A naval disaster or accident is defined as a loss of
life or injury to more than 15 persons at a specified
location, such as the confines of a ship, aircraft, or the
geographical limits of a single shore-based activity. The
first and most immediate problem in a major disaster is
the saving of lives, evacuation of casualties, damage
control, and the safety of the ship or installation.
When information becomes available to the news
media before the next of kin of all personnel casualties
have been notified, many families are distressed and
contact CHNAVPERS for information concerning
members believed to be involved in the disaster. If
personnel of more than one service (or civilians serving
with or attached to Navy commands) are casualties, a
Joint Service Casualty Alert Message is required as
specified in the MILPERSMAN, Article 4210100.
However, when only Navy personnel are involved in the
incident, CHNAVPERS may notify the next of kin
before they learn of the disaster unofficially.
All commanders will send a message report of the
highest precedence consistent with operational demands
to CNO with information copies to CHNAVPERS and
JAG listing the rank/rate, name, branch of service, social
security number, and status of all personnel who are
dead, missing, DUSTWUN, or injured. If an individual
is injured, indicate whether it is a very serious/serious
or minor injury and any immediate medical evacuation
Commanders must also send individual personnel
casualty reports as soon as possible via immediate
precedence. In addition, they must send an immediate
message as soon as possible providing a list of
individuals who are uninjured and accounted for. If
records are believed to be lost or destroyed, so state.
CHNAVPERS maintains an emergency coordination
center that will be activated when a major naval disaster
or accident occurs.
CASES OF CASUALTIES CAUSED BY
When war or hostile action by an organized force
results in personnel casualties, notification of the next
of kin will be made as directed by higher authority.
During hostilities, or in international or other
applicable incidents, records of personnel missing in
action will be controlled as For Official Use Only until
the member is determined to be dead or returned.
Significant details, including biographical data, will not
be publicly disclosed. Service records and flight
logbooks (if applicable) of members continued in a
missing status will be sent to CHNAVPERS (PERS
RELEASE OF NAMES OF CASUALTIES
Public release of names and addresses of military
personnel who become casualties should be withheld
until notification of next of kin as stated in the
MILPERSMAN, Article 4210200. Every effort should
be made to release such names and duty stations
(addresses) simultaneously with, or as soon as possible
after, the release of news of the incident that caused the
casualties, thereby lessening the anxiety of relatives of
other members who might be involved.
Release the rank/rate, name, and date of birth on
those casualties listed as MIA, captured, detained,
interned, or beleaguered and besieged. During
hostilities, and so long as members remain in these
categories, the names will be released only by the
Department of Defense.
CASUALTY ASSISTANCE CALLS
The CACP requires that a uniformed Navy
representative (an officer with a minimum of 2 years
active duty or a senior enlisted member E-7 through E-9)
be designated to assist the PNOK and the SNOK of a
deceased member, a member who is reported as
DUSTWUN or becomes missing while on active duty,
or annual training, or inactive duty training about rights,
benefits, and privileges.
Standby casualty assistance calls officers (CACOs)
are assigned in all active duty cases when the member
is placed on the very seriously, seriously ill or injured
list or is in imminent danger of loss of life or is
hospitalized overseas away from the NOK. The standby
CACO is assigned in the same manner as a CACO for
deceased or missing members except that the standby
CACO will be assigned through the responsible
CAC/FHS program coordinator at the direction of
CHNAVPERS (PERS 663). The standby CACO should
not contact the next of kin unless directed by
CHNAVPERS or the appropriate CAC/FHS program
coordinator. Standby CACO duty is no longer than 1
weeks duration. Additional information on the duties
and responsibilities of a person assigned as a CACO or
a standby CACO is provided in the MILPERSMAN,
Article 4210160, and BUPERSINST 1770.3.