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117th Fatality Search & Recovery Team Awarded

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  • By Senior Airman Wesley Jones
  • 117th Air Refueling Wing, Public Affairs

Four Airmen from the 117th Force Support Squadron earned the Army Accommodation Medal here on February 24.

The Fatality Search and Recovery Team played a critical role in taking care of the deceased following the aftermath of Hurricane Michael which destroyed parts of the Gulf Coast in October of 2018.

The team’s primary job is to respectfully collect the deceased in a timely manner following a large scale disaster.

Brig. Gen. Jeff Newton, Director of the Joint Staff for the Alabama National Guard, traveled to Sumpter Smith Air National Guard base to award the individuals for their efforts in the team’s first real-world deployment since its formation.

“This was the first time this team has ever been called forward in a real-world situation,” said Newton.  “They exercise all of the time and train for these types of scenarios, but it can be an extremely difficult situation when it comes to the real thing.”

The state of Florida called on the 117th under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. The agreement is shared by all 50 states and was created by Congress to help each state recover from any sort of national disaster.