By Capt. Benjamin J. Borys, Maneuver Support and Sustainment Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command
FORT LEE, Virginia – The only Army active duty mortuary affairs units are taking part in operational testing of the new Contaminated Human Remains Transfer – Case here.
CHRT is a triple-layered, leak-proof packaging system for the storage and transport of contaminated human remains for final internment.
Soldiers from both the 111th and 54th Quartermaster Companies (Mortuary Affairs) employed multiple CHRT-C systems under the observation of the West Fort Hood (Now designated Fort Cavazos), Texas-based U.S. Army Operational Test Command.
The teams conducted various missions preparing simulated contaminated human remains for safe air transport from overseas to the U.S.
The Joint Mortuary Affairs Center conducted New Equipment Training of the CHRT-C with the Soldiers from the two Quartermaster companies September 10 and 11.
The Soldiers were taught how to operate the various components to include the Molten Bead Extrusion Applicator, which is used to the seal the inner layer.
Throughout the training, the JMAC instructor emphasized the Mortuary Affairs Creed of “Dignity, Reverence, Respect.”
“Any time you are dealing with casualties, it is a delicate subject,” said Sgt. 1st Class James Colling, CHRT-C Test NCOIC with USAOTC’s Maneuver Support and Sustainment Test Directorate.
“Regardless of the operating environment, this system will allow everyone to return home,” he said.
One Soldier said participating in the test highlighted her skills as a mortuary affairs specialist.
“I think they’re doing a really good job in helping us understand this new technology, while remembering reverence, dignity and respect for the dead,” said Spc. Sophie Celeski, of the 111th QM Company.
After the pilot test, the 111th’s platoon leader said he appreciated the opportunity for him and his Soldiers to offer their feedback.
“It feels good that we have an opportunity to give our opinions and feedback on the system,” said 2nd Lt. Carlos Lopezmelendez.
“I think it’s great that we’re using the actual personnel who would be using this equipment.”