WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 20, 2010) -- The secretary of the Army announced Oct. 19 appointment of Patrick K. Hallinan as the new superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery.
Hallinan had been serving as acting superintendent of the cemetery since June, following the release of an Army inspector general report of management issues at the cemetery. Hallinan transferred to Arlington from the Veteran's Administration where he had oversight of 131 national cemeteries.
"Pat Hallinan's unique experience in national cemetery management, combined with his proven leadership and ability, made him the only choice possible for this important job," said Secretary of the Army John McHugh. "I have every confidence in Pat and Executive Director Kathryn Condon to strengthen management and oversight, and restore America's confidence in the operation of this most hallowed ground."
Hallinan said the responsibility of overseeing Arlington National Cemetery is an honor, and he looks forward to the challenges he and Katherine Condon, executive director of the Army national cemeteries program will face together.
"Becoming the superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery is the honor of a lifetime," Hallinan said. "I have confidence in the dedicated workforce at Arlington and the executive director, and I look forward to continuing the progress we've made in the past few months to ensure our nation's heroes are laid to rest with dignity and honor. It is a great honor to serve those who have sacrificed so much."
Before his work at ANC, Hallinan served as the director of the Office of Field Programs, National Cemetery Administration. There he was responsible for national cemetery policy, procedures, and centralized guidance on operations.
Hallinan began working for the VA as a temporary laborer at Long Island National Cemetery in 1977. Over a period of more than 31 years, he worked his way up to a supervisor, then to director of Calverton National Cemetery in New York, before taking reins of Field Programs for the National Cemetery Administration.
During the Vietnam-era, Hallinan served as an infantry squad leader with the U.S. Marine Corps and he is a life member of the Disabled American Veterans.
Hallinan will report to Condon, who was named executive director of the Army's cemetery program in June.
"No one is more uniquely qualified to be the superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery than Pat Hallinan," Condon said. "Pat's invaluable expertise has had a tremendously positive impact on cemetery operations in the last four months. I look forward to maintaining our momentum as a leadership team, as we continue making progress to ensure our veterans and their loved ones are laid to rest with dignity and respect at Arlington National Cemetery."
Hallinan takes charge of a cemetery which has been plagued with problems, including mismarked graves. Many of those problems came to light in June, with the release of the final report of an Army inspector general special inspection of the cemetery.
At that time, McHugh announced a number of new management measures, including creation of the new executive director position for Army cemeteries.
McHugh also announced Tuesday that the Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs have entered into a formal agreement that will allow Arlington National Cemetery employees to enroll in the VA's National Cemetery Administration Training Center. The VA has operated the center since 2004, providing training and professional development to employees who manage and operate national cemeteries.
"With 131 cemeteries nationwide, VA has tremendous experience in day-to-day cemetery operations, and we believe this unique professional development opportunity will help our employees develop the skills needed to better meet their mission," McHugh said.
The Department of Veterans Affairs' NCA Training Center emphasizes technical, supervisory and leadership training for employees ranging from supervisors and equipment operators, to groundskeepers and cemetery representatives. The NCA also offers training to state veteran cemetery employees to assist them in meeting national shrine standards at their local facilities.
"Both VA and the Army share an obligation to honor all who have served and sacrificed for their country," Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said. "VA will continue to assist the Army and provide access to our expertise in cemetery operations and systems."