Pentagon investigating reports astronaut John Glenn's remains were disrespected

By: Nathan Rousseau Smith for Veuer

John Glenn was a decorated Marine, respected senator and history-making astronaut. Now the Pentagon is investigating whether his body may have been disrespected before his burial.

A high-ranking employee at the Dover Air Force Base may have offered to show Glenn's body to others, according to the Military Times, which obtained a memo showing that the Defense Department is investigating the "clearly inappropriate and personally shocking" incident.

John Glenn through the years

John Glenn through the years
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John Glenn through the years
UNDATED FILE PHOTO - Sen. John Glenn could get a chance to prove he still has "the right stuff" if NASA decides to let him fly aboard the space shuttle, nearly 36 years after his landmark first space flight. NASA said it planned a "major announcement" on Friday, and Glenn, a 76-year-old former astronaut, grinned broadly when asked about reports that he would make the space voyage but offered no hints on January 15. Glenn is shown in his spacesuit in NASA photo taken in 1961 or 1962. SPACE GLENN
(Original Caption) 1962-Astronaut John H. Glenn undergoes last minute mediacl checks befoe the MA-6 launch.
(Original Caption) Ca. 1961-Cape Canaveral, Florida-Astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr., is checked out in his pressure suit before entering the procedures trainer at the Manned Spacecraft Center at the Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. Glenn, a Marine Lieutenant Colonel, was selected as the primary mission pilot for America's manned orbital flight scheduled for late 1961 or early 1962.
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - February 20, 1962 - Astronaut John Glenn, Jr. photographed in space by an automatic sequence motion picture camera. Glenn was in a state of weightlessness traveling at 17,500 mph as this picture was taken.
Astronaut John Glenn (Photo by NASA/Roger Ressmeyer/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - At NASA's hangar S, Astronaut John Glenn, Jr. is being suited in preparation for his earth orbital flight aboard Mercury Atlas 6. Feb.20, 1962.
PROJECT MERCURY -- Pictured: (l-r) Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, the first American astronaut to orbit Earth John Glenn at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for Glenn's presentation ceremony of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Distinguished Service Medal on February 23, 1962 -- (Photo by: Fred Hermansky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 26: Astronaut Lt. Col. John Glenn and wife in motorcade greet cheering fans on Pennsylvania Avenue. (Photo by Jack Clarity/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NATION'S FUTURE -- Pictured: American astronaut Colonel John Glenn (Photo by Bob Ganley/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) 3/9/1962-Washington, D.C.- Lt. Col. John Glenn flashes his now famous smile after he was presented two military insignia here today, for his spacetrip around the earth. Glenn received the Navy's 'astronaut's wings' (on his left breast pocket flap) and the Marine Corps' 'astronaut's insignia' (on his right chest).
GREAT EXLPORATIONS WITH JOHN GLENN -- 'The Trail of Stanley and Livingstone' -- Pictured: Col. John Glenn for a documentary through Tanzania to retrace the 1871 route taken on Henry Morton Stanley's search for David Livingstone's missionary -- Photo by: Herb Ball/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
During his campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination, American politician and former astronaut Senator John Glenn (right) accepts a United States Space Camp cap and t-shirt from a young man at the US Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, Alabama, January 11, 1984. (Photo Robert R. McElroy/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 1: John Glenn and wife, Annie, pose for a photograph September 1, 1986 in New York City. (Photo by Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images)
U.S. Sen. John H. Glenn Jr. (D.-Ohio), is assisted by suit experts Jean Alexander and Carlous Gillis prior to a training session at the Johnson Space Center (JSC). The STS-95 crew members are getting prepared for a scheduled Oct. 29 launch aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.
UNITED STATES - JULY 22: Sen. John Glenn talks about Alan Shepard at a news conference at the Capitol after learning of his fellow astronaut's death. Glenn was Shepard's backup on the first U.S. space flight and will fly on a shuttle mission this fall. (Photo by Harry Hamburg/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Glenn, John Herschel *18.07.1921- Astronaut, USA - Halbportrait, im NASA-Overall - Februar 1999 (Photo by Bonn-Sequenz/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 27: Astronaut John Glenn during the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democratic National Convention 2004, in Boston, Ma.. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 24: Former astronaut John Glenn looks on at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) on September 24, 2009 in New York City. The Fifth Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) looks to gather prominent individuals in politics, business, science, academics and religion to discuss global issues such as climate change and peace in the Middle East. The event, founded by former president Bill Clinton after he left office, is held the same week as the General Assembly at the United Nations as most world leaders are in New York. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
John Glenn, former Marine Corps pilot, astronaut and U.S. Senator, left, receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, May 29, 2012. The Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 26: Astronaut and former Ohio Senator John Glenn throws out the first pitch prior to the game between the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees at Progressive Field on August 26, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Former Ohio Senator and NASA astronaut John Glenn and his wife Annie sit in the audience during the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting September 23, 2012 in New York. AFP PHOTO/STEPHEN CHERNIN (Photo credit should read STEPHEN CHERNIN/AFP/GettyImages)

Glenn's body was apparently under the care of mortuary branch chief William Zwicharowski who may have "offered to allow inspectors to view the deceased" on two separate occasions.

A spokesman for the Air Force said they are investigating the matter and will hold those responsible accountable.

SEE ALSO: Chicago woman auctioning off moon dust from Apollo 11 mission for $4 million

Glenn passed away last December at the age of 95. In 1962 he became the first man to orbit the Earth and, in 1998, the oldest to enter space. He also served as a Democratic senator from Ohio for 24 years.

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