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COL Randall C.
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Edited 1 mo ago
Slight correction LTC Eugene Chu - She was active duty at the time of her death, not retired. If she was retired, the DD93 would never have come into consideration (as long as it wasn't within 120 days of separation).

I agree this is a bad situation, but the Army is correct (they are the executive agent overseeing Arlington) that they must go by the DD93 unless there is a court that gives that legal authority to one of the survivors. If she had not specified how she wanted her remains handled, then it would have been up to the PADD (Person Authorized to Direct Disposition of Human Remains) she designated (or, in 'default PADD' order*, the surviving spouse, children by age, parents, etc.)

Skipping all the emotional language ("this is dishonoring her service"), it comes down to a legal document that expresses her wishes. The disposition of what's on a DD93 is no different than a certified written will - you can't make verbal changes. They have to be officially changed in order to be enforceable.

While I have no doubt that the accounts given are true (she changed her mind and wanted to be buried instead of cremated), the legal wishes of the service member cannot be overridden with a hearsay statement. They have to be changed through the legal system (the family can, and has I believe, make an emergency request).
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* PADD order - https://www.health.mil/Reference-Center/Glossary-Terms/2015/12/29/Person-Authorized-to-Direct-Disposition-of-Human-Remains
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SFC Intelligence Analyst
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It's not a technicality if she didn't change it in writing. How are they supposed to know that she changed her mind? Her husband having it "typed up" in a Word document doesn't really prove it. The only thing she has that's official is the DD93. They were told what they needed to do to change her wishes.

No one said she wasn't important. They're just following the paperwork they have that's official. "Denigrating" her service??? No they aren't. Absolutely not. Her wishes are very specific in the only official documentation the military has.

I'm going to make it very clear - my daughter can do whatever she wants when I'm dead. Cremate me. Bury me. Wherever, I'm gonna be dead. I don't care. That's all for her anyway. Just get the military honors and then do whatever. Donate my body to scence. I don't care.
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SGT Unit Supply Specialist
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LTC Eugene Chu thanks for sharing this heart tugging story about a soldier who served her Country Honorably. Hopefully... her clear intent... when she initially planned her burial as directed on Form DD93, can be modified by the Court... to accommodate her verbal change of mind. Rest in Peace.
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