ensure we provide dignity, honor and respect to our fallen and care service and support to their families."

This transition allows AFMAO to continue the sacred commitment of caring for the nation's fallen.