Oct. 14, 2021
Green Fields of France: Mortuary Affairs in a Peer Conflict
Commanders must integrate realistic casualty expectations into their formations and institute plans that will minimize the impact of high-casualty conflicts on their ability to accomplish objectives. They can achieve this goal in three key ways. First, to lessen the blow of casualties sustained in a peer conflict, accurate casualty expectations must be part of formations’ training and organizational culture. Second, mortuary affairs cannot be a “hand wave” during training exercises; it must be exercised as a crucial function in maintaining a unit’s operational effectiveness in combat. Finally, planners must specify organic mortuary affairs capabilities within their organization that can be flexed to fulfill a need beyond what modern experience has demonstrated. Recent history has shown the implications of high-casualty events, and it is essential that American forces are prepared mentally and organizationally to win in the face of tragedy.