Disclosure Quiets Uproar Over Arlington Burials
By Mike Allen Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, November 22, 1997
Secretary Togo D. West Jr. released the names yesterday of 69 people who have received special permission to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery during the Clinton administration, saying he wanted to silence accusations that politics compromised the decisions.

Veterans groups, which had fanned the controversy, said the list showed that nothing improper had occurred. Most of those named were relatives of veterans interred with them in the same graves. Others were veterans who didn't meet the cemetery's precise criteria, and four were government officials who the Army said had performed distinguished service.

After days of indignant speeches about the matter, some Republicans in Congress were contrite last night, but others said they planned to hold hearings on the matter anyway.

The American Legion, which represents 3 million veterans, Thursday had demanded "a swift and thorough probe," saying that the memory of America's fallen would be tarnished if "one person had been buried in Arlington as a gesture of political patronage."

After meeting with West yesterday, John F. Sommer, the legion's executive director, conceded that no one had been. "It seems clear that the anonymous accusations regarding unqualified burials at Arlington were unfounded," Sommer said.

West said he had resisted disclosure -- despite four days of criticism -- to protect the privacy of "families who have already given once and should not be asked by this nation -- or by any voices raised in this nation -- to give again."

"Nevertheless," he went on at a Pentagon briefing, "the protection we thought we were giving to these families is turning into a cloud of suspicion."

Of the 69 names on the list, four were approved by President Clinton: former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who died in 1993; Elvera S. Burger, who died in 1994, a year before her husband, former chief justice Warren E. Burger; J.W. Seale, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent who had served in the Army and was killed during a mission in Peru; and D.C. homicide detective Henry J. Daly, a former Marine who was killed in a shootout at police headquarters in 1994.

The name that had drawn the most GOP attention was M. Larry Lawrence, a friend of Clinton's and generous Democratic donor who was ambassador to Switzerland when he died last year.

West spoke passionately about Lawrence yesterday, saying he had enlisted in the merchant marine at age 18 and had been wounded in World War II. "I say to the family and to his widow and to all who know him, there is no dispute," West said.

Among those on the list were Albert B. Sabin, a World War II veteran who later developed the oral polio vaccine; John Scali, who had been a war correspondent and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and had played a critical negotiating role during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis; and Robert C. Frasure, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State killed on a diplomatic mission in Bosnia.

Another was Warren D. Parks, a World War II veteran who was the descendant of slaves who had worked on the plantation where the cemetery now sits.

Congressional Republicans and conservative radio hosts had stirred up a furor over Arlington burial privileges. On Wednesday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, expressed outrage at the "report of waivers sold by [the Democratic National Committee] for national cemetery plots."

Last night, McCain issued a statement saying he was "aware of no evidence of wrongdoing or impropriety," but he said he would "continue to look into this matter."

Others were not satisfied. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said he wants details of waivers at all national cemeteries.

Officials expect the burial ground at Arlington to be filled by 2020, so the Army, which maintains the cemetery, has strict criteria for burial there. Among those qualified are veterans who retired from the service, were wounded in combat or received the Purple Heart or several other decorations. Some relatives are automatically eligible to be buried with those veterans.

Any other burial requires a waiver, which can be issued only by the president or the secretary of the army. A record number of waivers for one administration, 69, have been granted since Clinton took office in 1993. West says that's because more requests were received.

In June, Rep. Terry Everett (R-Ala.), the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs subcommittee on oversight and investigations, asked the Pentagon for the files as part of an investigation he was conducting into the increasing number of waivers that were being granted.

The controversy was stirred up afresh Tuesday when G. Gordon Liddy, the Watergate figure who now is host of a national radio show, read from a forthcoming Insight magazine article suggesting that spots in Arlington "were exchanged for large donations to the Clinton-Gore campaign."

By Thursday, Rush Limbaugh was opening his show, which is carried on 600 radio stations, with a parody of the song "Spirit in the Sky." The refrain was changed to "honor you can buy."

Calls of protest flooded congressional offices and veterans groups issued statements of outrage. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said Thursday that he would subpoena the list if it wasn't released. 

Everett said in statement that he still plans to hold a hearing. He had said earlier that the list of waivers included several "questionable" cases involving "well-known individuals." Everett was traveling last night, and his staff could not elaborate.

Clinton and others at the White House seethed about the reports for days. Yesterday, press secretary Michael McCurry ripped into congressional Republicans and the news media "who spread the lies."

West is Clinton's choice to take over as secretary of veterans affairs, and McCurry said the controversy should not affect his standing. "He handled himself completely honorably, and I think that's manifestly clear now," McCurry said.

