Honoring Fallen Comrades: Mortuary Affairs at the Dover Port Mortuary

When military members, civilians, or contractors are killed in operations overseas, the Department of Defense does everything possible to ensure the dignified return of the fallen to their homeland. The most important facility involved in this process is the Port Mortuary located at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. It is the largest mortuary facility in the DOD and the only one in the continental United States.

The servicemembers and civilians who work at the mortuary have the duty of ensuring their fallen comrades and their personal effects are returned to their loved ones in a matter befitting their service.

A recent story from shows how meticulous the preparations can be:

As the fallen reach the Charles C. Carson Center, the service members who care for them take the time to prepare their remains in a way that brings dignity to the deceased as well as the service, paying attention to every detail. Flags that will drape the caskets are individually pressed. Uniforms that will clothe the deceased are custom-tailored to fit.

We have been told that service as a mortuary specialist can be some of the most emotionally taxing duty in the military. Given the gravity of their daily tasks, we can certainly understand this. With the utmost sincerity, we salute those who have stepped forward in service of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

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