Convey the following points to the family member:
l It is ok to say no. The family member is not
required to grant a news media interview request.
When an interview request is granted, the right
to privacy is relinquished and the individual may
be harassed by other reporters or the general
l Be mindful of the situation. Care must be taken
if the family member decides to talk to a reporter.
Topics, such as personal experiences (emotions,
reactions, etc.), are permissible, but internal
privileged command information (such as the
ships scheduled port visits), command policy,
hypothetical situations or speculation on the
cause of the accident or incident must be avoided.
The individual must avoid repeating stories or
rumors and refrain from offering an opinion on
how something could have been done differently.
. Do not reveal the surname. Tell the family
member that he or she may grant the interview
only if the reporter agrees to omit the surname.
This can prevent crank calls and maintain family
. The family members safety and security
comes first. The individual does not owe the
news media any details about his or her life.
THE MEMORIAL SERVICE
Learning Objective: Recognize the planning aspects
with regard to a memorial service.
A memorial service involves military participation
but not full military honors. It is generally held for
deceased members whose remains are not recoverable.
However, when a command suffers a tragedy and the
remains are recoverable, it may elect to conduct a
memorial service so family, shipmates and friends can
pay their respects. This is primarily done to preserve the
privacy of the funeral. The memorial service can be as
modest as a gathering on a destroyers fantail or occupy
a large aircraft hangar at a naval air station.
For example, a main space fire claimed the lives of
six sailors aboard the USS White Plains (AFS 4) several
years ago while the ship was conducting operations in
the South China Sea. A memorial service was held at
Naval Air Station Alameda to coincide with the arrival
of the members remains in the United States (the ship
was home ported in Guam at the time of the fire). To
accommodate the many family, friends and service
members attending, the ceremony was held inside an
aircraft hangar specially converted for the occasion.
Every good plan must be committed to paper, and
the memorial service plan is no exception. Following
one or two meetings with the organizers and participants
of the service, the finished plan should detail the
responsibilities of those involved and include the
schedule of events and a diagram of the area. For
maximum effectiveness, the plan should be distributed
commandwide as a notice.
Responsibilities of those involved might look
something like the following:
Officer-in-charge: The overall coordinator for
the memorial service plan and the schedule of
events. This individual is usually a senior officer
in the command, but the CO may designate the
PAO to be the officer-in-charge, regardless of
rank. Ensures color guard, honor guard, escorts
and pall bearers (if applicable) are properly
briefed, trained and inspected before the
ceremony. Arranges separate waiting/assembly
areas for military officials and family members;
provides podium, public address system and
chairs; ensures medical personnel are on standby
at the ceremony; briefs security personnel on the
time, date and location of the ceremony and
requests free entry for personnel attending.
Provides details for the
memorial service schedule; coordinates the
preparation and distribution of programs with the
PAO; assigns one chaplain to each family (in the
event of more than one death); meets and escorts
family members to the waiting area and
PAO or Senior Journalist: Provides media
advisory and naval message announcing the
ceremony; produces the media coverage plan
(similar to the one described in the PAO/CACO
Relationship section); provides press assistance
to families as required; briefs courtesy CACOs;
produces the press release and disseminates it to
the media; arranges video recordings and still
photos of the ceremony; coordinates musical
selections with the Navy Band (if applicable);
prepares the ceremony program and ensures the