Thursday, August 7, 2008

Soldier Profile: Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Corbett

By Spc. George Welcome
101st Combat Aviation Brigade

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Duty, Respect and Honor. They are the second, third and fifth tenants of the Army values respectively. Most Soldiers display these core values daily while performing their duties, often times without realizing they are doing so. However, there are some specialties which require Soldiers to be completely conscious of these values in order to do their jobs.

Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Corbett; ID: 107394; Date Taken: August 7th, 2008; Location: BAGRAM AIRFIELD, AF; Photographer: Spc. George Welcome, 101st Combat Avation Brigade Public AffairsA Soldier with such a job is Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Corbett, of HSC, 96th Aviation Support Battalion. Corbett, a native of Winnabow, North Carolina, serves as the brigade’s mortuary affairs non-commissioned officer. His job is to prepare and care for the remains of fallen service members and contractors and return them to their families.

“My first four years in the Army I was in a couple of MOS’ that were phased out,” Corbett said. “I decided that I didn’t want to go through that again. I picked up a copy of Soldiers magazine and I read an article about [mortuary affairs] guys going to Vietnam looking for missing Soldiers from that war. I decided that was what I wanted to do.”

Becoming a mortuary affairs specialist isn’t for every Soldier. The job is intense and requires a great deal of mental fortitude.

“The training was really decent,” he said. “You have to have a good mindset because you go to the medical examiner’s office in Richmond, Va. On day two of training they subject you to human remains. If you come back from that trip and decide you can’t handle it, you get re-classed into a different MOS. We usually lose a couple of people per cycle, but those who do stay in our field, stay for the long haul, very few people ETS. It’s a very self satisfying job, because when you ship a Soldier home, you know you’ve done your best to send them home with all honors. It gets you in the heart to know you’ve done your best for a Soldier who has given his all for his country.”

For fallen service members who are processed at Bagram Airfield, the mortuary affairs team follows a certain set of procedures to ensure handling of the remains.

“We inventory everything the Soldier had on them, and we process them and prepare them for transport,” explained Corbett. “They go from here to the port mortuary in Dover, Delaware.

Generally, we have 48 hours from the time we get them here in Bagram to have them [prepared before they arrived] in Delaware.”

An aspect of his job that Corbett enjoys is the fact that there isn’t a set daily routine. When he’s not working, he has hobbies that help him relax.

“When I am not working I like to read and play video games. Basically anything to relax my mind. I really don’t like to watch horror films and I can’t watch military films because I always find things wrong with the uniforms. I also enjoy talking to my wife. She is a great stress reliever for me.

One of the highlights of his career has been a mission in which he, along with other mortuary affairs specialists recovered the remains of a service member

“I was with the Central I.D. lab in Hawaii, and for four years I was TDY every other month,” he said. “I went to Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, China, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, and Australia looking for guys missing from our past wars. That was a lot of away time, but it was the absolute most rewarding four years of my career. The best part was when we recovered a Marine from Cambodia who had been killed in the Khmer Rouge incident in 1975. After we sent him home, someone I knew gave his [the recovered Marine’s] mother my e-mail address and she wrote me the most beautiful three-page e-mail.

In mortuary affairs we have saying, “We don’t work for our units, we work for the families of the fallen.”

Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Corbett
ID: 107394
Date Taken: August 7th, 2008
Location: BAGRAM AIRFIELD, AF
Photographer: Spc. George Welcome, 101st Combat Avation Brigade Public Affairs
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Source: DVIDS News.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!
May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

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