Army Secretary Asks for Probe of Firing
Saturday, July 12, 2008; Page A02
Army Secretary Pete Geren has asked his staff for an internal review to examine the Army's firing last month of Gina Gray, the former public affairs director of Arlington National Cemetery who had worked to restore media coverage of military funerals.
"The goal is to strike the right balance between the family's needs and wishes, which always are our top priority, and the interest of the press," Army spokesman Paul Boyce said in an e-mail.
"The Army continues to work with families and the media to ensure a respectful experience that honors the memories of our fallen soldiers and veterans," Boyce said, noting that the cemetery "hosts thousands of local reporters and national media as well as hundreds of documentary productions and book photographers each year."
In a phone interview yesterday, Gray said, "I am definitely encouraged by any investigation into the mismanagement at Arlington Cemetery."
The Washington Post reported on Gray's firing yesterday. After assuming her director position three months ago, Gray discovered that cemetery officials were trying to impose new media restrictions on funerals of Iraq war dead, despite families of the fallen having granted permission for coverage.
Gray believed the new restrictions were wrong and were not supported by Army regulations, The Post reported. But she was demoted six weeks after The Post first reported on her attempts to restore news coverage, and she was fired on June 27.
"Had I not put my foot down, had I just gone along with it and not said regulations were being violated, I'm sure I'd still be there," Gray told The Post, calling her firing retaliatory. "It's about doing the right thing."
Geren is seeking more information on the matter, Boyce said. "The secretary of the Army has asked for an internal review by his staff," he said.