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XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX WED NOV 26, 2003 10:49:38 ET XXXXX
SOLDIERS ANGER OVER DEAN BROTHER 'MILITARY HONORS'
Active duty soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are upset over being forced take part in a military repatriation ceremony today for remains believed to be those of the non-military brother of presidential candidate Howard Dean, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
"His brother will receive full military honors...flag over the coffin and all!" fumes one soldier, who asked not to be named.
Governor Dean is set to visit to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the repatriation of his brother to Hickam AFB, Hawaii.
The brother's remains were recovered in Laos by a JPAC recovery team this past month. JPAC's mission is to search, recover, and identify remains of US service members who were killed in previous wars.
During the Vietnam War, Dean's brother and an Australian friend treked into Laos as civilians -- and were captured by the Vietcong and killed.
JPAC was pressured to not only recover his brother's remains, but to bump Dean's recovery over numerous other MIA's who actually died fighting for their country, a well-placed military source tells the DRUDGE REPORT.
Additionally, JPAC is being pressured to push up Dean's brother's identification ahead of approximately a hundred other service members remains, it is claimed.
Says one source: "These service members were recovered from all US wars, whose families are waiting to finally get word that their loved one, who gave his life for his country has been identified and is finally coming home. It usually take 2 years plus for an identification. Apparently, this 'rush job' will be done in 4-6 months. That's not all, we are repatriating his Australian friend, with military honors, and pushing his identification ahead our service members also."
The military source continues: "We feel it is not only a slap in the face to the servicemembers who gave their lives for our great country, but also the men and women who are currently in harms way"
In the past, JPAC has recovered remains of civilians [specifically contract civilians working for the military], but never with military honors!
In fact, one time, JPAC team members conducting the recovery had to actually pay the postage to FEDEX the remains back to the family because the government would not pay for it.
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