Air Force mishandled remains of war dead, probe finds


Craig Whitlock
Washington Post
November 8, 2011

Federal investigators said Tuesday they uncovered “gross mismanagement” at the Dover Air Force Base mortuary that cares for America’s war dead after whistleblowers reported horror stories of lost body parts, shoddy inventory controls and lax supervision.

The former mortuary commander and two other senior officials have been disciplined — but not fired — in response to separate investigations conducted by the Air Force Inspector General, the Secretary of the Air Force and the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency that also received the whistleblower complaints.

The grisly findings at Dover echo a similar scandal at another hallowed repository for the military’s dead, Arlington National Cemetery. An Army investigation last year documented cases of misidentified remains at Arlington, dug-up urns that had been dumped in a dirt pile and botched contracts worth millions of dollars. The Army Criminal Investigation Command and the FBI are now conducting a criminal probe there.

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