Busted! Cindy Sheehan's Story Hits a Snag!

** Updates Below **
Big Hat Tip to Bob in St. Louis

On Tuesday, April 11, 2006, Cindy Sheehan wrote:

* Her son arrived in California in a cardboard box
* Her son was carried over to the dock by a forklift
* Her mortuary refused to pay the cemetery
* Her son was treated as an over-sized piece of luggage

But… Now we know none of this is true!

April 4, 2006 marked two years since Army Specialist Casey A. Sheehan was killed on a mission in Iraq. It has been two years since his death and despite the fact that the government would pay for a headstone for Casey, Casey does not have a headstone. Michelle Malkin got around to asking Cindy about this at a March protest.

Last week Cindy wrote on why her son’s grave is left unmarked. World Net Daily reported Cindy’s response:

I will tell the world why Casey has no marker yet. In the first place, does anyone who is attacking me know how Casey was brought home from Iraq? We picked him up in the United loading dock in a cardboard box and he was off-loaded into a hearse without one honor guard. We had to wait for about a half hour on a curb near the United freight area for his one escort, who rode from Dover Air Force Base in a seat, while Casey was treated as an over-sized piece of luggage. Has anybody held her other sobbing children who are sitting on a curb in San Francisco, waiting for the remains of their big brother to be carried over to the dock by a forklift?

WE don’t see them because Mama Bush doesn’t want to “bother her pretty mind” with the images… Our government discards and dishonors its own.

Cindy’s story would be heart wrenching and revolting

If it were true!

After making a couple of calls, I talked with MAJ OCPA Nathan Banks at the Pentagon’s Department of Media Relations who was very helpful. This is what I found out:

Cardboard boxes are never use to transfer soldiers!

“Crates” have not been used since Vietnam. Fallen soldiers today are moved in steel or aluminum caskets to their home of record (hometown). Further, the escort inspects the casket when it is unloaded. Since arrangements are made before each fallen soldier arrives to their home of record, the military would be shocked to hear that a forklift was used.

Here is more on the Official and Unclassified Department of Defense Policy on moving servicemembers killed overseas:

The Department of Defense policy is that all remains of servicemembers killed overseas during contingency operations will enter the United States via the Port Mortuary at Dover AFB. Once they go through the mortuary, they are transported to their final destination via commercial airlift or by hearse if within close distance to Dover AFB.

Before any remains leave Dover, port mortuary personnel coordinate with the receiving funeral home to arrange that the remains will be met at their final destination. We’ve arranged transport for over 2300 OEF and OIF casualties. In every case, the transport was arranged in advance and the funeral home was available to receive the remains.

Remains traveling from Dover may be escorted by either a service member, or in some cases, members of the deceased family to the final destination, at a minimum a military escort accompanies the remains to the final destination. Typically, the escort carries the U.S. flag during the flight, and the flag is draped over the casket upon arrival and during transportation to the funeral home. Our normal policy is to have a small honor guard render military honors as the remains of the deceased service member are taken off the plane.

Army Statement:

The Army ensures that the remains of our fallen are treated with dignity and respect at every step of their journey home. Our dead are transported to Dover Air Force Base at which point families make known their desires for final arrangements. In order to expeditiously meet the needs of our families, the Army typically uses domestic airlines and the local mortuary meets the plane at the airport. These are the same arrangements that mortuaries use when transporting the remains of civilians. Later at the memorial service and funeral, the Army extends its final tribute to the Soldier and continued condolences to their kin.”

DoD Response:

Q: What is the policy on transporting the bodies of soldiers killed overseas?
A: DoD policy is that all remains of servicemembers killed overseas during contingency operations will enter the United States via the Port Mortuary at Dover AFB. Once they go through the mortuary, they are transported to their final destination via commercial airlift or by hearse if within close distance to Dover AFB .

Q: Do all of them come through Dover first?
A: Yes, the port mortuary is the first stop in CONUS for all remains coming from OEF and OIF. (The procedural guidance has not changed about going to meet the remains of loved ones at the mortuary in Dover. We military continues to discourage families to go to the mortuary.)

Q: Is it policy to put the bodies on commercial flights once they arrive in the U.S.?
A: Yes, remains departing the port mortuary at Dover will be transported by commercial flight. Before any remains leave Dover, port mortuary personnel coordinate with the receiving funeral home to arrange that the remains will be met at their final destination.

Q: Does it depend on the area? It seems, in this case, that a military flight to San Diego shouldn’t have been too difficult to find.
A: The final destination of servicemember remains is not a factor. We’ve arranged transport for over 2300 OEF and OIF casualties. In every case, the transport was arranged in advance and the funeral home was available to receive the remains.

Q: Is there concern that transporting the bodies in this way is seen as disrespectful?
A: Not at all disrespectful, commercial airlines have historically been able to bring our fallen heroes home more quickly than if moved aboard military airlift. This method of transport is the same as that used to transport civilian remains, with the difference that in every case, the grieving family has the assistance of a casualty assistance officer and the port mortuary ensures that the remains are met.

