WASHINGTON – The Air Force said Tuesday it had disciplined three top officials at the military’s main mortuary in Delaware for “gross mismanagement” after finding that they twice lost track of body parts of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan, and cut off a deceased Marine’s arm bone without his family’s consent.
An 18-month Air Force investigation said the three officials failed to take action “despite indications that procedures were inadequate” for tracking human remains at the Dover Air Force Base mortuary, which has handled most of the more than 6,000 U.S. service members who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The mistakes at Dover are similar in certain respects to two other scandals that have rocked the military in recent years.
Last year it was revealed that officials at Arlington National Cemetery had misidentified some human remains and buried some service members in the wrong graves.
In 2007, news reports revealed that some soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were forced to live in substandard outpatient facilities run by the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.