Reports that hundreds, maybe thousands, of burials at Arlington National Cemetery have been mishandled will get a critical look from a United States Senate committee today. Some of the participants will not speak willingly.
The government has spent five and a half million dollars in the last seven years to have burials conducted properly at Arlington. But Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Claire McCaskill says the several private companies contracted to carry out that work did not do it right, leaving the cemetery with an inadequate and outdated system and inadequate burial management records.
Among those the committee wants to hear from are former Superintendent John Metzler and Former Deputy Superintendent Thurman Higginbotham. McCaskill says those two have refused to appear voluntarily so they have been subpoenaed. More willing to cooperate are the Executive Director of the Army National Cemeteries Program and two deputy assistant secretaries of the Army.
Recent reports suggest the problem is worse than originally reported. McCaskill would not be surprised if that’s the case because the Inspector General’s report only looked at one or two sections of a seventy-section cemetery. .
McCaskill says the committee will demand answers about misplaced headstones, bodies buried in wrong plots, and cremation remains that have been put in a fill area of the cemetery