Air Force Admits Disposing of Soldiers’ Remains in Landfill
Air Force officials say the military mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for years disposed of portions of troops’ remains by cremating them and dumping the ashes in a Virginia landfill.
Air Force officials say the procedure was limited to fragments or portions of body parts that could not be identified, or were later recovered from the battlefield, and which family members had said could be disposed of by the military.
An Air Force spokesman says the body parts were cremated, then incinerated, and taken to a landfill by a military contractor. He likened the procedure to the disposal of medical waste.
Families of the fallen service members were never told of this, and officials with the landfill operator says the company was never informed about the origin of the ashes.
The spokesman also could not estimate how many body parts were handled this way. “That was the common practice at the time, and since then our practices have improved.”
The Air Force now buries unidentified cremated remains at sea.
Somehow, this just doesn’t square with the respect and reverence Americans have for their war dead, and their devotion to honoring their memories. Something about this is just wrong. Very wrong.