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Check Out The Story Behind This Rarely Seen Picture While Preparing For A Military Funeral


I was having coffee this morning and loaded up the old FB page and started through my news feed when I came across this picture and story from Debbie Quackenbush McElhinney (American Military Family) and I wanted to share it with you as well.

This is a picture the military has never let anyone see until now.  The picture was taken by Ashley Gilbertson and the story originally reported by James Dao of the New York Times.

This is behind the scenes at Dover Air Force Base where the bodies of fallen soldiers are prepared for burial.  The procedure includes being properly dressed, all the way down to the smallest detail. This picture shows Staff Sgt. Miguel Deynes making sure the uniform for an army pilot recently killed in Afghanistan is perfect in every detail.

The bodies are flown back to the U.S. where they are met by a team wearing white gloves who carry the coffins, covered with flags, to a white van that takes them to the Armed Forces Medical Examiner.

Their remains are washed, the hands are scrubbed clean, and the hair is shampooed. If necessary bones are wired together and damaged tissue is reconstructed with flesh-toned wax. Sometimes they will use photos, sometimes just intuition to recreate the wrinkles in faces, and the lines around the mouth or the corner of the eyes.

Once the body is ready then the uniform is prepared. That includes putting medals in the proper order on the ribbon rack above the jacket’s breast pocket. The dress uniform prepared, even for closed casket funerals, are perfectly tailored, starched and pressed and again every detail is gone over with a fine tooth comb.

These guys have the toughest job in the world and take precautions to not let their personal lives be affected.  In the height of war, they were receiving up to 20 bodies a day and that can’t be good for anyone’s soul. When you are the last one to dress a body, you make sure every attention to detail is not overlooked and that these Warriors and Patriots are laid to rest in the most honorable fashion.

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