News: Mortuary Affairs Marines awarded for dedication to returning fallen heroes home
Story by Cpl. Kenneth Jasik
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – Two mortuary affairs Marines were awarded in a ceremony here, Sept. 21, for their dedication to processing fallen heroes and returning them home.
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Kim T. Adamson, officer in charge of the Personnel Recovery and processing detachment, Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), received a Meritorious Service Medal; Gunnery Sgt. Scott A. Barnett, staff noncommissioned officer in charge of PRP, H&S Company, 1st MLG (FWD), received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal presented by Brig. Gen. Charles L. Hudson, commanding general of 1st MLG (FWD), for going above and beyond the expectations of their duties.
It is the responsibility of mortuary affairs Marines to process deceased service members and civilians, and return them home where they can have proper burial ceremonies.
The duty of the PRP Marines is to collect a fallen hero and inventory all of their possessions before conducting a dignified transfer ceremony to transport the casket of remains to Dover Air Force Base, Del., for final processing before being sent home to their families.
“We always took care of them with as much dignity as possible,” said Adamson, 57, from Salt Lake City, who attended more than 60 dignified transfer ceremonies during her deployment.
The two Marines say it was a team effort that led to the Personnel Recovery and Processing Detachment’s success during their seven-month deployment.
“If it wasn’t for our team, we couldn’t have been recognized,” said Barnett, 37, from Fredrick, Md.
Adamson and Barnett’s team was on call 24/7 and ready for any situation they may have had to deal with.
“The hardest part would have to be not knowing what was going to happen that day,” said Barnett. “We had a lot of planning, but we never knew exactly what was going to happen.”
Mortuary Affairs Marines support International Security Assistance Forces, as well as Afghan National Security Forces, third country nationals and Afghan civilians.
The leaders of PRP say their success was a result of not only the hard work of their Marines, but from all the support they received from other units in their area of operations.
“The support was phenomenal,” said Adamson. “1st MLG and [Regional Command (Southwest)] would reach out to us and help us before we even asked for anything.”
With all the responsibilities of mortuary affairs comes the greater sense of helping families deal with their losses.
“Knowing that we are caring for our own,” said Barnett, “we send him home to his family to bring closure.”
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