Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Air Force Story

This is what we know.  The Air Force runs the one and only mortuary that handles the remains of GI's brought back from foreign wars.  The remains come in, and are sent to a lab.  The guys make an attempt to ID the remains.  If they can't reach a decision....they were sent to the burn facility.  For a number of years....up until 2008....the ashes left then after the burn facility....were taken to a local garbage dump.  At some point, someone stood up and spoke out on the garbage disposal method, and then finally....the Navy stepped in and offered a burial at sea for the ashes.

This past week....the garbage episode was figured out and got into the press.  Frankly.....some Congressmen and Senators are a bit upset.  There will be more questions asked and whoever started this disposal method to the local dump.....will be identified.

When you go back to various wars....guys tended to be buried at the war zone (World War I and II).  From Vietnam....whatever remained from the guy was tossed in a body bag and sent back to the coast....and then placed in a coffin.  Things were simple because of the times.  Today?  Folks come up days or weeks after an explosion, and find another piece or two of a body.....and the procedure is to ship them pieces back to the lab.  Science was supposed to be helpful.

The problem is that you end up with some guy who died, ended up in a coffin to be buried somewhere, and two weeks after the funeral....you've got more pieces.  It simply doesn't make any sense to dig the coffin up to bury the rest of the guy.  No one will argue over this part of the problem.  But the idea of treating the pieces as medical waste after a burn?  That was wrong and pretty stupid.

So for the next month or two....some Senators will make this a major discussion item and a few more folks will be fired from the Air Force base.  Other than kicking around a story.....there won't be much more that the Senators can accomplish....other than do interviews on the Today Show or some Sunday talk show.