HEIDELBERG, Germany -- U.S. Army Europe helped standardize the mortuary affairs process across U.S. forces in Europe by hosting joint-service training at the Army depot in Miesau, Germany, August 29.

The training, attended by USAREUR Soldiers and their counterparts from U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe, focused on certifying mortuary affairs personnel on the Mortuary Affairs Reporting and Tracking System. MARTS is used to track deceased servicemembers' remains during transition to their final resting places, as well as to train mortuary affairs personnel.

"What made this training special was the fact that we were able to train with our counterparts in the Marine Corps," said Sgt. 1st Class Carlos Sanchez, senior mortuary affairs NCO for the USAREUR logistics directorate (G4). "This is an opportunity that breeds camaraderie amongst the different services and makes it easier during joint operations."

The course, which was a refresher for some and a new experience for others, gave participating Army and Marine mortuary affairs specialists a chance to get certified and proficient with the system and to enhance their deployment readiness, said Sanchez.

The training consisted of a slide presentation followed by two practical exercises that allowed participants to test their proficiency by creating scenarios in MARTS that replicated real-world events.

Sanchez said this kind of training is important to help mortuary affairs personnel to maintain the skills and professionalism needed for a sensitive but vital task.

"Oftentimes mortuary affairs is a topic we do not wish to discuss, but it is unfortunately a needed commodity that requires the utmost in professionalism and proficiency, to ensure we provide the most efficient means of returning our nation's fallen back to their loved ones," he said.