This is a picture the military has never let anyone see until now.
This is a picture behind the scenes at Dover Air Force Base where the bodies of fallen soldiers are prepared for burial.
And that includes being properly dressed, all the way down to the smallest detail.
In this picture Staff Sgt. Miguel Deynes is making sure the uniform is just right for an army pilot recently killed in Afghanistan.
There is a very specific process once a fallen soldier is returned home.
The Fallen Heroes are flown back to the U.S. on a cargo jet.
A team of service members wearing white gloves carries the coffins, covered with flags, to a white van that takes them to the Armed Forces Medical Examiner.
The Heroes 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. “It has to look normal, like someone who is sleeping.” Once the Hero 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.
During the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan 10 to 20 Fallen a Heroes were arriving every day.
The embalmers often worked all night to get the Heroes home on time. That can take an emotional toll so the mortuary has a large gym so workers can blow off steam.
Many say they are haunted by how young the fallen soldiers are, and by how many of them leave behind small children.
That’s why Sgt. Deynes says they are advised not to do research into the backgrounds of the soldiers. “If I knew the story of every individual who went through here, I would probably be in a padded cell.” The dress uniform being prepared in this particular case will be in a closed casket.
Even so, it will be perfectly tailored, starched and pressed. Everything will be checked down to the last detail.
Sgt. Deynes says, “They’re (the family) not going to see it. I do it for myself. It’s more than an honor it’s a blessing to dress that soldier for the last time.”
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.
“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”
“Do not think of knocking out another person’s brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.”
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t being said. The art of reading between the lines is a lifelong quest of the wise.”
Shannon L. Alder
“When introverts are in conflict with each other…it may require a map in order to follow all the silences, nonverbal cues and passive-aggressive behaviors!”
Adam S. McHugh
Leaders Leading Leaders
DON’T BE AFRAID TO BREAK WITH TRADITION IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE PROGRESS.
LEADERS PUSH BOUNDARIES
People are trained to follow rules from the time they are kids:
Stand in line.
Do your homework.
Put your hand up to ask a question.
Most rules are good because they keep us from living in chaos. And most processes are governed by rules. You drop a brick from a second-story window, and you know it’s going to fall to the ground. You forget to place the order for office supplies, and you run out of staples. It’s simple cause and effect.
Managers often rely on rules to make sure the processes they oversee stay on track. In fact, self-management is basically having the discipline to follow through with the rules you set for yourself. But to move beyond management, you have to learn to think outside the box.
Leaders push boundaries. They desire to find a better way. They want to make improvements. They like to see progress. All these things mean making changes, retiring old rules, inventing new procedures. Leaders are constantly asking, “Why do we do it this way?” and saying, “Let’s try this.” Leaders want to take new territory, and that means crossing boundaries.