Pentagon report alleges body of astronaut John Glenn was disresp - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Pentagon report alleges body of astronaut John Glenn was disrespected at US Air Force mortuary

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Glenn was buried at Arlington Cemetery in Washington: AP Glenn was buried at Arlington Cemetery in Washington: AP
WASHINGTON -

Pentagon officials have launched a high level investigation into whether or not misconduct was committed after reports of a senior mortuary employee twice offering inspectors a 'peek' at American icon John Glenn's dead body.

An internal memo obtained by the Military Times, written by the Defense Department's director of casualty and mortuary affairs Deborah Skillman, states that the employee's alleged actions at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware were "clearly inappropriate and personally shocking."

Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth and passed away ay the age of 95 in December of 2016. Glenn was a combat-decorated Marine and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full honors in April.

According to the Military Times, Glenn's family asked the Air Force to care for his remains until his burial to "ensure an increased level of privacy and security for a renowned public servant, Marine Corps officer, and pioneer of space exploration," Skillman's memo states.

It was during this time that Skillman's memo says William Zwicharowski, the mortuary's branch chief, “offered to allow the inspectors to view the deceased." 

As Air Force officials investigate the allegations, Zwicharowski says that Glenn's remains were treated with "impeccable care."

Zwicharowski said Friday in a text message to The Associated Press that he's proud of the job he and his staff did in caring for Glenn's remains during the months between his death and burial.

Officials say the Glenn family has been notified of the allegations, but they have not yet commented. 

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