Asked how Specter should feel, McCurry snapped, "Ashamed."

Staff writer Peter Baker and Metro resource director Margot Williams contributed to this report. 



Recipients of Special Permission for Burial
in Arlington National Cemetery:

Army Secretary Togo D. West Jr. provided a list of 69 people who had received special permission to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery during the Clinton administration. They are listed chronologically, with the date of approval at the end of each entry.

The four names marked with an asterisk were approved by President Clinton. All the rest were approved by the secretary of the Army or the acting secretary of the Army.

Thurgood Marshall*, associate justice of the Supreme Court; Jan. 29, 1993.

Albert B. Sabin, Army veteran of World War II who later developed the oral polio vaccine; March 3, 1993.

Francis D. Campbell, Army veteran interred in the same grave as his brother; March 30, 1993.

William Patrick Collins, decorated Army veteran of the Vietnam War; May 28, 1993.

Raymond A. Walsh III, Army National Guard member interred in the same grave as his father; Aug. 14, 1993.

Jonathan P. Bedrick, cremated remains of adult son placed in the same niche as his father; Oct. 6, 1993.

Louise Talbot, veteran of World War II interred in the same grave site as her former spouse; Oct. 7, 1993.

Kevin DeLong, cremated remains of an adult son of a Navy commander interred in his parents' future grave site; Oct. 12, 1993.

Pendary Haines Reese, remarried widow of a retired Army colonel interred in the same grave as her first husband; Jan. 3, 1994.

Jean H. Mims, remarried widow of a Navy lieutenant commander interred in the same grave as her first husband; Jan. 6, 1994.

Elizabeth A. Lemon Williams, remarried widow of a retired Army colonel interred in the same grave as her first husband; Jan. 11, 1994.

Florence Halpin (Myers) Siegel, remarried widow of a Navy lieutenant junior grade interred in the same grave as her first husband; Jan. 13, 1994.

Enriqueta Tamez, mother of a U.S. Army colonel interred in the future grave site of her son; April 15, 1994.

Luzmila F. Pastor, mother of an Army captain interred in the future grave site of her son; April 18, 1994.

Sean Patrick Fitzmaurice, cremated remains of adult son of a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel placed in the same grave site as his father; May 12, 1994.

Elvera S. Burger*, wife of retired Chief Justice Warren E. Burger (who later was buried in the same grave site); May 31, 1994.

Evelyn Tobin Clark, remarried widow of an Army major inurned in the same grave as her first husband; June 3, 1994.

Elizabeth B. Baehr, unmarried, adult daughter of an Army brigadier general whose cremated remains were placed in the same grave site as her father and mother; June 15, 1994.

Warren D. Parks, honorably discharged veteran who served during World War II in the Coast Guard and the descendent of three generations of slaves who served the former Arlington House plantation and were buried at the cemetery; June 28, 1994.

Rita Murnane, an unmarried, adult daughter of a former Army private first class interred in the same grave site as her parents; July 1, 1994.

Marianne Long, an adult daughter interred in the same grave site as her father, an Army corporal; Aug. 12, 1994.

J.W. Seale*, Army veteran and Drug Enforcement Administration agent killed in an airplane crash while on a mission in Peru; Aug. 31, 1994.

Matthew Firebaugh, unmarried, adult son of a former Marine Corps lieutenant whose cremated remains were interred in same grave site as an infant brother; Sept. 7, 1994.

Elizabeth C. Wagner, unmarried adult daughter interred in the same grave site as her parents; Sept. 15, 1994.

Milrae Nelson Wirsig, remarried widow of an Army major general interred in the same grave as her first husband; Oct. 3, 1994.

Jef Mittleman, unmarried, adult son of a former Navy lieutenant interred in the same grave site as his mother; Oct. 20, 1994.

Eileen M. Rainey, unmarried, adult daughter of a former Army lieutenant interred in the future grave site of her father; Oct. 25, 1994.

Henry Joseph Daly*, Marine Corps veteran killed in the line of duty as a D.C. police officer; Nov. 23, 1994.

Maerose Evans Humphreys, remarried widow of a Navy commander interred in the same grave as her first husband; Jan 25, 1995.

Fanny DeRussay Herr, unmarried, adult daughter of an Army major general interred in the same grave as her parents; March 3, 1995.

Ethel Jungman Munson, remarried widow of an Army Colonel interred in the same grave site as her first husband; March 3, 1995.

Clark G. Fiester, Air Force veteran who was an assistant secretary of the Air Force when he died on official business; April 18, 1995.

Joseph L. Merton, Army Air Forces veteran who flew 28 combat missions in World War II as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen; April 28, 1995.

