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Army reviewing Fort Bragg cemetery records

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Soldiers working in the Fort Bragg cemetery are cross-checking paper records with the information engraved on each of the 2,644 headstones. Soldiers working in the Fort Bragg cemetery are cross-checking paper records with the information engraved on each of the 2,644 headstones.
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -

Record keeping at Fort Bragg's on-post cemetery is moving into the 21st century.

This week a team of soldiers from Fort Bragg is helping a team from the federal level of the Army in an effort to verify records and get them into a digital database.

The federal team is doing similar work during visits to all 27 of the Army's cemeteries at 17 locations around the country.

Soldiers working in the Fort Bragg cemetery are cross-checking paper records with the information engraved on each of the 2,644 headstones. They are ensuring the information matches. In total there are 3,193 interment records because some family members share headstones. All the records are being checked for accuracy.

The soldiers are also taking photos of the front and back of each headstone, and they are digitally uploading the specific geographic location of each headstone. The location information is used in a mapping system that is designed to record the location of each headstone within a few centimeters.

The information gathered by 15 soldiers in the cemetery is passed to 10 Army analysts who double check the records. The analysts often refer to death certificates, and they may also need other ancestral records to ensure the cemetery's information is accurate.

The effort to review and correct Army cemetery records comes after errors were discovered at Arlington National Cemetery in recent years. Since then more than 300,000 gravesites have been validated at Arlington.

Records for Arlington National Cemetery are now available online and in a smartphone application. Gravesite information can now be found through a searchable database, and the mapping function allows each site to be found more quickly and easily. Visitors can also make a virtual visit to a gravesite online.

The Army's goal is to have similar information available for all on-post cemeteries, including Fort Bragg, within a year.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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