Marines overhaul policy for returning belongings of KIA
January 12, 2006
ARLINGTON, Va. — Complaints from families have prompted the Marine Corps to tighten procedures for returning the personal effects of troops killed in action, according to the Marines.
The action follows a 2005 investigation by the Inspector General of the Marine Corps, said Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Douglas Powell in an e-mail response to questions.
In March 2005, the Marine Forces Reserve asked the IG to look into a series of complaints from families of Marines and sailors killed in action, who said not all of their loved ones’ belongings had been returned to them, according to a July 2005 report.
Specifically, some families complained that items such as CamelBaks were missing when their loved ones’ personal effects were shipped from Joint Personal Effects Depot (JPED) in Aberdeen, Md., Powell said on Tuesday.
Upon reviewing the way personal belongings were returned, the IG found the Marine Corps had no guidelines on what to do with equipment the killed troops had bought themselves, such as CamelBaks and holsters, the IG report says.
“According to the Marine Corps liaison personnel at [Aberdeen], attempts were made by the Marines to deliver the presumed organizational equipment to the II MEF Consolidated Issue Facility at Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Base, Quantico,” the report says. “However, since most of the equipment was not actually government-issued items, neither institution would accept the equipment; consequently, the items were returned to the JPED in Aberdeen for disposal.”
The report suggested a series of recommendations including overhauling the Marine Corps regulation on returning fallen troops personal effects to provide detailed instructions for who is responsible for collecting, protecting, shipping and receiving the items.
The Marine administrative announcement issued Monday is intended to let Marines know that changes in the procedures for returning personal effects of KIAs will soon go into effect, Powell said.
“In most cases of discrepancies that [the inspector general] found, immediate corrections and improvements were made to better secure and track personal effects,” he said.
Policy on returning personal effects
Outlined in a Marine administrative announcement put out this week, the changes include: