Well, I just need to step back, vomit a bit - and pray on my desire to just let it all burn.
The Department of Defense unit charged with recovering servicemembers’ remains abroad has been holding phony “arrival ceremonies” for seven years, with an honor guard carrying flag-draped coffins off of a cargo plane as though they held the remains returning that day from old battlefields.You know, there is still a lot of work to do in order to get everything on my land ready for general gun season. I think I need to just think about that for awhile until Sunday's Midrats.
The Pentagon acknowledged Wednesday that no honored dead were in fact arriving, and that the planes used in the ceremonies often couldn’t even fly, and were towed into position. The story was first reported on nbcnews.com.
The ceremonies at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii are held up as a sign of the nation’s commitment to its fallen warriors. They have been attended by veterans and families of MIAs, led to believe that they were witnessing the return of Americans killed in World War II, Vietnam and Korea.
According to the NBC report, here’s what the audience was shown:
The emcee thanked the audience for “welcoming them home.” The script continued, “After removal from the aircraft, the remains will be taken to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command’s Central Identification Laboratory. There, JPAC scientists will begin the identification process.”
Citing eyewitnesses and photographs taken behind the scenes, NBC wrote that what actually happened is very different:
Before 6 a.m., the honor guard assembled behind the JPAC headquarters on the base. They loaded transfer cases onto the buses and drove to the hangar.
The honor guard loaded the transfer cases into the pre-positioned C-17, then rehearsed for the ceremony. They then returned to the plane, and waited.
The public was allowed in for the 9 a.m. ceremony: invited politicians, media, families of the missing and veterans. Employees from JPAC were bused over to fill out the crowd.
Then the show began, with tears and salutes as the remains were marched to the buses, then driven off to the lab to “begin the identification process.”
Jesse Baker, an 81-year-old Air Force veteran of World War II and Korea living in Honolulu, told NBC News that he has been to more than 50 of these ceremonies. He said he’s always been under the impression that the plane had just arrived carrying recovered remains.
Baker tried to make sense of why the DOD would work so hard to trick him and other veterans. “That’s disturbing. I don’t know when they stopped being honest and switched over to this Mickey Mouse, but whoever did it, I hope they find him a new job somewhere.”