Corps representative, as appropriate.
notification of the PNOK will normally be made
between 0600 and 2200, except under unusual
circumstances (e.g., the new media is expected to make
a press release; or the member has been hospitalized in
serious or very serious condition within CONUS, and
the NOK is already aware of the prognosis).
When a death occurs within CONUS, it is the
responsibility of the members commanding officer to
make sure that personal notification is made. Outside
CONUS, the COMNAVMILPERSCOM will make
sure that personal notification is made through the
appropriate senior commander overseas.
CONFIRMATION OF THE CASUALTY
Notifications that are not made by telegram should
be confirmed by a telegram, unless the PNOK or
SNOK has specifically stated that written confir-
mation is not desired.
This follow-up notification
should take place within 24 hours of the personal
See MILPERSMAN 4210100 for examples of
basic telegram formats for notification and
confirmation of death. The formats are presented for
guidance only, and rigid adherence is not required.
Commanding officers are required to write a letter
to the appropriate NOK within 48 hours of a casualty.
The letter, in addition to expressions of condolence,
should contain appropriate details of the casualty;
however, no details should be included that are likely
to distress the NOK. A copy of the letter is sent to the
COMNAVMILPERSCOM and Office of the Judge
Advocate General (OJAG)Investigations Division.
Example formats for condolence letters can be found
in the Decedent Affairs Manual.
under what circumstances an autopsy should
An autopsy will be performed on the remains of all
persons who die on active duty or active duty for
training when the commanding officer (CO) deems it
necessary. The COs request may be self-initiated or
based upon the recommendation of an investigating
officer, other fact-finding body, or a medical officer.
An autopsy may be necessary to determine the true
cause of death, to get information for completing
military records, or to protect the welfare of the
The M a n u a l o f t h e M e d i c a l D e p a r t m e n t
(MANMED), NAVMED P-117, states that when an
aircrew member dies while serving as an aircrew
member on a military aircraft, the medical officer will
recommend to the CO that an autopsy be performed to
determine the cause of death. The cause of death in
these cases is interpreted to mean any correlation
between pathological evidence and the accident cause
REQUESTING PERMISSION FOR
When an autopsy is desired but not mandatory, the
following sentence will be incorporated in the casualty
notification message that requests disposition
instructions from the PNOK:
In the interest of medical science and to confirm
medical diagnosis, it is requested that your telegram
include whether or not permission is granted to
accomplish mortem examination.
NONMILITARY AND RETIRED
When an autopsy is deemed necessary for retired
personnel or nonmilitary persons who die at a naval
treatment facility or on a Navy installation, written
authorization from the NOK must be obtained before
performing the autopsy. The request for permission to
perform an autopsy should be incorporated in the
casualty notification message, as noted above.
SEARCH, RECOVERY, AND
L E A R N I N G O B J E C T I V E :
R e c a l l
procedures used to search for, recover, and
The search for, recovery, and identification of
remains should be accomplished as soon as possible