Private Kovco still can’t rest in peace

April 27, 2006 8:55 AM

Photo: ADF

Imagine you are the widow of a dead soldier and they gave you the wrong body to bury. I think you’d be pretty pissed off. But this is exactly what has happened …

The grieving family, friends and fellow soldiers of Private Kovco had been preparing for his burial in Gippsland today with full military honours.

But the wrong casket containing an unidentified body was flown into Melbourne early this morning instead of Private Kovco’s, the first Australian soldier killed in Iraq.

The body will now not be returned to the family until at least Saturday.

Private Kovco’s mother Judy said: “They’ve told us at some stage that it’s a Bosnian in that coffin.”

More at Body bungle: wife blasts PM – National –

And now as we have all expected, Private Kovco wasn’t cleaning his gun when he got shot. But it is still classed as an “accidental discharge”.

[Defense Minister Dr. Brendan Nelson said], “It was near him in his vicinity and he made some kind of movement which suggests that it discharged.

“There was obviously a live round in it which there should not have been and that’s as much as I should probably say at the moment.”

More at Kovco ‘didn’t die cleaning gun’ – National –

Did that clear up anything for you? If they weren’t hiding anything, would he end his statement with “that’s as much as I should probably say at the moment”? Suicide or accident, I think the family deserves the truth in a timely fashion. And not after reporters have had to dig it out of the Army or the Department of Defense reluctantly.

But being the cynical me, I doubt that the authorities involved would ever utter the word “suicide” because that will just open up a whole new can of worms for them. Why was he suicidal? Why didn’t the Army notice this? If they had, why didn’t they do anything about it? Are there programs to adequately deal with psychological stress and depression? There isn’t? Why not?

Frankly, if I were them, that’s just too many questions that I would want to deal with.

Added 12:44PM: As always, Dominic Knight has a good write-up. I’m such a fanboy.

[tags]Kovco, war, suicide[/tags]

6 thoughts on “Private Kovco still can’t rest in peace

  1. ian

    Pretty timely report, I’d say. Just read about it this morning and was imagining the confusion and fury on the faces of the family members… And here you are reporting it.

    The morgue messed up big time…

  2. mooiness Post author

    Blaming it on the morgue is lame. This is the Army! Not some civilian nobody. You’d expect them to follow the whole process through and check. I smell a conspiracy. Either that or pure incompetence. I don’t know which is worse.

  3. SimplySiti

    Given that the ‘person’ in-charge of collecting the body is a private company, it is much easier for the army i.e. the ministry of defence to push the blame.

    Thats what happen when the government contracts out public services – lower accountabilty and more excuses to say “it wasn’t me”.

    The wife of the deceased actually rang Howard in the middle of the night and all she got was a “really sorry, but it wasn’t my fault” kinda reply.

    How frustrating for the family.

  4. Pingback: Mooiness! » The year that was - my 2006, part 1

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