SSG Jeffrey Holden, Mortuary Affairs Specialist
“I want to let the families know that the soldiers were taken care of from the time of the incident to the return to the final resting place.”
PV2 Ruslan Shulman, Mortuary Affairs Specialist
“I was a volunteer emergency medical technician as a civilian...Mortuary Affairs sounded like an interesting job and I get to know that the soldiers are getting back to their families."
SPC Nicholas Hulsey, Mortuary Affairs Specialist
“I do it for the honour and dignity of the job, to give closure to their unit and families back home, to get them through their sorrow.”
SPC Richard Hartley, Mortuary Affairs Specialist
I dealt with death at a close age, my friend died in front of me, he drowned and I had a survivors guilt from that. I didn’t go back and get my friend, I’m not turning my back on the soldiers that have fallen...I’m making sure that they get home.
SPC Michael Young, Mortuary Affairs Specialist
“The most challenging part of the job is to separate yourself from the fact that another soldier was lost, and to be able to complete the mission and get them home to their loved ones.”
Stacked in a small room at the Mortuary Affairs Collection point in Kandahar Airfield are the transfer cases for civilian adults (left), children (centre) and US soldiers (right). During a 24-hour span, a mortuary affairs team can process up to 12 remains in the facility.
Sgt Joseph Shartz, Mortuary Affairs Specialist
“I chose to be in Mortuary Affairs so I could do something different and it seemed interesting. I like dealing with people, I like the people that come here. The most rewarding part of the job is that I’m helping people in the worse days of their lives.”
Cpl Maurice Fowler, Mortuary Affairs Specialist
“The most challenging part is trying to do your job without letting your emotions take the best of you. Cause it’s hard sometimes seeing people your age and they may have a family just like you do and always knowing that could have been you there, but I think it’s just handling the emotions.”
SPC Theodore Schrock, Mortuary Affairs Specialist
“The most rewarding part of the job is knowing that the families are able to have their soldiers returned home to them.”
Maj Adam Vonbartheld, Mortuary Affairs Officer
“The most challenging part is the emotional side of it, knowing that these soldiers have paid the ultimate sacrifice and they have families back home, loved ones, parents, grandparents and children that they will never see again.”
The American flag is always clean and ironed before being placed on a transfer case.