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Pentagon Orders Review Of Mishandled Soldiers’ Remains At Dover Air Force Base

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The body parts of soldiers lost, their family members never notified. Wednesday night, the Pentagon orders a review of mishandled remains at Dover Air Force Base.

Kai Jackson has more on the grisly investigation.

“What I want to talk about is tough stuff,” Gen. Norton Schwartz said.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Schwartz is talking about caskets coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. A federal investigation has found “gross mismanagement” at the Dover Air Force Base mortuary in Delaware– the first stop of the fallen on their final journey home.

“We found a pattern of wrongdoing and the Air Force has refused to admit culpability,” said Carol Lerner, Office of the Special Counsel.

When a body part went missing from the crew of an F-15 jet that crashed in Afghanistan, three whistleblowers came forward. It nearly cost them their careers though all are back on the job.

“Guarantee the families their loved ones are being treated with honor, dignity and respect,” Bill Zagaroski said.

Carol Lerner’s Office of Special Counsel investigated the whistleblower complaints and found two cases in which body parts of a soldier and an Air Force pilot were either lost or misplaced. In another case, an arm bone was sawed off in order to fit a marine killed by a roadside bomb into his dress uniform.

“I cannot certify with certainty that prior performance met our standard of perfection,” Gen. Schwartz said.

The families were not told what had happened to their loved ones until this weekend.

“They should have informed the family members the minute they knew that there was a problem,” Lerner said.

The investigation covered 2008-2010. But Gen. Schwartz says he doesn’t know if there are other instances of mistakes with the remains of service members.

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