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Air Force Mortuary Affairs Employee Accused Of ‘Disrespecting’ John Glenn’s Remains
A top-level Pentagon official has accused a senior mortuary employee at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware of twice offering a group of inspectors a peek at the dead body of famed astronaut and Marine Corps aviator John Glenn as the American hero awaited burial earlier this year, according to a memo obtained by Military Times.
The memo was written by Deborah Skillman, the DoD’s director of casualty and mortuary affairs, who was among the inspectors at Dover both times the alleged misconduct occurred. Dated May 11, the document states that, on February 28 and March 2, mortuary branch chief William Zwicharowski offered Skillman and her colleagues a chance to “view the deceased.”
“Moreover,” Skillman wrote, “this offer to view the remains was also made in the presence of, and observed by, junior personnel on the Dover Mortuary Branch staff.”
Ironically, Zwicharowski, a former Marine himself, was awarded the Public Servant of the Year in 2013 after he and two other mortuary employees circumvented their chain of command to expose the Dover mortuary mishandling of the remains of service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I want to guarantee the families of our fallen, in the past and in the future, that they’re treated with honor dignity and respect here at Dover,” Zwicharowski told a reporter in 2013. “As long as I’m here, they’ll be treated that way.”
Skillman wrote that Zwicharowski made comments suggesting he thought that the inspection was being conducted in reprisal for his involvement in the whistleblower scandal. However, Skillman insisted that wasn’t the case, writing, “it is important to note that this inspection was pursuant to a new DoD inspection policy, and three other sites had been inspected prior to the team’s inspection of Dover.”
In her memo, Skillman alleged that Zwicharowski had been “counseled by his chain of command the regarding the inappropriate nature” of his first offer, but then repeated it.
Officials told Military Times that the inspectors declined Zwicharowski’s offer and “at no time viewed the remains.
Glenn, a combat-decorated Marine and the first American to orbit Earth, died on December 8, and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery several months later on April 6, his wedding anniversary.
The U.S. Air Force assumed responsibility for safeguarding Glenn’s body in the interim at the request of his family to “ensure an increased level of privacy and security for a renowned public servant, Marine Corps officer, and pioneer of space exploration,” according to Skillman’s memo.
The Air Force’s inspector general has launched an investigation into Zwicharowski’s alleged misconduct, branch spokesman Col. Patrick S. Ryder told Military Times.
“At the conclusion of the investigation, the Air Force will determine what further corrective actions, if any, may be necessary and appropriate,” Ryder told Military Times. “If any allegations of misconduct are substantiated, those involved will be held accountable.”
Ryder also noted that, despite Zwicharowski’s breach of protocol, the Dover mortuary passed its inspection with a score of 94 percent.
Hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War have repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia's capital
In an uh-oh episode of historic proportions, hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War recently and repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia's capital city.
Wait – they had hand grenades in the Revolutionary War? Indeed. Hollow iron balls, filled with black powder, outfitted with a fuse, then lit and thrown.
And more than two dozen have been sitting in cardboard boxes at the Department of Historic Resources, undetected for 30 years.
At least 4 American veterans among group arrested in Haiti with arsenal of weapons and tactical gear
At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.
Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.
They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.
What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.
White supremacist Coast Guard officer stockpiled firearms and hit list of Democrats for mass terror attack
A Coast Guard lieutenant arrested this week planned to "murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country," according to a court filing requesting he be detained until his trial.
(Reuters Health) - Military service members who are at risk for suicide may be less likely to attempt to harm themselves when they receive supportive text messages, a U.S. study suggests.
The Army allegedly missed this soldier's stomach cancer for 4 years. His widow wants someone to answer for it
The widow of a soldier whose stomach cancer was allegedly overlooked by Army doctors for four years is mounting a medical malpractice lawsuit against the military, but due to a decades-old legal rule known as the Feres Doctrine, her case will likely be dismissed before it ever goes to trial.