Someone’s head needs to roll!

I was infuriated to read this article in Stars & Stripes this morning.

The Department of Defense unit charged with recovering servicemembers’ remains abroad has been holding phony “arrival ceremonies” for seven years, with an honor guard carrying flag-draped coffins off of a cargo plane as though they held the remains returning that day from old battlefields.

The Pentagon acknowledged Wednesday that no honored dead were in fact arriving, and that the planes used in the ceremonies often couldn’t even fly, and were towed into position.

The ceremonies at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii are held up as a sign of the nation’s commitment to its fallen warriors. They have been attended by veterans and families of MIAs, led to believe that they were witnessing the return of Americans killed in World War II, Vietnam and Korea.

There’s more at the link.

To fake the reception of the remains of dead US servicemen makes a mockery of their sacrifice for their country, insults their families, and denigrates the otherwise honorable service of those who have to pretend to receive their remains.  So . . . which desk-warming bureaucratic uniformed clown came up with this policy? And why hasn’t his or her head rolled yet?



  1. That's easy to answer. BHO is the CinC, and he has no respect for our soldiers. If it started a full 7 or more years ago, it didn't start on his watch. But even if he DID know about it, he'd likely approve. The attitude starts at the top, and his attitude towards the uniformed services is nothing but contemptuous. If he knew about it, he likely had a laugh when he found out.

  2. Unless someone messed up his age, Mr. Baker (the WWII vet quoted at the end of the original article) would have been 13 when the war ended.

  3. Ohhh boy. This is a toughy, trying not to sound callous.

    If I recall correctly in 2006 the JCS was very concerned about the wear and tear on the C17 fleet due to the unplanned demands (literally 100s of 1000s of flight hrs) being placed on the military airlift fleet by two hot wars. The C17 fleet has aged prematurely. As aircraft accumulate fatigue cycles from landings and pressurizations the maintenance schedule accelerates; the second 10,000hrs has two to three times as many structural inspections as the first 10,000hrs, and the third 10,000hrs is even worse. The same applies to the engines, at start the internal components heat from ambient to several hundred degrees in 30 seconds which is a thermal stress and also go stationary to rotating 10,000rpm or more which means a two-ounce turbine blade is now exerting several tons of centrifugal force on the turbine disc. Every take-off brings the heat and rpm up to within a few percent of the melting and breaking point, respectively.

    The simple fact is there may not be a C17 available even to take off and do a training flight with some flag draped caskets aboard and land as part of the cemetery.


  4. The answer to the "Why" question is, I think, to garner funding for the office and the program.

    Most of the remains from Vietnam are fragments, and would ordinarily be transported rather in the way of crime lab evidence: bagged and boxed.

    The phony funeral like procedures give the office nice photos to take back to DOD/Congress for budget purposes.

    Such ceremonies are warranted only after positive ID has been made, and the remains are shipped to family or home state for proper burial.

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