Casualty Notification Procedures During Deployments
The casualty notification procedures change depending on whether the Marine is deceased, or if they are wounded/injured/ill.
In the case of a death or serious injury, the Primary Next of Kin (PNOK) will be notified, by a uniformed service member, within 24 hours of the accident. These service members are called Casualty Assistance Calls Officers (CACO). Notification will only be made between the hours of 0500 and 0000 (5am - midnight). The service member will be wearing his Service Alpha Uniform.
Marine Corps photo. Jan. 13, 2009.
If the Marine is married the PNOK defaults to the spouse. Secondary Next of Kin (SNOK) are any relatives, family members, friends, etc. listed on the Marine's Record of Emergency Data (RED). The Primary and all Secondary NOK will receive simultaneous notification within 24 hours of the casualty. CACO's will never call or leave messages prior to notification. If a family member is not home at time of notification, they will utilize other resources. For example, the spouse may be visiting family, or be at work. In these cases, notification may be made in an alternate location. If the CACO is unable to locate the spouse in sufficient time (within 24 hours), notification will still be made to the SNOK.
If a Marine is wounded, injured or ill, notification to the NOK will be conducted telephonically by Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC). Updates to the NOK regarding the Marine's condition and location, as well as coordination with the Casualty Section at HQMC for the execution of travel to the bedside will be provided. For cases involving very seriously injured/ill Marines, notification will still be made telephonically but a CACO may be assigned to the NOK upon request of the parent command (or if directed by HQMC). When the NOK resides in close proximity to the unit, the CACO is normally drawn from qualified personnel within the parent command.
Written by David Ogden, Sgt. USMC '11-'16.
David was a Sergeant with the United States Marine Corps from 2011-2016. He is a combat veteran. He has worked at Marine Parents as a writer since he left the Marine Corps. He is currently in college and writes for the organization full-time. Click here to read more about the author.