FORT KNOX, Kentucky (March 24, 2016) -- More than 50 Casualty Assistance Center chiefs and casualty community stakeholders from installations across the United States and several overseas wrapped up three days of training and discussion at U.S. Army Human Resources Command headquarters here today.The second consecutive annual gathering of its kind saw presentations on the entire range of casualty and survivor support issues delivered by the staff of HRC's Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operations Center, or CMAOC. The training included case studies and open discussion of best practices with the CAC chiefs.Participants were greeted at the opening session March 22 by HRC Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Thomas C. Seamands, and The Adjutant General of the U.S. Army, Brig. Gen. James T. Iacocca."It takes a special person to do what you do, what the team does. And the fact of the matter is, I think the way we've gotten through the last 14 years of combat is because of you, the fact that you do what you do. You have the care, the compassion, the empathy to get it right," said Seamands, citing the almost 7,000 casualties the Army has sustained since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."I think everything the Adjutant General's directorate does is important, but if I had to pick the most important thing that we do, it is casualties," said Iacocca. "And you are all the first line in that across the Army. It's the number one thing we do and you only get … one shot on the worst day in somebody's life to get it right."Bringing the CAC directors together to review procedures and case studies as a group is a highly efficient way to ensure mutual understanding and consistent operations across the Army, said CMAOC director, Col. John Cooper."I called my IMCOM counterpart (Ken Echols, Installation Management Command's Military Personnel Division chief) and we were talking about some of the issues we were having. We found that some CACs would have some issues, and we'd go to another CAC and they would have very similar issues. And yet, there was no common solution between the two. You would have to individually address each CAC," he said.So, one aim of the training is "to bring everybody together … and for us to present all the topics and all the issues for one body and get that immediate feedback from that body. We can implement immediate changes if we really need to, or figure out a plan by which we wanted to implement some of these changes and solutions," said Cooper.Training reviewed everything from executing mortuary service contracts and the 120-day REFRAD (release from active duty) process, to notification and surviving family member care procedures. Other issues of intense interest were Reserve Component support, Chaplain support, family travel support, personal effects, and Casualty Assistance Officer support to families."We present law, we present changes in policies and regulations," said Cooper."I think the networking aspects of it are definitely right up there on top," said Echols. "Plus you get to hear from the experts at CMAOC. You get to meet these guys and gals face to face and talk about some of the challenges, what are the CMAOC priorities. … I think it's very important that we come here. That's why we haven't had it at another venue, because all the experts reside here in HRC.""It's all been great," said Amy Camp, who works in operations at Fort Polk, Louisiana. "There are a lot of tools to go back with.""It helps increase our level of understanding of the challenges the CACs have to deal with in taking care of family members," said Lt. Col. Kim Chaney, commander of the Joint Personal Effects Depot at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, who also addressed the chiefs. JPED is the port of arrival for overseas combat casualties."JPED works constantly with the CACs. They can help us too with family travel paperwork and the FAQs from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner," he said."There is one other concern for me, and that is the mental health of our CAC personnel because of what they deal with every day," said Echols.It is critical to monitor individual well-being and make sure counseling is available when necessary "because it is very stressful," he said.The training wrapped up with many issues reviewed, new CAC directors introduced to the community, and a list of items that the team as a whole will focus on going forward. All in all, an unqualified success, said Cooper."What you find, in my opinion, is the compassion and the sincerity that each CAC chief has for each of their jobs. It just gives you a sense of comfort to know that our family members are in really good hands. These people care. It's not just a job," he said.