WASHINGTON -- Two recent sad cases highlight the need for service members to designate who should receive their remains if they are killed in action.
DoD has changed the Record of Emergency Data Form - the DD From 93 - to require service members to designate exactly who should be declared the "person authorized to direct disposition" of remains.
The change grew out of the cases of a soldier and a Marine killed in Iraq earlier this year. In both cases, the men - both unmarried - had not designated a person authorized to direct disposition, and their parents were divorced. "The tragedy of loss in the two cases was compounded for the surviving parents because neither one was granted sole custody of the service member when they were divorced," said John M. Molino, the deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy.
Molino made the statement in letters to California Representative Sam Farr and Nevada Rep. Shelley Berkley.
The services went with long-standing rules. In these cases, the older parent received the remains. In the soldier's case, burial waited weeks until a court ruled on the situation. The Marine's case is still being argued.
Service members could always volunteer the information on persons authorized to direct disposition of remains. The change will make that information mandatory.