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Armed Forces Medical Examiner System

The Armed Forces Medical Examiner System is committed to being the Department of Defense’s leader in providing medicolegal services and emerging technologies essential for the readiness, sustainability and survivability of our service members. AFMES provides the DOD and other federal agencies comprehensive forensic investigative services, to include forensic pathology, DNA Forensics, forensic toxicology, and medical mortality surveillance. AFMES is not only the single worldwide medical examiner system, but we also support the entire U.S. federal government.

Official seal of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner SystemMission 

Investigate deaths, Identify the fallen, Improve readiness


Be the global leader in comprehensive and innovative medicolegal services enhancing the readiness, sustainability, and survivability of those we serve.

Updates from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System:

Policy Changes and Potential Impacts to Those We Serve

The DOD takes seriously its responsibility to fulfill the nation's sacred commitment of ensuring dignity, honor, and respect to those in our care while providing support to their families.

We recently completed an extensive review of our policies and records to improve our processes and to enhance the critical expertise we bring to investigate deaths, identify the fallen, and improve the readiness and survivability of Service members. In September 2022, we updated our policy on notification about autopsy specimens retained for further forensic investigation to align with standards for medical examination processes supported by its accrediting organization, the National Association of Medical Examiners, including with regard to the retention and disposition of autopsy specimens. The new policy does not require notification to the person authorized to direct disposition (usually the Next of Kin) when specimens are retained during autopsy. The final disposition of any specimens retained prior to September 2022 will follow the wishes of the person authorized to direct disposition or the next of kin to the greatest extent possible.

If you feel this policy change may have impacted your loved one's case, and you are the designated person authorized to direct disposition or next of kin, please contact with your contact information and the name of the deceased. We will confirm whether your case was impacted and, if so, offer disposition options as applicable. We will also offer coordination with appropriate resources and support for those in need.

AFMES Fact Sheets

Armed Forces Medical Examiner System Fact Sheet12/16/2022
Department of Defense DNA Operations4/5/2023

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Article Around MHS
May 1, 2024

The Unseen Heroes: Inside the Role of a Mortuary Affairs Specialist at Armed Forces Medical Examiner System

Their job involves providing care for the fallen with dignity and respect, handling everything from autopsies to verifying remains. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra Minor)

Tucked away behind the walls of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System are the unsung heroes known as Mortuary Affairs Specialists (92M). These individuals undertake one of the most demanding, yet rewarding, roles in the U.S. Army. They handle the responsibility of caring for the fallen with dignity, reverence, and respect.

Last Updated: July 08, 2024
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