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Dover Port Mortuary Independent Review Subcommittee Final Report – February 2012

February 28, 2012 Comments off

Dover Port Mortuary Independent Review Subcommittee Final Report – February 2012
Source: Defense Health Board (DoD)

The United States has a long and proud tradition of honoring its war dead. Consistent with the supreme sacrifice of the Fallen, our Nation must sustain the trust of its Service Members and their families by ensuring that the Fallen are accorded the highest degree of honor, dignity, and reverence, now and in the future.

In 2009, employees of the Dover Port Mortuary (DPM) alleged wrongdoing at the facility involving handling and disposition of human remains returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Specifically, these individuals described improper preparation of remains of a deceased Marine; improper handling and transport of remains with possible contagious disease; improper handling and transport of fetal remains of military dependents; and improper handling of cases of missing portions of remains.

Several Service-level investigations ensued as did a review of those investigations by the Office of Special Counsel, resulting in numerous corrective actions and personnel changes at the facility. In fall 2011, senior Department of Defense (DoD) leadership asked the Defense Health Board (DHB) to conduct an independent assessment of the current overall operations of DPM, the effectiveness of changes identified or taken to date, and the means by which those changes are examined for continued effectiveness. Specifically, the DHB subcommittee was asked to focus on the policies, procedures, and processes currently in place at DPM. The subcommittee did not focus its review on disciplinary or retaliatory personnel actions that followed these investigations, which were the subject of another review.

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