Former CENTCOM Commander to Lead Dover Review Panel

Retired Army Gen. John Abizaid, former head of US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, will head the independent panel that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is assembling to review the procedures at the Air Force-run military mortuary at Dover AFB, Del., announced Defense Department officials Tuesday. Panetta “knows that Gen. Abizaid shares his commitment to ensuring we continue to do all we can to met the highest standards of caring for the remains of our fallen heroes,” said Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby. The panel will evaluate the changes made at the mortuary in the wake of findings that mortuary personnel mishandled several fallen service members’ remains. It will determine the soundness of those improvements and whether more are needed. The panel has until the first week of January to report back to Panetta. Originally former US Surgeon General Richard Carmona was tapped to head the panel, but he recused himself to run for the Senate in Arizona. (AFPS report by Jim Garamone)