Remains mishandled at Dover Air Force Base

A year-long Air Force investigation found gross mismanagement of the handling of remains of fallen service members at the military’s largest mortuary at Dover Air Force Base.

The investigation was the result of Air Force employees who raised concerns about the handling of remains. The Air Force inspector general found that DAFB workers did not maintain accountability while processing portions of remains of three service members.

“We can, and will, do better,” said General Norton Schwartz, the Air Force chief of staff in a statement.  “As a result of the allegations and investigation, our ability to care for our fallen warriors is now stronger.  In fact, throughout the past year new processes have been put in place to ensure the exacting standards are met every time.”

While each family did receive the remains of their service member, but staff at Dover were not able to be certain that the handling of the remains were carried out according to the families instructions.  

The Secretary of Defense has ordered an independent assessment of all operations at the mortuary.  Since 2003, more than 6,300 deceased service members have been prepared to return to their loved ones at Dover Air Force Base.

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