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Scandals at Arlington National Cemetery


A number of scandals and a criminal investigation at Arlington National Cemetery have cost the top two administrators their jobs.

Army Secretary John McHugh will announce today that he will be replacing Arlington National's superintendent John Metzler, plus his deputy Thurman Higgenbotham, after accusations of poor management and an investigation that Higgenbotham had illegally hacked into the computer files of a former Arlington employee.

Over the past couple of years, it was found that some of the 300,000 graves were improperly marked -- and in some cases bodies were buried in the wrong graves. In 2008, an Air Force Master Sergeant was buried on top of a staff Sergeant already in the grave, but the error wasn't discovered until the widow of the first servicemember buried there complained to authorities that someone else's headstone had been placed on her husband's grave.


The records of those hundreds of thousands buried at Arlington National are still kept in paper files. Metzler and Higgenbotham came under heavy criticism for not creating a computer database of the gravesites.

Moreover, in the course of the investigation into charges that Higgenbotham had hacked into a former employees emails, the Army found that Higgenbotham had allegedly filed a false statement with criminal investigators and took the case to the U.S. attorney who ultimately declined to file charges.

While Metzler has already announced he intends to retire, Defense Department and Army officials say both he and Higgenbotham are being forced to retire.

Secretary McHugh will announce today that he is creating a new assistant or deputy secretary's position that will provide future oversight of operations at Arlington National Cemetery.