Del. congressional delegation responds to findings of improper activity at Dover AFB

Members of Delaware’s congressional delegation were briefed nearly a year ago about an investigation at Dover Air Force Base which led to this week’s findings that some remains were improperly handled.

Senator Chris Coons said his “heart sank” when he was told for the first time last November—shortly after his election—about allegations of improper activity at the DAFB mortuary. His office worked with those of Senator Tom Carper and Congressman John Carney to monitor developments and to “press for a timely resolution.”

Three officials with the mortuary were disciplined after an Air Force investigation concluded that portions of some human remains returned to the base were lost or mishandled. 

“I appreciate the thoroughness, professionalism and discretion of those involved with the investigations, and am confident that these incidents, though absolutely unacceptable, were isolated and the appropriate changes in procedure have been made to ensure they will not occur again,” Coons said in a statement. 

Carney said in a statement that he was made aware of the investigation shortly after he was sworn in in January. He was told that the Air Force had already modified the standard operating procedures at Dover and installed a change of command at the Mortuary Affairs Operations Center. 

“I sympathize with the families of the brave soldiers who were affected by the problems identified in the investigation,” Carney said. “In the coming months, I will work to make sure that military officials use the findings of the investigation to ensure that this never happens again.”

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