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‘Mercury’ web-based app connects funeral directors with Honor Guard teams for direct support

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kristin Savage
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- A new web-based app designed to connect funeral directors with local Honor Guard teams is being tested at Scott AFB this summer, and then will soon be adapted for use by bases Air Force-wide.

‘Mercury’ [the name being the element symbol for the “HG” in Honor Guard] was designed by a team of Airmen from the 375th Communications Support Squadron to help solve an admin and scheduling problem that Scott’s Honor Guard team was having.

Scott’s Honor Guard has one of the largest areas of responsibility in the Air Force, covering 110,000 square miles, 106 counties and performing up to 2,800 honors each year, and those requests are currently requested by fax or phone.

While serving as an augmentee in the Honor Guard’s scheduling office, Senior Airman Kendall Dane, a 375th CSPTS computer systems programmer, got the idea for a better way to request teams.     

“Because we were using mostly fax machines in the Honor Guard office, there were clerical errors that led to three missed honors in 2018,” said Dane. “I saw the opportunity to at least clear up the clerical errors with an app.”

Dane proposed the idea during a 2018 Spark Tank innovation program to the 375th Air Mobility Wing commander and showed how the new web-based application could simplify the scheduling process for funeral directors.  They just need to log on, create an account and submit requests. The schedulers in the Honor Guard office will then be able to confirm the requests as well as give reasons if they are unable to support or need to change the request.

This application will eliminate back-and-forth confirmation with funeral homes, reduce time spent planning logistics and eliminate binder reviews.  In a future release, it will centralize information, automate logistics and have a place to store records.  Ultimately, it will modernize the management of funeral honors and eliminate missed funeral honors due to clerical errors.

Senior Master Sgt. Sean Cook, 375th CSPTS flight chief of software services, has been overseeing the development of the app.  

“Right now we’re focused on the Scott area of responsibility,” said Cook. “Once the system has proven itself, then we will continue the development with Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, who plan to implement the app there, and then possibly Air Force and even DoD-wide.”