42nd MPF support following death|
1/16/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- My father, a USAF retiree, died very recently and as part of the checklist of actions that I had to complete I visited the 42nd Air Base Wing's MPF office to officially report that fact.
After signing in electronically at the MPF for personnel assistance (as there is no option given related to death of a retired service member), I waited one hour, twenty minutes, to then spend no more than five minutes with a technician to record that fact, and to cut corners on my father's I.D. card so that it could not be used fraudulently. The technician I dealt with was appropriately sympathetic, as was her supervisor, but when I asked where any special consideration was given when reporting the death of a retiree so that family members did not have to wait in the general line with individuals seeking every type of assistance, she told me that unfortunately there was no relevant policy.
She also informed me that even if I had called the Casualty Assistance Office (I gather there is one at Maxwell AFB?), they would have directed me to the MPF in any case.
My concern with this policy, or lack of policy, is that it felt like just another slap in the face in the wake of my father's death, and in light of the many actions that I need to accomplish. At a minimum, I would urge the MPF to add an option to their online registration system that indicates "death of a retiree" so that family members checking in would receive immediate, or at least priority, assistance. Another recommendation would be for the MPF to post a sign in the facility asking family members reporting the death of a retiree to report to the front desk for immediate assistance. Or family members could be directed to some other appropriate office where they could receive immediate attention.
As most of us realize, losing a family member is a traumatic experience at best, yet in the aftermath family members still have to notify many institutions and organizations. The Air Force, and the 42nd Air Base Wing, could make this experience just that little bit easier by treating the family member with more consideration and respect--in other words, as a valuable member of the Air Force family.
Thank you for your consideration of my concerns.
RESPONSE: First of all, I am sorry for the loss of your father and I am grateful that he served our nation as an Airmen in the United States Air Force. I apologize for the delay in service that you received at the Military Personnel Office. Your feedback identified a gap in our customer service processes that we will now fix. In most cases the process for reporting a retiree death begins when a surviving family member visits our Casualty Assistance Representative (CAR) at the Airman and Family Readiness Center. After a member meets with the CAR, the Airmen and Family Readiness team schedules an appointment for the member at the Military Personnel Office. Unfortunately, in this case, the Airmen and Family Readiness Center was not aware of your situation so they could not schedule your appointment.
As you suggested, we have updated our MPS sign-in procedures to include a category that allows customers to identify their visit is in reference to the death of a retiree or other urgent matters not listed on the sign-in form.
Again, I apologize for your experience and thank you for your feedback.