Casualty rep continues to serve families at Yokota
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Throughout her adult life she has supported the military, serving as an enlisted personnel specialist for four years and commissioned to complete another four years as an officer, and now, after hanging up her uniform, she continues to serve as a Department of Defense civilian.
Tanquer Dyer brings this experience and a drive to help others to her new job and looks to continue her broad history with the Air Force as the new Yokota Casualty Assistance Representative.
As the CAR, Dyer guides the hands of those immediately affected by the death or serious injury of a military member and helps them through the rough transition period ahead. She takes care of immediate needs such as moving their housing goods, transportation and funeral arrangements.
"It is always about helping the families because when there is a death no one is prepared," Dyer said. "We want to take care of the family as best as we can."
In the event of a casualty, the CAR sends out a notification team comprised of an officer and medical or chaplain staff member to notify the member's next-of-kin of the tragedy. After waiting 24 hours, the CAR follows-up to provide the family member(s) with immediate assistance.
"We try to take care of everything so [the family members] don't have to worry about it because they are already struggling with the death," Dyer said.
In addition to her previous military experience, Dyer has a Bachelor's degree in Education and a Master's degree in both human resource management and marriage and family counseling. Her experience gives her unique insight into the importance of being prepared for a worst-case scenario.
As an enlisted member, Dyer worked as a personnel specialist in the customer service section. Part of her job was to ensure active duty members maintained up-to-date virtual records of emergency and service member's group life insurance. She said her previous experience taught her the importance of military members updating their personal information to ensure their family members are properly taken care of in the event of their unexpected death.
"Without updated information we are almost at a standstill at notifying the next-of-kin because we don't want to give them wrong information," Dyer said, bringing this knowledge into her role as the CAR.
During her tour as a company grade officer, she learned a lot from an unexpected tragedy ... the death of one of her own Airmen.
"It is different when they aren't attached to you and you didn't know them, but this member was a part of my unit, a part of my team." Dyer said. "He was killed on a deployment and it was up to me to make sure all of his things were packed and sent to his family."
Dyer said her new job as the CAR is where she wants to be in life and her passion to help those who are in need truly shines.
"When I saw the position available, it all came back to me [the death of her Airman] and it played a role in me taking this job," she said. "I thought to myself, I would love to do this, I would love to help members in this position because it is so hard for them."
Dyer said many families have a hard time moving forward after a death; they have many questions when their loved one passes away.
"It is hard, especially, if the family member doesn't have the opportunity to say goodbye," she added. "You talk with them and you have so much compassion for them; you want to do whatever you can to help them."
The CAR also has a role of informing military members who are retiring of the benefits available to them and their dependents. Dyer said many people are not aware of the survivor benefit plan and part of her job is informing them.
Whether it is helping the family of someone recently passed, helping the family of someone severely injured or missing, or informing retiring military members of what benefits they have readily available, the CAR has an important job at Yokota. Dyer said she looks forward to the personal and professional growth that will come with the job and looks forward to helping those who are in need.