More misplaced remains at Arlington National Cemetery

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This story is part of a special Salon investigation of problems at Arlington National Cemetery.

Air Force Master Sgt. Marion Grabe passed away on Christmas day in 2007. She had served 26 years as an operating room nurse in the Air Force she loved, including 17 months in a Manila hospital treating wounded soldiers during the Vietnam War.

In death, Grabe wanted to mark her service to her country with a suitably honorable burial at Arlington National Cemetery."She wanted to be buried there so bad," recalled Grabe's sister, Dorothy Nolte. Thinking of the fiasco that ensued with Grabe's burial at Arlington, Nolte added sadly,"She deserved better."

On Jan. 28, 2008, the cemetery interred Grabe's cremated remains in the wrong plot, on top of the casket of another deceased service member. The Army then moved Grabe's remains without requesting permission from Nolte, her next of kin -- despite cemetery regulations urging efforts to obtain permission from family -- but later claimed to Salon that it had notified the next of kin. The official who moved Grabe without family approval is the same official who may bear primary responsibility for the poor record keeping at the cemetery, which has already resulted in at least one"unknown" grave, as previously documented by Salon, in a cemetery that is supposed to have no new"unknowns." And the mistake is part of a pattern of errors at the cemetery, where several current and former cemetery employees tell Salon there may be a large number of similarly misplaced remains....
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