Gen. John Abizaid to head up Dover mortuary panel

Wednesday - 11/23/2011, 7:59am EST

By Michael O'Connell
Web Editor
Federal News Radio

Retired Army Gen. John Abizaid will chair the panel that will oversee the Dover, Del., port mortuary, according to a Defense Department release.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asked the former commander of U.S. Central Command to replace former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona, who recused himself from the position when he decided to run for the Senate.

Abizaid spent 34 years in the Army, and he will be in charge of a review to evaluate the changes made to the mortuary procedures. He will also make any additional recommendations.

Three civilian employees at the mortuary filed complaints last year about how some remains were handled at the facility. The Air Force Inspector General and the Office of Special Counsel have completed their investigations into the charges. A former commander and two other mortuary officials were disciplined.

Joining Abizaid on the panel are:

  • Retired Army Gen. Fred Franks, DoD health board member;
  • Ruth Stonecifer, representative of families supported by the Dover Port Mortuary;
  • Dr. Vic Snyder, former congressman from Arkansas;
  • Garold Huey, funeral director and embalmer that served in the Navy as an enlisted embalming technician;
  • Jacquelyn Taylor, executive director of the New England;
  • Dr. Bruce Parks, forensic pathologist.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.