Science and Technology News

Thursday, April 4, 2013

AFMAO’s new control center fully operational

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 Marine Corps.

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 forces.

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."

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