Forums / Political & Legal / More Than 6,000 Arlington Graves Could Be Wrong, Senator Says

7 years 34 weeks ago, 6:55 PM


HKBauer's picture

Lieutenant General
Join Date:
Jul 2010
United States

More Than 6,000 Arlington Graves Could Be Wrong, Senator Says

Published July 29, 2010
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-- Estimates of the number of graves potentially affected by mix-ups at Arlington National Cemetery grew to as many as 6,600 on Thursday, as the cemetery's former superintendent blamed his staff and a lack of resources for the scandal that forced his ouster.

John Metzler, who ran the famous military burial ground for 19 years, said he accepts "full responsibility" for the problems.

But he also rebutted some of findings of Army investigators. And he suggested cemetery employees were to blame for mix-ups because the system used to track grave sites relied mostly on a complicated paper trail vulnerable to error.

"Personally it is very painful for me that our team at Arlington did not perform all aspects of its mission to the high standard required," he told a Senate panel. He was subpoenaed to testify.

Metzler and his deputy, Thurman Higginbotham, were forced to retire after Army investigators found that as many as 211 graves were unmarked or misidentified.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, chairwoman of an oversight panel on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Reform Committee, said Thursday that her investigation has revealed far higher estimates of the number of graves affected. McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, said she believes that between 4,900 and 6,600 graves may be unmarked or mislabeled on cemetery maps. And she blamed Metzler.

He provided an often confusing defense, saying that internal working maps used by cemetery employees were mislabeled but that those discrepancies wouldn't necessarily affect operations.

He also said any problems that popped up over the years were quickly fixed and suggested he was surprised by the findings of the Army's Inspector General.

His testimony angered lawmakers.

"The notion that you would come in here and didn't know about it until a month ago is offensive. You did know about it, and you did nothing," McCaskill said.

A visibly frustrated Sen. Scott Brown abruptly ended his questioning.

"I'd have a lot of fun with you in a deposition because I don't think we're getting straight talk here," said Brown, R-Mass.

Higginbotham testified in general about his tenure at the cemetery but left the hearing early after asserting his Fifth Amendment right not to respond to many of the lawmakers' more pointed questions.

When asked whether he was aware of problems at the cemetery, Higginbotham said: "It was always conceptual that anything done by hand for 40-plus years that there would have to be some errors somewhere."

7 years 33 weeks ago, 1:17 AM

greg az

greg az's picture

Secretary of Homeland Security
Join Date:
Oct 2009
New York, NY, Ascension Island

First off welcome to Ace.. Obviously were 99.9 male, but think your going to find were a bit old fashioned about respecting women, and while the language might get a tad rough, those of us who have real women at home know you can make us blush so not a deal.. This extends by the way to the sites careful monitoring of skin. Sure were typical guys, but Sam and Reap (pres, and monitor) are careful about "whats" allowed.. sorta tame compared to most today.

A quick note to all you new members, you can see what were all about by clicking and reading, after you get settled pls post a profile, and some pics of what you shoot etc.. We like folks who come back, and have good friendships here that last.. Pull up a chair and join in..

Guessing this post by Bauer makes us all pissed big time, and what bothers me is he DID know, we read the time line when this broke.. they have been sitting on it for awhile.. an old widow showed up a year ago "wheres my husband".. This is not new.. they have a space issue, and if no family visits for awhile.... wow... just so sick its hard to take.. least there dealing with it, and hope they DEAL on the supervisor...

Glad to see Schuyler back... bout damn time boy... we missed ya..

Hamp.. J&G is selling Enfields (#4) .. thats the 3.03 the Brits used forever WWI & II.. 200.00 .. I talk about them to much but pm me if you want thier phone number.. remember they have great prices on all your ammo to buddy..

Snake.. no ones trying to get you married off, were just happy when you go to school, but go easy on the "watch out snakes in her corner" talk.

a man has to hold his word, hold his beliefs, and hold a good sight picture.

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