An Army report sent to Congress indicated that after checking all of the 259,978 gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery against more than 510,000 records, there is a need to review one in four of these gravesites.
There is a need to validate the records of 64,230 Veterans and their family members, who have been laid to rest in the cemetery. This validation may result in the replacement of thousands of headstones.
The checking of gravesites consisted of the photographing of every grave marker, and researching these against corresponding paperwork. While the effort did not yield any cases of Veterans or their dependents who have been buried in the wrong plots, it did show other problems, such as misspelled names on headstones and inconsistencies in records.
The review was triggered by controversy surrounding how remains have been mishandled by the cemetery. Allegations include a report that up to eight cremated remains of Veterans have been dumped into a single grave.
The report indicated that “while great progress has been made thus far, additional work is required.” Arlington spokeswoman Jennifer Lynch shared: “We definitely need to replace some markers, but other cases may be just paperwork inconsistencies… We have more work to do, and it’s a priority for us to go through the remaining cases and if we find a discrepancy, we’ll correct it.”
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, the co-author of a bill of improvements at Arlington, issued the following statement: “Arlington National Cemetery is now a turnaround story… After we uncovered chronic managerial failure and demanded comprehensive reforms from a new leadership team, I am pleased to receive this report that shows great progress.”