Damage Control After Grave Mix-Ups at Arlington

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Arlington cemetery, Arlington, Virginia --- Image by © Peter Carroll/First Light/Corbis

The most prominent memorial and burial ground of American fallen soldiers and military veterans has been revealed to have over 200 mismarked grave sites – so far.

It’s been nearly a year since Salon revealed mismanagement at the Arlington National Cemetery, which finally triggered the Army to launch an investigation that discovered at least 211 bodies were either misplaced or incorrectly identified. According to Salon, the actual numbers could be in the thousands.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh began major damage control, announcing yesterday the resignation of two cemetery leaders and the establishment of an independent advisory panel. He also announced that Kathryn Condon will fill the newly created position of executive director of the Army National Cemeteries program. Responsibilities will include increased oversight of the cemetery’s records.

While all the announcements point towards an increase in future monitoring of graves, officials have been mum about further investigation into past errors and mix-ups. The 211 misidentified graves reported are all located in just three sections of the cemetery — the only three, out of dozens of sections, that were actually investigated.

The cemetery established a call center for the families who have questions about their relative’s remains. There are over 300, 000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery; the center has reportedly been inundated with inquires.