May 26, 2017

"John Glenn’s remains were disrespected at the military's mortuary, Pentagon documents allege."

"A senior mortuary employee at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware twice offered horrified inspectors a peek at American icon John Glenn's dead body while the famed astronaut awaited burial earlier this year, according to an internal memo obtained by Military Times."

18 comments:

Kevin said...

Duty to anyone but oneself seems to be increasingly outdated in our government employees.

Etienne said...

Deborah Skillman, retired Army Colonel, has many years of service in mortuary affairs for the military. If she reported this to the commander, the only appropriate response would be termination of the employee. I'm talking minutes, gone, Casse-toi !

Yet the commander merely counseled the man.

As far as I'm concerned, the whole chain of command should be liquidated. Send these people to Afghanistan, where they can eat cold MRE's with the people they screwed-over.

MadisonMan said...

So was the employee fired?

dreams said...

I lost my respect for John Glenn based on his sorry record as a Democrat Senator.

rhhardin said...

They use a body double for security, like with Nixon.

EDH said...

Godspeed, John Glenn.

Kate said...

And yet earlier he was a whistleblower for improper handling of remains. Is this guy bipolar?

traditionalguy said...

Memorial Day is in memory of the dead. Semper Fi, John Glen.

As long as we may need some more Marines, we better treat their memories with a proper respect.

The Drill SGT said...

Blogger Etienne said...
If she reported this to the commander, the only appropriate response would be termination of the employee. I'm talking minutes, gone, Casse-toi !

Yet the commander merely counseled the man.

Blogger MadisonMan said...
So was the employee fired?


Of course not. You can't fire a Federal employee, even if they get convicted of crimes. Thanks to the MSPB. The only ultimate punishment is 2 years admin leave with pay till they give you your job back.

Sydney said...

In Roman Catholicism it's a tradition to view and respect relics of the sainted dead. Isn't this kind of what the employee was doing? He's not a saint, but he is admired by many people in a secular kind of way. I am playing devil's advocate here, don't necessarily think what the guy did was right.

MadisonMan said...

They use a body double for security, like with Nixon

(laugh) I'm just picturing the scene here, and am chuckling. Thanks!

Ann Althouse said...

"And yet earlier he was a whistleblower for improper handling of remains. Is this guy bipolar?"

He seems to be saying the accusation is reprisal against him.

"Zwicharowski, along with two other mortuary employees, was at the center of a whistle-blower scandal that revealed body parts had gone missing or were disposed of improperly. They were subsequently honored with Public Servant of the Year awards after nearly being fired for going outside their chain of command to report what they believed were code violations, public health dangers and gross mismanagement."

JML said...

The Drill SGT said... "course not. You can't fire a Federal employee, even if they get convicted of crimes. Thanks to the MSPB. The only ultimate punishment is 2 years admin leave with pay till they give you your job back."

I have. But it wasn't easy. And no MSPB appeal allowed.

PoNyman said...

"And yet earlier he was a whistleblower for improper handling of remains. Is this guy bipolar?"

He seems to be saying the accusation is reprisal against him.

"Zwicharowski, along with two other mortuary employees, was at the center of a whistle-blower scandal that revealed body parts had gone missing or were disposed of improperly. They were subsequently honored with Public Servant of the Year awards after nearly being fired for going outside their chain of command to report what they believed were code violations, public health dangers and gross mismanagement."

Ok, that might be an explanation. My Althouses senses were firing on this one.

Kassaar said...

There must be more to this. Every mention of Zwicharowski I could find shows him to be a highly ethical guy. Take this, from the WaPo, March 6, 2012:

‘Officials at an Air Force mortuary pushed to have some cremated remains from victims of the Sept. 11 attacks buried at sea, but they were overruled by higher-ups in the military who insisted on a plan that resulted in the ashes being dumped in a landfill, according to a mortuary official.

William D. Zwicharowski, a civilian who served as interim director of the mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in 2002, said in an interview that he was still pained by the outcome and wished he had resisted the order more strenuously.

“We fought the fight, but I had zero clout back then,” he said. “The decision was made at a higher level. Had I had the experience I have now, 10 years later, I would have stood up and probably just not done it.” ’

Mark said...

He seems to be saying the accusation is reprisal against him

The question is -- why were inspectors there in the first place? What were they inspecting?

They were inspecting the treatment of deceased remains. They were inspecting after Zwicharowski himself alleged improper handling of those remains.

It sounds very much like the inspectors were questioning him about his treatment of the deceased and he may very well likely have said that he treats them with the utmost respect and that they could see that for themselves. That if he said anything, it was in the context of an investigation and not an invitation to gawk.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

I place the story somewhere between hatchet-job, fake-news, and nothingburger. Reading the headline, I expected to find vandals had broken in and ripped off body parts.

What happened was the manager Zwicharowski mentioned to members of an inspection team that the remains of John Glenn were at the facility. Possible motives for broaching the subject include offering inspectors:
..an example of long-term storage practices at the facility;
..opportunity to personally memorialize Glenn.

And yet, some families elect open-coffin viewing for their departed. Go figure.

gadfly said...

Slow news day . . . no harm, no foul.