As many as 64,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery may contain mistakes, a long-awaited study by the U.S. Army has found.
The review discovered that up to 64,000 graves may have the wrong names, rank and service branch, or date of birth or death, Politico reported.
After receiving reports of misidentified and misplaced graves, Congress asked for the study to be conducted, the Associated Press reported. Two of the cemetery's top executives, superintendent John Metzler and his deputy, Thurman Higginbotham, were placed on immediate administrative leave as a result, NBC News reported.
The review, conducted by the Gravesite Accountability Task Force, looked at almost 260,000 graves and compared photos of the tombstones to over 510,000 records. The report found that while almost 196,000 cases have “no discrepancies,” 64,230 cases will require “additional review.” Seventy analysts are now conducting reviews of every case in which they found a potential mistake to ensure that their records are fixed. Those reviews are expected to be completed in the summer, the AP reported.
Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, a vocal critic of the former Arlington management, told the AP that the 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 and lays out a plan to finish the job," Senator McCaskill said.
Methods of keeping records have changed many times over the course of the 147 years the cemetery has been in operation, said John Schrader, co-chair of the Gravesite Accountability Task Force. All of the old records, which run the gamut from handwritten logs to typewritten forms, have now been scanned and digitized, Schrader told the AP.
Arlington National cemetery is the second biggest cemetery in the United States. It also attracts over 4 million visitors a year and buries 30 people a day, some with full military honors. It is estimated to have the remains of more than 300,000 people, according to Politico.