By Ms. Clester Burdell (AMC)December 6, 2012
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Executive Director of the Army National Cemeteries Program Kathryn Condon and members of her staff visited Anniston Nov. 30 to tour cemeteries that are maintained by Anniston Army Depot.
Since August, the group has visited 25 cemeteries in an effort to make certain that all military cemeteries receive the same accountability, operational and organizational standards that are in place at Arlington National Cemetery. Two years ago, Condon was selected to her post there and has since totally revamped the past procedures.
"We want to ensure we know what right looks like," she said while meeting with Depot Commander Col. Brent Bolander, Chief of Staff Phillip Trued, and Real Property Accountable Officer Martha Corby.
Condon's office developed a digital repository using geospatial technology which allows an individual to immediately locate -- via a wireless application - where one is buried in a cemetery under the Army's oversight.
"The goal is to set up a training program at Arlington so that you'll learn the same process and have the same accounting," she continued.
"Being able to digitize will make a huge difference," said Lt. Col. Stephanie Ahern, strategic planner at ANC. When a name is input, the user will be able to see when the deceased was buried, the date of birth, date of death and images of the headstone.
Anniston Army Depot maintains six cemeteries, comprised of ground and fence maintenance and ensuring the tombstones are upright. Three of them are located on depot property, one is located on Pelham Range and two are located on the former Fort McClellan property. Condon's stop led to two cemeteries -- the McClellan Post Cemetery and the McClellan German-Italian POW Cemetery.
"We owe it to the families to preserve the gravesites," said Bolander, as they walked amongst the 355 headstones located at the Post Cemetery. "It's part of our nation's history and the continued upkeep builds community relations." Established in 1917, the Post Cemetery closed in 1975, but is open to additional internments. Several observances are held there each year, to include 4th of July events, Veterans Day ceremonies and Wreaths Across America.
Condon and her staff were pleased with the order of the gravesites.
"I am positively impressed with the condition of the cemeteries here and the pride that is exhibited in the care of our cemeteries across the nation," she said.