An employee at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware reportedly offered inspectors a chance to take a look at John Glenn’s dead body while they wait for the funeral, according to a memo obtained by The Military Times.
The paper reported that William Zwicharowski, the mortuary is branch chief, allegedly “offered to the inspectors to view the deceased.”
The memo reportedly said that the offer was “made in the presence of, and observed, junior personnel at the Dover Mortuary Branch staff.”
The Military Times reported that it reached Zwicharowski, but he did not respond.
Glenn, the all-American astronaut and senator that rocket in the history of flights 36 years apart as the first American in orbit and the oldest person in the room, died in December at age 95. Glenn died at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where he was admitted to the hospital for more than a week.
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Marines lead the procession in the pouring rain from the chapel to the grave during the internment of of astronaut and Senator John H. Glenn, Jr.
His family reportedly asked the air force to care for his remains.
He was eventually buried at Arlington National Cemetery in April with full military honors.
The Military Times reported that the inspectors have never looked at the astronaut. The memo reportedly said that Zwicharowski quote on two different occasions: Feb. 28 and March 2.
The leader of the inspection team reportedly alerted the morgue, the deputy commander. An air force spokesman from the Pentagon said that the inspector general is investigating the matter.
“The air force takes very seriously its responsibility to meet the nation’s sacred commitment of ensuring dignity, honor and respect to the fallen and care, service and support to their families,” Col. Patrick S. Ryder, an air force spokesman said. “At the conclusion of the investigation, the air force will determine what corrective actions, if any, may be necessary and appropriate. If all of the allegations of misconduct are substantiated, those involved will be held accountable.”
The report pointed out that the memo stated that Zwicharowski stated that he thought the inspection was the payback for his expose of how the mortuary mishandled the remains of a number of the cases service members who served in Iraq or Afghanistan six years earlier.
The memo’s author reportedly denied the accusation, saying: “it is important to note that this inspection is on the basis of a new DoD inspection policy, and three other areas are checked before the team inspection of Dover.”
The report cites an interview Zwicharowski had with a local newspaper back in 2013.
“I want to guarantee the families of our fallen, in the past and in the future, that they are treated with honor, dignity and respect here at Dover. … As long as I am here, they will be treated that way,” he said.
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