By Mary Ann Barton
A Fairfax man who was to be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery was reportedly buried in someone else's grave.
When Alvin Chapman of Dyersburg, Tenn., came to Northern Virginia to mourn the loss of his 80-year-old twin, retired Col. Joseph Malvin "Mal" Chapman, over the Thanksgiving holiday, he got a shock when he looked down to see a stranger in the casket, dressed in his brother's decorated Army colonel uniform, according to WJLA-TV.
Joseph Malvin Chapman died Nov. 21.
"This just isn’t right. This should never, never happen. This is something you read in a fiction novel or see in a movie on TV,” James McLain told the TV station. McLain is the son of Joseph Malvin Chapman.
The family told WJLA that not only did the funeral home mix up the bodies, but they dressed the wrong man in Chapman's uniform, something that took their father 28 years to earn.
“My dad’s uniform... that’s degradation beyond words for a military man,” McLain told the TV station.
During his 28 years of service in the US Army as a Signals and Communications officer, Chapman served tours in Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and two tours in Germany. He also served in multiple stateside locations, including the Pentagon, where he met and married Carolyn Alderton in 1977. (Carolyn died in 2006.) His final active duty position before retirement in 1983 was as the Post Commander at Vint Hill Farms Station in Warrenton.
The funeral home refused to say where Chapman’s body is, according to WJLA. However, Everly's manager told McLain that his father has been buried in Winchester and that a judge will have to order an exhumation, the TV station reported.
"Mal" always looked forward to the bi-weekly Monday Morning breakfast meetings with the United Methodist Men's group, the Fuddy-Duddys, according to his obituary on the Everly website.