By Mark Morton
Europe/Africa Casualty Assistance Center
The Europe/Africa Casualty Assistance Center hosted a casualty managers workshop here April 10-11 to address overseas issues and highlight ways to enhance existing operations.
Drawing from a wealth of experienced experts stationed in Italy, the Netherlands and Germany, the workshop overall focused on improving the Army in Europe’s Casualty Managers Program.
Joining casualty managers for this inaugural event were Survivor Outreach Services staff members, which showed how “SOS fits or interfaces with casualty assistance,” said Kristin James, of U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz.
According to one attendee, from day one it was apparent that the CAC, casualty managers and SOS “are a close-knit family; many of us know one another.”
The workshop also showed the entire picture of what occurs when a service member, family member, retiree, civilian or contractor is injured, becomes ill or passes away. Plus it touched on many issues facing casualty managers here as compared to those stateside.
The two-day event covered a wide range of important topics, including:
*in-house casualty database, Defense Casualty Information Processing System;
*casualty assistance officer reports;
*and resiliency training conducted by the IMCOM-Europe Religions Services staff.
A favorite workshop segment was an open discussion by Tawana Smith-Barriffe, USAG Bavaria casualty manager, and Daniel Washington, Baumholder Military Community casualty manager, on handling issues in their areas.
Casualty assistance personnel from the CAC in Sembach also presented a more focused set of training geared toward meeting mission requirements — supporting the troops and their families during stressful and sometimes tragic times — correctly.
“We have only one chance to do things right,” said Al Royal, chief of the CAC. “There were two very important takeaways from this working group: we must work together for our families in need; when in doubt, call the CAC. While our mission may slow down at times, it never goes away and is among the most important jobs that the Army does.”
At the end, everyone had a better understanding of expectations, recognizing that no one is in this business alone.
“I believe that bringing everyone together makes us stronger,” said casualty assistance tech Andrew Strouse.
“The workshop was very successful due to the knowledge shared by all,” said Royal. “We are on the path of having one uniformed level of service and response in regards to casualty operations throughout Europe.”
The workshop also introduced the newest casualty managers in Europe: Augustus Norvell, USAG Stuttgart; Ryan Stewart, USAG Bavaria-Garmisch; Raul Martinez, USAG Bavaria-Hohenfels; Marcus Ufeanyui, USAG Ansbach; and Zane Frost, USAG Bavaria.