Crystal Bullock, remarried widow of an Army colonel interred in same grave as her first husband; May 11, 1995.

Jean Black Stallings, remarried widow of a Navy commander interred in the same grave as her first husband; May 15, 1995.

Clarence T. Marsh, Air Force National Guard major who died in a plane crash during a training exercise; May 25, 1995.

Dorothy Lee Walton, remarried widow of an Army master sergeant interred in the same grave as her first husband; May 31, 1995.

Ona Gibson Cooper, unmarried, adult daughter of a retired Army lieutenant general interred in the same grave as her parents; June 9, 1995.

Robert Cade Oliver, decorated World War II Army veteran who later played an important role in the implementation of the Marshall Plan; June 26, 1995.

Richard Henry Grabinski, unmarried, adult son of an Army sergeant inurned in the same niche as his father; Aug. 15, 1995.

Joseph J. Kruzel Jr., former Army captain who was a deputy assistant secretary of defense when killed while on a diplomatic mission in Bosnia; Aug. 22, 1995.

Robert C. Frasure, deputy assistant secretary of state and a special envoy of the president killed while on a diplomatic mission in Bosnia; Aug. 22, 1995.

Gladys Mona Lynch Jordan, an adult daughter of an Army brigadier general whose cremated remains were interred in the same grave as her parents; Oct. 2, 1995.

Joseph C. Sciortino, Army veteran disabled in World War II; Oct. 6, 1995.

John Scali, war correspondent during World War II, critical negotiator during the Cuban missile crisis and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; Oct. 10, 1995.

Bertha Edna Zerbinati, the remarried widow of an Army master sergeant inurned with her husband; Oct. 24, 1995.

Florence R. Doleman, the unmarried, adult daughter of an Army lieutenant interred in the same grave site as her parents; Nov. 28, 1995.

M. Larry Lawrence, a merchant marine veteran injured during combat in World War II and U.S. ambassador to Switzerland at the time of his death; Jan. 10, 1996.

Michael A. Mauney, a member of the National Guard who was killed after a weekend drill; Feb. 2, 1996.

Nancy E. Dyer, Navy Reserve commander killed while on full-time active duty for training; Apr. 19, 1996.

Elizabeth Singer Meinhardt, remarried widow of an Army colonel interred in the same grave as her first husband; May 17, 1996.

Hart T. Mankin, an Air Force veteran and former Navy general counsel who was a judge on the Court of Veterans Appeals at the time of his death; May 28, 1996.

Michael Browne, unmarried, adult son of retired Army colonel interred in the future grave of his father; June 3, 1996.

Margaret Holmes, adult daughter of an Army private interred in the same grave as her father; July 17, 1996.

Virginia Lechlider, remarried widow of an enlisted Navy veteran interred in the same grave as her first husband; July 25, 1996.

Eleanor Graf Warren, remarried widow of an Army captain interred in the same grave as her first husband; Aug. 20, 1996.

Richard Jasper Jr., cremated remains of an unmarried, adult son of an Army lieutenant colonel interred in the same grave as his mother; Nov. 4, 1996.

Alan K. Olsen, Air Force veteran who was a senior Department of the Air Force official at the time of his death; Dec. 27, 1996.

Stanley J. Boyd, unmarried, adult son of a retired Navy captain interred in the future grave site of his parents; March 10, 1997.

Dorothy M. Negrotto, cremated remains of an unmarried, adult daughter of an Army colonel interred in the same grave as her parents; April 28, 1997.

Blanche Korn, mother of a Navy rear admiral interred in the same grave site as her son; April 29, 1997.

Marion C. Sears, cremated remains of an unmarried, adult daughter of a Navy captain interred in the same grave as her father; May 23, 1997.

Marion Burns Lane Lovett, remarried widow of a Navy lieutenant commander interred in the same grave as her first husband; July 11, 1997.

Christopher R. Cole, cremated remains of an unmarried adult son inurned in the same niche as his father's remains; July 23, 1997.

Roland W. Charles, Navy veteran who went on to a career at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; July 24, 1997.

Ramon Garcia, a retired Navy Reserve captain who died while on government business for the Department of Justice; July 30, 1997.

Ann Gaines Louisell, cremated remains of an adult daughter of a Navy captain interred in the same grave as her parents; Aug. 5, 1997.

Wayne R. Treon, cremated remains of an unmarried, adult son interred in the same grave as his mother and stepfather; Sept. 17, 1997.

Douglas Beckman, the unmarried, adult son of a former Army lieutenant colonel interred in the future grave site of his parents; Sept. 23, 1997.

Source: Office of the Secretary of the Army