Nightly News | November 10, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: the latest now on another outrage of national scope, the scandal at Dover Air Force Base where the remains of Americans killed fighting overseas are returned home. We've always been led to believe they're all treated with great care and proper respect. But now we've learned some of those remains were mishandled, even lost, but no one was fired over it. The Defense Secretary Leon Panetta weighed in today and NBC 's Jim Miklaszewski reports.
JIM MIKLASZEWSKI reporting: The solemn return of America 's war dead to Dover is one of the US military 's most sacred ceremonies. Iconic images preserved forever in film. But a series of recent scandals has shattered the dignity of Dover . The partial remains of some service members have been cremated then unceremoniously dumped into this Virginia landfill. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta declared today 'that's unacceptable.'
Secretary LEON PANETTA: We have to send a clear signal to the American people that this kind -- these kinds of actions that took place there cannot happen again.
MIKLASZEWSKI: But the problems at Dover don't stop there. Partial remains of other service members have been lost. In one case a technician sawed off the mutilated arm of a deceased Marine so his uniform would fit for burial. Stan McDowell 's son, Air Force pilot Mark McDowell , was killed in Afghanistan . Parts of his remains may be missing. McDowell now wonders about the rest.
Mr. STAN McDOWELL: You know, maybe there are some things that's not what I think they should be. But I'll never know.
MIKLASZEWSKI: Carolyn Lerner heads the US Office of Special Counsel . Its investigation of Dover found "gross mismanagement, violations of rules and regulations and a pattern of dishonesty and misconduct."
Ms. CAROLYN LERNER: We're talking about people who gave their lives for our country and who are due the highest level of reverence and respect.
MIKLASZEWSKI: Secretary Panetta today ordered additional investigations into Dover . The three top leaders at Dover have been disciplined but nobody's been fired. Secretary Panetta says he'll look into that, too. Jim Miklaszewski , NBC News , the Pentagon .