by Christin Michaud
AFMAO Public Affairs
4/4/2013 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- A
new control center at the Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary
Affairs, Dover Air Force Base, Del., opened last month, centralizing
major components of the sacred mission.
Command, control and communications, the hub of the Air Force Mortuary
Affairs Operations, but once situated in a far off corner, is now
collocated with mortuary technical operations, port mortuary
administration and branch of service liaisons from the Army, Navy and
The AFMAO Operations and Mass Fatality Command Center was designed to
accommodate AFMAO's daily operations. It has the ability to ramp up for
large mass fatality incidents, explained Kevin McGarrigle, mortuary
technical operations chief.
The new center provides offices and workstations for up to 48 personnel
and includes contingency seating for public affairs and other Dover AFB
agencies, such as wing and group leadership, command post and security
The concept of the operation was the result of an Air Force Smart
Operations for the 21st Century event for information management, which
revealed a need to improve the flow of communications internal and
external to AFMAO, said McGarrigle.
"The new center has already improved the flow of communications in all directions," said McGarrigle.
The design of the center allows those working in it to gain a sense of
teamwork as well as understanding and appreciation for each other's
role, said Robin Vitale, C3 manager.
During a recent Army incident, C3 was in constant communication with
Army liaisons about family members and flights. Personnel from the 436th
Airlift Wing protocol office and the 436th Logistics Readiness Squadron
came over to work in the new control center.
"It saved time when working out the fine details of the dignified
transfer that they were right by our side," said Vitale. "We didn't have
to try and contact them by phone, try to explain any changes or
complications over e-mail or telephone.
The result, she said, was clear and quick communication between all who
work behind the scenes of the DTs to make it seamless for the family.
Having the new center and all the key functional areas in the same
location produces an environment that permits direct and immediate
communication between agencies, resulting in more accurate and efficient
transfer of information, said McGarrigle.
Another new feature is a video wall heads-up display of information from all functional areas working within the center.
"The wall can be manipulated to display video feeds from multiple
sources within the center which provides great, incident-based
flexibility," said McGarrigle.
The design, functional areas and streamlined communication help AFMAO
ensure it fulfills a solemn commitment to the fallen and their families.
"I am thankful for the teamwork between the men and women of AFMAO and
the 436th Airlift Wing that made this project a success, said Cory
Larsen, Operations Support branch chief.
"In the long run, we hope to never utilize the center in its full
capacity and the main purpose it was designed, a mass fatality incident,
but if or when called upon, the nation can rest assured that the center
will be ready."