News: Marines teach mortuary affairs class to multinational students at MEDCEUR 11
Story by Lance Cpl. Joseph Altemus
CAMP PEPELISHTE, Macedonia – Marines from the Personnel and Retrieval Processing Company, 4th Marine Logistics Group, out of Smyrna, Ga., and Anacostia, Washington, D.C., conducted a class to teach multinational students from six countries how the United States Marine Corps processes human remains and conducts search and recovery missions June 10.
The Marines came to Macedonia for Medical Training Exercise in Central and Eastern Europe 2011 to demonstrate to foreign military forces how to conduct mortuary affairs.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christopher Nepper, mortuary affairs officer in charge of both with PRP Company and 4th MLG, led the class.
“We’re here to show them how we do things,” said Sgt. Sergio Rosas, a PRP specialist. “It’s up to them how they want to [conduct their mortuary affairs]. We’re just providing an example for them by showing them how we do it.”
Staff Sgt. Tresor Mbunker, mortuary affairs staff noncommissioned officer in charge, spoke slowly and used his hands to ensure the students understood everything he said.
Throughout the brief, students asked questions and Nepper and Mbunker took turns answering.
Additionally, Nepper provided examples to help put things into perspective for the students.
“If you’ve got nine bodies and one leg, you’ve got to decide if you want to dispose of that leg or not,” he said. “That leg might have been from a 10th guy. If you dispose of it, then you could possibly have a missing person and an unsolved case, which is something to think about.”
The Marines conducted a hands-on portion of the class to demonstrate the U.S. military procedures for processing body. The class gathered around the human remains pouch, commonly known as a body bag, to get a closer look at the equipment and process.
The students then teamed up into groups of six to work together and process a body on their own.
“This is not just a theoretical [class]. You have practical exercise. It’s much better when you see and do, not only to talk about,” said Staff Sgt. Alexander Gutkovic, a medical technician in the armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
When everyone was finished with the practical application portion of the brief, the students put the equipment up and got back in their seats to watch one last slide show displaying some of the things they might see during search and recovery missions.
MEDCEUR is an annual Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored regional and multilateral exercise and is designed to provide medical training and operational experience in a deployed environment for U.S. and partner nations. The exercise will include both classroom and hands-on training and run until June 15.