Army Reserve Soldiers serve ‘deceased’ at RIMPAC MASCAL

| July 21, 2014 | 0 Comments
Pfc. Mikael Manibusan, Spc. Jesennia Geddes, Sgt. Litia Tootoo, and Spc. Winlove Mabuti (left to right) from the 9th Mission Support Command’s 962nd Quartermaster Co. (Mortuary Affairs), develop a case file as they process the "remains" of Derrick Visitacion, a college student Mililani, Hawaii role-played as a deceased person during the RIMPAC mass casualty exercise on Ford Island at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam July 11, 2014. (Photo by Chaplain (Col.) Charles E. Lynde, 9th Mission Support Command, Command Chaplain)

Pfc. Mikael Manibusan, Spc. Jesennia Geddes, Sgt. Litia Tootoo, and Spc. Winlove Mabuti (left to right) from the 9th Mission Support Command’s 962nd Quartermaster Co. (Mortuary Affairs), develop a case file as they process the “remains” of Derrick Visitacion, a college student Mililani, Hawaii role-played as a deceased person during the RIMPAC mass casualty exercise on Ford Island at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam July 11, 2014. (Photo by Chaplain (Col.) Charles E. Lynde, 9th Mission Support Command, Command Chaplain)

Story and photo by Chaplain (Col.) Charles E. Lynde
9th Mission Support Command, Command Chaplain

HONOLULU – Adaptability is a hallmark of the American Soldier.

Members of the 962nd Quartermaster Co. (Mortuary Affairs) exemplified adaptability during the mass casualty exercise (MASCAL) on July 11, that formed a part of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014 — the world’s largest international maritime exercise.

“We’ve been doing a static display this week to introduce our capability to the Navy and Marines,” said 1st. Lt. Janessa Strickland, 962nd operations Officer. “Today we’ve been integrated into the MASCAL exercise. It’s great training for us.”

That positive attitude was evident throughout the six members of the 962nd who were supporting the static display as they adapted to the new training opportunity.

They responded quickly as “deceased” casualties were brought to the Mobile Integrated Remains Collection System (MIRCS), the equipment that forms the basis of their support.

Mortuary Affairs units are responsible for searching, collecting, processing, and forwarding remains of U.S. service members killed in combat. The unexpected inclusion in the MASCAL exercise presented them with a different scenario.

”I’ll assume he’s American,” said one Soldier as remains were brought into the MIRCS.

“But the exercise scenario has us in the country of Griffin. He’s a citizen of Griffin,” said another Soldier present.

The four mortuary affairs specialists began to develop a case file and process the “remains” of Derrick Visitacion, a college student from Mililani, Hawaii, who had volunteered to role play as a casualty.

“I wanted to role play something severe,” Visitacion said. “Head trauma seemed like a good one.” He smiled as he lay on the stretcher, moulage of a head injury pasted to the right side of his head.

The simulated injuries added realism to the exercise.

Spc. Winlove Mabuti of Waikele, Hawaii, one of the mortuary affairs specialists said serving as a mortuary affairs Soldier “humbles me. It has made me wise and helpful. I am who I am today because seeing remains is an eye opener.”

He added, “I want to help the best way I can. It’s sensitive and heartbreaking to see a fallen comrade.”

The Soldiers of the 962nd adapted to the new mission and the unusual scenario because they appreciate their mission.

“Today’s training makes me want to do this more in the future, to become more proficient so we can process remains faster.” Mabuti said.

The 962nd has Pacific Army Reserve Soldiers stationed in Alaska, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, and Hawaii. It is the only mortuary affairs unit in the Pacific.

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: Exercises, News, Safety, Training

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *