Wednesday, February 1, 2012


The Air Force has gotten caught taking retaliatory action against three courageous whistle-blowers who alerted the country to the fact that the remains of fallen troops from our Mid-East wars were being mishandled at Dover Air Force Base. Dover handles mortuary affairs for all of the services. Last November a report from the Office of the U.S. Special Counsel cited "gross mismanagement" at the mortuary. Things like missing body parts and severing the arm of a dead Marine--without family permission, of course--so his body would fit inside a uniform. Also the disposal of body parts in a Virginia landfill. Had it not been for the whistle-blowers, this appalling situation would have never come to light.

And what did they get for their troubles? Termination, indefinite administrative leave, five-day suspensions. What else did you expect really? This is SOP for any bureaucracy when it uncovers whistle-blowers. It's them that get punished, not the wrongdoers. In this case, however, the tables got turned. The secretary of the Air Force more or less tried to let matters slide. But Pinetta, the DoD secretary, advised him to reconsider. Hence the former commander of mortuary affairs (a bird colonel), his civilian deputy, and the former director of the mortuary, also a civilian. (read about it here). Savor it. It's not often that justice is done in the military bureaucracy. But note . . . it took the secretary of defense to force it. Left to its own devices the Air Force would have just gotten away with it.
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