Report: Air Force Dumped Remains Of 274 Troops In Landfill

By: MSNBC.com
By: MSNBC.com

The incinerated partial remains of at least 274 American troops were dumped in a Virginia landfill, according to government records, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

Air Force officials said that the dumping was hidden from families who had given authorization for the remains to be disposed of in a respectful and dignified manner, according to the newspaper.

There were no plans to inform families, officials told the newspaper.

New information revealed that the practice, exposed by The Washington Post in November, had become very widespread until it was halted in 2008, the newspaper reported.

Last month, Pentagon and Air Force officials said that figuring out how many remains were sent to the King George County, Va., landfill would take combing through the records of more than 6,300 troops.
Full story in the Washington Post: Air Force dumped more ashes than acknowledged

"It would require a massive effort and time to recall records and research individually," Jo Ann Rooney, the Pentagon's acting undersecretary for personnel, said in a Nov. 22 letter to Rep. Rush Holt (Dem.-N.J.), who has pressured the Pentagon for information on the issue on behalf of one of his constituents, according to the newspaper.

Holt reacted angrily to the news, the newspaper reported.

"What the hell?" he told the Post. "We spent millions, tens of millions, to find any trace of soldiers killed, and they're concerned about a 'massive' effort to go back and pull out the files and find out how many soldiers were disrespected this way?"

"They just don't want to ask questions or look very hard," he added, according to the newspaper.

According to records the military gave The Post, between 2003 and 2008, 976 fragments from 274 personnel were cremated, incinerated and dumped in the landfill. An additional 1,762 remains, which could not be DNA tested because of damage from explosions, were gathered from the battlefield and dumped in a similar manner, the Air Force told the newspaper.

The widow of an Army sergeant killed in Iraq told the newspaper she was furious when a morgue she was told how some of her husband's remains were dumped in the landfill.

"They have known that they were doing something disgusting, and they were doing everything they could to keep it from us," Gari-Lynn Smith told the newspaper. She had been pressing the military for information on the subject for four years — ever since she got a report on her husband's autopsy and learned that some of the remains had not been put in the casket for his funeral, according to The Post.

Changes in disposal policies came about after an in-depth review at Dover was ordered in 2008 by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates.


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  • by Dale Preisach Location: Swansboro NC 28584 on Dec 14, 2011 at 03:04 PM
    Expect this type of thing more often in the future due to deep cuts & "no balls"politicians in both parties. Sad but true
  • by newport Location: newport on Dec 12, 2011 at 01:23 PM
    this is one of the msot haneous thing i have ever heard how dare you dispose of our men and women into the dump after they gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country and then you dont want to tell their families i hope GOD saves a special place for all involved
  • by veronica Location: jacksonville on Dec 9, 2011 at 12:26 PM
    The story mentions nothing of Obama.....stop assuming people are blaming him for everything....
  • by ibxer on Dec 9, 2011 at 10:41 AM
    This took place between the years 2004 and 2008. Do you folks have nothing better to do than blame President Obama for everything?
  • by Shine Location: NE NC on Dec 9, 2011 at 09:10 AM
    I guess the A/F does not reconize the statement No Man Left Behind.............. Aweful!
  • by American Location: Greenville on Dec 9, 2011 at 08:57 AM
    Its a disgrace to the American way of life.
  • by jenny Location: kinston on Dec 9, 2011 at 08:45 AM
    I WEAR MY LATE FATHERS DOG TAGS, I WOULD BE OUTRAGED IF THIS HAD HAPPEN TO MY LOVE ONE... WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE GOVERMENT, THESE MEN GAVE THERE LIFE FOR OUR COUNTRY... SO SAD FOR THE FAMILIES THEY ARE FOREVER IN MY PRAYERS....
  • by Anonymous on Dec 9, 2011 at 06:44 AM
    Sounds like a Hitler move.
  • by Go figure on Dec 9, 2011 at 05:39 AM
    Obama refuses to salute the flag now he dumps troop???
    • reply
      by Sunshine on Dec 9, 2011 at 12:22 PM in reply to Go figure
      Now how is President Obama the blame for this since he was not even the president during this period. I think you need to check out your beloved Bush on this one. President Obama seems to have to take the blame for everything that the Past administration did and some of you refuse to hold them accountable for their wrongs. You are unbelievable. SMH
  • by Liberals on Dec 9, 2011 at 05:37 AM
    Wow, Obama has not even answered for this! Show you all the control he has in the liberal owned media!
    • reply
      by Sunshine on Dec 9, 2011 at 12:25 PM in reply to Liberals
      Check the dates he was not the president. Point the finger at the right people. Bush was the president during this period
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