Q: Do they all have an escort from Dover home?
A: Yes, either a service member, or in some cases, members of the deceased family may escort the remains to the final destination.

Q: What is DoD policy for escort of remains?
A: There is specific policy that each military service has requiring an escort from Dover AFB to the final destination. Each case is handled separately. In most cases, the remains travel in a transport case designed to protect the casket.

Q: Do the caskets arrive with a flag?
A: Yes, the escort typically carries the flag during the flight, and the flag is draped over the casket upon arrival and during transportation to the funeral home.

Q: What is the role of the casualty assistance officer with regard to the transport of the remains, does he get it to the funeral home, etc.?
A: A Mortuary Affairs Officer assists the family by coordinating the movement of the deceased person from the Dover AFB Port Mortuary to the funeral home the family will use. Both the Mortuary Affairs Officer and the Dover AFB Port Mortuary staff coordinate with the receiving funeral director.
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Much thanks to MAJ OCPA Nathan Banks at the Pentagon for this information.

Casey Sheehan, your sacrifice is not forgotten. Rest in Peace.

Update 1: (Tuesday 4:00 PM CST) Bob in St. Louis wrote in with this news…Via Lucianne

The Vacaville funeral home owner is very upset!
From the The Reporter from Vacaville, California:

A Vacaville funeral home owner took exception to “Peace Mom” Cindy Sheehan’s allegation that his mortuary did not fulfill its duties after her son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004.

In her blog last week, Sheehan wrote that the mortuary had refused to pay the cemetery as it was supposed to. Steve Nadeau, the mortuary’s owner, said Monday that not only did he properly pay the cemetery, but that he subsidized the process with his own money.

In an e-mail sent to The Reporter Sunday, Nadeau expressed hurt and disbelief at Sheehan’s comments. He said that the amount of money the military gave the mortuary for Casey’s funeral service and cemetery arrangements didn’t even come close to covering the costs.

“Several kind citizens made donations,” said Nadeau. “I absorbed the rest.”

This was not the only way in which he went above and beyond his responsibilities following Casey’s death, said Nadeau. He also provided a stretch limousine and a driver at his expense, he said, and invited the family to go to the airport with him so that he could accompany them. None of this was required, said Nadeau.

“Having known the Sheehan family for many years through St. Mary’s Catholic Church where Ms. Sheehan had previously been the youth director, it was my desire to provide care and dignity to Casey and the family. I did this in every respect.”

Nadeau said the military provided his mortuary $5,736 in funding to pay for the funeral service and cemetery arrangements. The funding came in May 2004, said Nadeau, and he paid the cemetery as soon as the costs had been totaled and the donations received.

In a phone call Monday, Sheehan stood by her allegations.

Update 2: (4:45 PM CST) I just got off the phone with Steve Nadeau from the Nadeau Funeral Home in Vacaville, California.

The Nadeau Funeral Home has a fine tradition of serving the Vacaville community and they went out of their way to make sure that the Sheehans were well taken care of during the difficult period when they had to bury their son, Casey.

Nadeau Funeral Home has also helped two other families of fallen soldiers. They work hard to help these suffering families of fallen soldiers.

Mr. Nadeau is very upset about the article that Cindy Sheehan wrote regarding the Nadeau Funeral Home in Vacaville, California. He also said that the funeral home is being inundated with calls of support from the community since the article was published. Mr. Nadeau said he wrote The Reporter in Vacaville but the paper did not publish most of the information that he had provided. Here is that information…

When questioned about the casket:

“The casket arrived in San Francisco from Dover which is 67 miles from Vacaville. Sacramento would not have been as far. The casket was a beautiful hardwood casket, government regulation. It was covered in an “airtray” to protect it during the flight. It is a certified covering that all caskets must be covered in when they are flown from one location to another.

What about the forklift?

There was no forklift. The military men present and the airport employees were very reverent in unloading the casket of this young man. They set the casket on a set of rollers and were very respectful in unloading Casey Sheehan.”

On the Sheehan Family:

This was very upsetting because we have known the Sheehan’s for years through St. Mary’s Catholic Church where Cindy Sheehan was the youth director. Casey Sheehan was a wonderful young man. We have known the family for years.

On Cindy’s article:

We do not know why she would want to bring down the name of this fine and respected funeral home. Cindy is sticking with her story. We have, of course, kept all of the receipts that show we paid the cemetery. If Cindy Sheehan wanted to pick on someone, she picked the wrong ones.

Zombie has the latest photos of Cindy speaking at a communist sponsored function in California.
California Conservative has more on the peace mother.
Charles Johnson says if this doesn’t completely discredit Mama Moonbat, nothing will.
It looks like that prediction at Op-For is panning out.

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