Families of the Fallen Support

Families of the Fallen Support

The USO supports dignified transfers at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware – the first stop on American soil for U.S. troops who have paid the ultimate price while serving their country. The USO provides respite and comfort to grieving families who are coming to Dover to witness the return of their loved ones. The USO offers families travel assistance, supports the families' on-site needs, and introduces them to special programs to help cope with their grief when they return home. The USO also provides a full service respite center for mortuary affairs teams from each service branch. These troops perform the solemn, honorable and stressful duty of preparing their fallen comrades for their final resting place.

The USO's commitment to support troops and their families through every part of their service remains strong during these difficult times. Since the USO first began supporting families of the fallen, thousands of family members have been impacted by the services and programs we offer and we will continue to be there for the families of the fallen when they need us most.

USO Travel Support

Most of the time, families begin their trip to Dover within hours of being notified of their loss. USO staff and volunteers throughout the country work around the clock to ease the burden of families traveling to and from Dover Air Force Base to witness the return of their loved one. The USO:

  • Works with airline and airport security officials to expedite the check-in process.
  • Connects family members arriving from multiple locations and arranges for accommodations if a family's flight is missed or delayed.
  • Coordinates with each military branch to link families with ground transportation to and from Dover Air Force Base.
  • Supports military escorts who accompany their fallen comrades to their final homecoming.
  • Assists families traveling to and from memorial services when requested.

Dover Campus for Families of the Fallen

The USO worked with Dover Air Force Base to strengthen the onsite services for military families. USO staff and volunteers are on call to assist families' needs 24/7 as they travel to and from Dover AFB. The Dover campus offers several facilities to comfort and support grieving families, including:

  • Center for Families of the Fallen, a 6,000 square-foot-building, offers families a place to gather in private, meet with the chaplain and collect themselves before and after the dignified transfer.
  • Fisher House for Families of the Fallen, a temporary, on-campus lodging facility where families can stay overnight.
    • The USO provides snacks, beverages and other comfort items during their stay at the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen.
  • Meditation Pavilion, a 1,714-square-foot gathering place for local families to meet in private before the dignified transfer.

Continuing Support Back Home

Even after families leave Dover and return home, the USO funds and provides continued support and comfort through partnership with best-in-class organizations to help families cope with their grief and move forward with their lives, including:

  • Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
    • TAPS Spouse Retreats are peer-based support groups for grieving loved ones, including widows, parents and significant others.
    • Good Grief Camps provide a safe atmosphere for children to connect with others coping with similar feelings in order to establish support systems.
    • USO/TAPS Kids Camp Out are weekend camps for kids who have lost a loved one. Camp volunteers help campers by supporting them during grief sessions and group activities.
  • The USO provides grief camps for children. Through a partnership with Moyer Foundation's Camp Erin, the grief camp is a weekend-long experience filled with traditional, camp activities combined with grief education and emotional support, led by grief professionals and trained volunteers.
  • The USO, together with the Trevor Romain Foundation, provides children with "Memory Boxes." Each box is a comprehensive set of resources for kids who have lost a parent to help them and their families cope with the loss.

For more information about the USO Families of the Fallen Support, please contact:

Yolanda Bottorf
USO Families of the Fallen Support
116 Purple Heart Drive
Dover AFB, DE 19902

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