By Rachel Ponder, APG NewsDecember 3, 2012
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Executive Director of the Army National Cemeteries Program Kathryn Condon visited the APG North and APG South military cemeteries and one of the post's 14 private cemeteries during Nov. 16 a tour.
Condon, who was appointed to this position two years ago, led a complete organizational overhaul of Arlington National Cemetery after a 2010 Department of Defense report revealed misplaced remains and gross mismanagement at the world renowned graveyard. As a result of Condon's leadership, ANC, the final resting place for more than 300,000 individuals, is again recognized as the military's center of excellence for cemeteries and a state-of-the art national treasure.
During Condon's presentation to Team APG, she said all military cemeteries are to achieve the same accountability, operational and management standards achieved at ANC. This mandate is in accordance with Army Regulation 290-5, Post Cemeteries, DA PAM 290-5 Administration, Operation, and Maintenance of the Army Cemeteries, and the Department of Veterans Affairs regulations.
"No matter where a veteran is buried in a cemetery under the Army's oversight, the exact same accounting that was accomplished at Arlington National Cemetery will be replicated," Condon said.
She also discussed ANC's gravesite accountability technology--a wireless smartphone app that leads visitors to burial sites by following a route on their handheld device with military-grade accuracy. (View or download this technology at www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/GravesiteLocator/GravesiteLocator.aspx.)
Garrison Plans and Operations Specialist Fred Posadas said he is working with Installation Management Command, G4 of Cemetery Operations, and the Army Contract Scanning Facility to upload the extensive geographic information system. Posadas is responsible for obtaining cemetery records of all interments and taking photos of headstones. After the data is processed and consolidated, he said the information system for APG cemeteries should be available to the public next year.
During her visit, Condon visited both the APG South military cemetery. Considered inactive, it holds 138 interments. Buried in this cemetery are chemical warfare pioneers who founded Edgewood Arsenal back in 1918, and who in the path of duty lost their lives by accident or disease. The APG North Cemetery, also inactive, holds 302 interments.
After tours of the cemeteries, Condon declared them up to standard, and said she was "very impressed." She presented Posadas, who has maintained the APG North and APG South military cemeteries and the post's 14 private cemeteries since 1997, a commander's coin for his superior work and dedication.