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Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner

The Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner is the center of medical-legal investigations for the organization, and is responsible for determining the cause and manner of death for all active duty members who die within federal jurisdiction, as well as for identifying the decedent.

Medical-Legal Investigations 

Working closely with investigative arms of each military branch; forensic investigation of crime scenes are conducted upon request. The organization also has memorandums of understanding/agreement to support a variety of additional federal agencies. Operational deployment can be accomplished worldwide in when necessary and without notice, depending on location. Board certified forensic pathologists, forensic anthropologists, medical-legal death investigators, photographers, and histotechnicians all support this key function.

Aerospace Pathology & Air Mishap Investigations

In addition, the organization is the acknowledged expert in the area of military aircraft mishaps. A team consisting of a forensic pathologist, forensic anthropologist, medicolegal death investigator, and photographer can deploy to the mishap site for recovery, identification, re-association and return of remains to the families of the deceased.

Medical Mortality Surveillance 

Personnel conduct mortality surveillance on all active duty U.S. service members and provide information to improve warfighter survivability. They also present and publish relevant findings related to service member mortality.

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AFRSSIR Supply Order Request

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2/12/2020

Fill out this request to place and order with the Armed Forces Repository of Specimen Sample for the Identification of Human Remains

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Folklore vampire possibly identified

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8/12/2019
Dr. Kristen E. Pearlstein, Collections Manager, National Museum of Health and Medicine displays remains of “JB-55” during a Science Café at the museum, Silver Spring, Maryland. “JB-55” remains were that of a suspected “vampire” in the mid-1800s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Robert M. Trujillo)

According to legend, residents of Jewett City, Connecticut, were being terrorized by recently deceased vampires

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Colony Glacier: Joint team unearths lost service members

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Recovery team members traverse Colony Glacier, Alaska, June 2019. The recovery team was searching for remains from a C-124 Globemaster II that crashed into Gannett Mountain, Alaska, on Nov. 22, 1952, while flying from McChord Air Force Base, Washington, to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska resulting in the loss of 52 service members. (Courtesy photo)

This is part one of a two-part series on the Colony Glacier recovery efforts

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Histology: Where art and science merge

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Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Tyler Wiedmeyer, Armed Forces Medical Examiner System histotechnichian, looks at slides of tissues under a microscope before handing them off to a medical examiner June 6, 2019. The stained tissues help medical examiners see down to the cellular level for a diagnosis of cause of death. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Without a histotechnician, tissue processing would take much longer to be completed

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Armed Forces Medical Examiner System Consultation Request Form

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5/22/2019

Medical information received is considered during the consultative process and is used to form a database for education and research in pathology.

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AFMES, DPAA shares missions with service members, families

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2/6/2019
Todd Livick, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Outreach and Communications director, speaks to U.S. Army Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape instructors about the DPAA mission at the U.S. Army S.E.R.E. school, Fort Rucker, Alabama. The DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System provided information on their respective missions and held question and answer session with the Soldiers to provide a better understanding about the two agencies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

They’re all here for the same reason; to bring their loved one home

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AFMES DoD DNA Operations Fact Sheet 2018

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This Fact Sheet describes the purpose of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System's Department of Defense DNA Operations

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AFMES DNA FAQs 2018

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This Fact Sheet describes the purpose of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System's Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory.

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AFMES Fact Sheet 2018

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This Fact Sheet describes the purpose of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System.

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DPAA accounts for 183 missing service members in fiscal year 2017

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The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency conducts a ceremony for POW/MIA Recognition Day at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii, Sept. 15, 2017. POW/MIA Recognition Day, first established in 1979 through a proclamation from President Jimmy Carter, is an observance to honor and recognize the sacrifices of those Americans who have been prisoners of war and to remind the Nation of those who are still missing in action. Today, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency is conducting worldwide operations to provide the fullest possible accounting for those classified as still missing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Bruch)

DPAA works closely with the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, part of the Research and Development Directorate of the Military Health System

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AFMES Form 25: Histology Request and Specimen Storage

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Use this form to obtain information/specimens needed for histology tissue processing and/or specimen storage.

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DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

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