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Notifications During Army Deployments

*This article discusses what happens if your soldier is KIA. It is not an easy subject to write about or read. You have been warned.*

Before your soldier deployed, he completed paperwork that listed who he wanted to be notified if he was injured or killed during deployment.

This also often includes directions on how to get to that home and who he wants to be there with the family member during notification. This may also be done at the pre-deployment briefing.

If Your Soldier is Injured

They will often do everything possible to let your soldier notify you of his injury via a phone call. If for some reason, he cannot make this notification himself, someone from the unit will call you.

If the injury is very serious, it is possible they will send someone to tell you in person. Check with your unit to find out the protocol for notification of injuries.

If your soldier has to leave his current location for medical treatment, he will most likely be transported to Germany. Whether or not you can go depends on the seriousness of the injury and how long he will be in Germany.

Some will get the treatment they need and return to their unit. Others may receive treatment and return to the states.

If they expect he will be transported to the states, the Army will generally not arrange travel for the family.

If he will be in Germany for an extended period, his unit may work with you to secure travel arrangements to see him. Again, this is on a case-by-case basis.

If Your Soldier is Killed in Action

Notification of your soldier’s death will ALWAYS be made in person. These types of notifications will not be made over the telephone.

They typically also will cut off communication from overseas until the notification can be made to ensure the family does not find out through other means.

Typically, someone from the unit, along with a CAO (Casualty Assistance Officer), will go to the home of the primary and secondary next of kin to make the notification.

They do not notify anyone in the middle of the night.

When they arrive, they will be in uniform. Suppose you or your soldier has indicated that you want specific people to be there for the notification. In that case, those people may also be there though they will generally not be at the door for the notification.

CAOs are trained to deal with a wide variety of situations. As you can imagine, people will react differently when receiving this news.

The CAO is assigned to your family and will be available for you for months after your soldier’s death. They will physically be there with you to assist in funeral arrangements, transportation to Dover if you want to be there when the casket arrives, etc.

They will also explain all benefits and what you can expect from the process. The CAO is basically a personal information officer during this time with answers to all questions.

I pray that you will never need this information. The most important thing to take from this article is that death notifications are ALWAYS made in person.

No one will ever call you with that news.

In 99.99% of the cases, you will be notified before anyone else in the area (including the media) is made aware of what happened.

If you have additional questions about notifications, check with your family readiness group (FRG).

author avatar
Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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63 Comments

  1. my boyfriend just told me he reenlisted in the army. He has been home for two years and was injuryed on his last deployment. He told me in April that after he turned in his uniform he was done. my question is is it that easy to reenlist? we went through a rough patch this summer and he reenlisted in august he leaves Oct 15th and i’m lost scared and confused. i thought they had a time fram of when they could reenlist?

  2. My fiance just left for Afghanistan a few days ago. I havent talked to him in two days and I am a wreck – not to mention I am surrounded by people who say that its a sex fesr over there. I am nervous because I kep hearing about soldiers coming home and bringing back STD’s to their wives and because I have an amazing relationship and I don’t want it to change because of his surroundings. It is not so much him I am worried about, but the female soldiers who I have had the pleasure of meeting and they sleep with other men the unit.

  3. Who is this patricia mcclurgh?I was told she collects moneys for the soldier you have sent it to?I know of someone claiming to be in the army who says you have to pay for leave during deployment?

    1. Don’t ever give money to people claiming to be soldiers. I am and I just came back from over seas and you never have to pay to use the phone and any forms that need to be filled out ( what so ever) are free to soldiers. So if they ask for money then it’s a scam. Now they’re not supposed to tell you where they are or what there doing but they can give you there contacts for rear detachment and you could call them to make sure that person is real and over seas and tell them what there asking for and they can tell you if it’s a scam or whatever.

  4. I pray i never receive or ever need this information…..my husband is going for deployment in sudan, im quite shaken hence my reading this article…

  5. Hi my husband is deployed in Afghanistan. I haven’t heard from him in 2 days. I seen the news that 8 soldiers been killed. I guess that’s why I haven’t heard from him. I’m super worried right now. I know the soldiers thats been killed their families will be inform first. But how long does it usually take to have that done then get the communication back on? I just want to hear my husband’s voice. I’m anxious. I can’t think straight or anything. I’m just worried sick. I’m trying to be positive.

    1. I’m so sorry. I remember those days so well. Do yourself a favor and stay away from the news as much as you can. It will only cause you additional stress. The blackout will sometimes remain in place until all families have been notified. It’s just to prevent the news from making it to the family from an unofficial channel. HUGS!

  6. My boyfriend is in kabul, Afhanistan. We talk through Facebook or by telephone every day, for hours. I haven’t heard from him in 2 days which isn’t like him. I’m worrying and trying to stay positive. There was only 1 day when we disnt talk before when the i get et was down a couple months ago. I’m hoping the Internet is down again but can’t help panick since there have been attacks recently in Afghanistan. I’m in touch with his mom but don’t want to worry her. Please help

    1. The best thing you can do is be patient and remember that no news is good news. It’s common after things happen to have a blackout where communication is not allowed. Don’t allow yourself to think the worst. Stay positive and hopefully you’ll get that call/email soon from him.

  7. What is a typical amount of time before notification. My son is stationed near Kandahar and we know on Monday three soldiers were killed in a convoy in the same vicinity. Normally either we hear from him or he posts on Facebook almost every day. But we have not heard from him since Monday. I cannot help but be worried.

    1. It’s common for there to be blackouts after KIAs where all communication is cut. Notifications are made as soon as the next of kin can be located. The ones I know of personally were notified in less than 24 hours.

  8. Stacey,
    I am moving back home while my husband is deployed and we live in a tiny town, our house can’t be found by GPS. Will a CAO still be able to contact me if the worst was to happen? If not, what will I need to do to ensure being able to be found?

    1. Each time my husband deployed, I had to fill out a packet of information which included written directions and a hand drawn map to my house (no joke!) as well as who I would want to have there with me, etc. I have no idea if it was just his unit that did this or if it’s standard protocol. They will find you if they need to but I hope that never happens.

  9. I have a question. My fiance is done in 10 months we want to get married in September. Im not sure if i have an std or hiv ect will they deny us getting married. I plan on staying on main Land while he finishes his term in Hawaii.

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