Arlington National Cemetery Mismanagement in all Respects

Arlington National Cemetery

Part 3

Chapter 4: Mismanagement in all Respects

Photos and Material by Dan Brodt

(All photos are copyrighted unless otherwise noted. Permission must be had to use any photos that are not documented)

(Page design and editing by Bob Baldwin)

In 2008 a widow of a U.S. Army soldier complained that the wrong headstone was on her husband's grave. A Pentagon investigation found that two servicemen were interred in the same plot. Also the cremated remains of a service member were place in a grave already in use but left unmarked. It appeared Arlington cemetery officials did not follow proper procedures in notifying the serviceman's next-of-kin about his reburial. In November 2009,  Secretary of the Army, John M. McHugh

Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh

learned of those mismanaged reburials and called for the Inspector General to investigate. Meanwhile it was discovered that the awarding of a contract to digitize all of the cemetery's records went amiss.

Media access to cover funerals need only the family's permission to cover the event. But in 2008, the Washington Post found that Arlington was imposing more restrictions on media coverage of funerals. The Office of the Public Affairs Director was found to be negligent and overbearing in its authority directing all manner of media coverage. Personnel changes resulted. Some personnel changes were not so righteous. On June 10, 2010, the Inspector General's report disclosed that cemetery officials placed wrong headstones on tombs, buried coffins in shallow graves and buried bodies on top of one another. Records were found to not be updated resulting in the identification of the wrong person(s) in the wrong grave(s). Millions in missing or unused funds were also discovered in an auditor's report in 2011. In the same year a cemetery infrastructure investigation found further grave mismanagement.

 Only in 2012, in an Inspector General's report on improvements and reforms, was trust restored in the total management of Arlington National Cemetery.


Next: Part three, Chapter 5 Taps, Unseen Ceremonies, Memorials, Memorial Day 2019

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