Dover Air Force Base supervisors retaliated against four civilian whistleblowers that worked at the mortuary after reporting several wrongdoings to higher authorities.
According to the whistleblowers, they were extremely concerned with what they were told to do to the returning corpses of dead veterans, like dumping incinerated partial remains in a Virginia landfill after setting them on fire. At one time, a worker was asked to cut the arm off of one of the dead – which he refused, saying it was not his decision to make, but the family’s.
After witnessing gory and vulgar scenarios, the workers decided to report to higher authority. For this action, supervisors at Dover tried to fire two of them and placed others on suspension and indefinite leave.
One worker, Trevor Dean, was the top civilian at the mortuary. Dean was transferred to a lesser, non-supervisory position. Quinton “Randy” Keel was a division director at the mortuary and was demoted in August.
After an 18-month investigation, the Air Force finally announced that they had disciplined the top supervisors that tried to fire the outspoken workers, but were not fired. Senior Air Force officials claimed that there was no evidence the supervisors broke any rules.
The case went all the way to congress, bringing criticism to many of its members towards the Air Force’s way of “discipline”, suggesting a tougher punishment. Two of the supervisors are still working at Dover.
Col. Robert Edmondson, the mortuary commander, was reprimanded for “failure in leadership.” Edmondson is still on active duty, but reassigned.
The Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency specializing in whistleblower complaints, said it would give the Air Force one month to take action. Last year, the agency had reinstated two other civilian mortuary workers who were fired at Dover.
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