The U.S. Army is promising to make things right at Arlington National Cemetery after it discovered more than 200 remains had been either mis-identified or misplaced. The scandal has marred the reputation of some of the country's most sacred land.
So far, the Army investigation has uncovered 211 cases where remains were either mishandled, mis-identified, left in unmarked graves, or buried improperly.
"There is simply no excuse and on behalf of the United States Army and on behalf of myself, I deeply apologize to the families of the honored fallen resting in that hallowed ground who may now question the care afforded their loved ones," John McHugh, secretary of the Army, said Thursday.
In one case, the Army buried the remains of a 26-year-old Air Force veteran on top of another service member -- and then moved her remains without telling family.
"The families who hear this story are not going to have peace of mind or confidence that their loved ones are exactly where they're supposed to be," said Dorothy Nolte, sister of a buried vetetan. "It is disgraceful --they deserve better. Everyone of them deserves better."
Arlington is among the nation's most hallowed burial sites. More than 300,000 people have been buried there with military honors including troops killed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and past conflicts going back to the Civil War.
McHugh said he's forcing the cemetery's two civilian leaders to step aside, and he has appointed a new chief to conduct a more thorough investigation.
The move was little consolation for whistleblower Gina Gray.
"They should have been fired years ago and they definitely should have been fired today," Gray said. "This is not a win for the Army. This is an embarrassment for them."
The new investigation could literally unearth thousands of mishandled cases. Thus far, only three sections of the cemetery have been reviewed -- there are 70 in total.