446th reservists volunteer to support mortuary

By Master Sgt. Jake Chappelle on January 24, 2012

The Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center, Dover Air Force Base, Del., has the sole duty of fulfilling the country's commitment of ensuring dignity, honor, and respect to fallen U.S. troops and the care, service, and support to their families. Since 1996, Reservists from the 446th Force Support Squadron Sustainment Services Flight at Joint Base Lewis-McChord have helped support the Air Force's mortuary mission.

The unit will send five more Reservists to Dover to support the mortuary between February and March. And they volunteered knowing their actual deployment window is right around the corner, knowing they could end up serving another six months there.

"The thought that we have volunteers who want to do things for this nation, shows the best part of who we are as a Reserve," said Col. Bruce Bowers, 446th Airlift Wing commander. "They want to do it to help other people. The fact that they are spending their time helping the families of some of the greatest heroes we've ever seen, makes my heart happy. This epitomizes who we are as a Reserve unit."

Technical Sergeant Michael Bishop is preparing for his fourth deployment to the mortuary - it's the second time he's put his "service before himself" by volunteering outside of his flight's tasking- and he says, it won't be the last.

Technical Sergeant Katie Badowski, 446th FSS Sustainment Services supervisor shares a similar background as Bishop.

"I had been to Dover twice prior to this upcoming deployment," said Badowski who, like Bishop, had deployed to Southwest Asia. "I felt a strong camaraderie with the staff at the port mortuary."

First-time deployers, such as Capt. Carrianne Culy, 446th FSS Sustainment Services operations officer, prepare for the best at the mortuary.

"I have no doubts, I'll be working with a group of outstanding people and for a great commander," Culy said. As simple as it may sound to prepare for a deployment of this delicacy, Culy knows what's ahead of her.

"I went to an orientation course at the port mortuary and felt like it would be a tough, yet worthwhile deployment," she said. "I'm not sure how much longer officer assignments will be available, but I plan on going as many times as they need me to, whether I have a good experience or not."