FORD ISLAND, Hawaii (Aug. 6, 2014) -- Mortuary Affairs units are typically not known for their mobility. However one unit in the U.S. Army Pacific received a unique piece of equipment increasing its capabilities allowing the unit travel further with forward deployed units in combat.
Soldiers with the 962th Quartermaster and Mortuary Affairs Company provided support during a humanitarian aid and disaster relief training exercise in support of the Rim of the Pacific exercise running from June 26 to Aug. 1.
RIMPAC is the world's largest international maritime exercise taking place every two years. The 962nd Quartermaster is the only mortuary affairs unit in the Pacific region with platoons stationed in Guam and American Samoa.
During the HADR training, Soldiers setup and displayed the Mobile Integrated Remains Collection System, showing its interoperability, mobile diversity, decreased setup time and faster processing time.
"Having the Mobile Integrated Remains Collection Systems is pretty much a game changer in what we do. Before, we had to find a refrigerated trailer to collect the remains, as well as, a place for all the logistics that went along with the job. Now, it all comes together--we can do our in-processing and collections all at once," said Spc. Jesennia Geddes, a Brownsville, Texas native and mortuary affairs technician with 962nd Quartermaster Company, 9th MSC, USARPAC.
The MIRCS reduces the processing time of Soldiers' remains from two weeks to less than one week and back on US soil, said Geddes.
"The system can carry 16 remains in either the road-transport mode or fully deployed mode. The remains that we process are treated with the most dignity and reverence, so it is always our goal to get them back on US soil as fast as possible," said Sgt. Benton Haynes, a Honolulu native, a mortuary affairs technician, 962nd Quartermaster Company.
The MIRCS allows the mortuary affairs unit to travel with ground units through most terrains. While the system is able to operate in different configurations, it still remains operational in a tow-configuration ready for transport and conducting missions on the go.
"It's a fully self-contained system and it can be shipped by rail, air or vessel. Once the truck hits the ground, it takes about an hour for the MIRCS to be fully operational. It greatly increases the USARPAC mission. It is a very versatile system and easy to use.
Although the MIRCS is not a new system to the Army, it's new to the unit. The new equipment enhances its mission capabilities expanding the unit's ability to take care of Soldiers.