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Page Title: Naval Disasters
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NAVAL  DISASTERS 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 plans. 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 HOSTILE ACTS 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 663). 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 PROGRAM 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 week’s  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. 4-7

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