Remains of war dead dumped in landfill

The Washington Post reports: The Dover Air Force Base mortuary for years disposed of portions of troops’ remains by cremating them and dumping the ashes in a Virginia landfill, a practice that officials have since abandoned in favor of burial at sea.

The mortuary in Delaware, the main point of entry for the nation’s war dead and the target of federal investigations of alleged mishandling of remains, engaged in the practice from 2003 to 2008, according to Air Force officials. The manner of disposal was not disclosed to relatives of fallen service members.

Air Force officials acknowledged the practice Wednesday in response to inquiries from The Washington Post. They said the procedure was limited to fragments or portions of body parts that were unable to be identified at first or were later recovered from the battlefield, and which family members had said could be disposed of by the military.

Lt. Gen. Darrell G. Jones, the Air Force’s deputy chief for personnel, said the body parts were cremated, then incinerated, and then taken to a landfill by a military contractor. He likened the procedure to the disposal of medical waste.

Jones also could not estimate how many body parts were handled in this way. “That was the common practice at the time, and since then our practices have improved,” he said.

Gari-Lynn Smith, portions of whose husband’s remains were disposed of in the landfill after his 2006 death in Iraq, said she was “appalled and disgusted” by the way the Air Force had acted. She learned of the landfill disposal earlier this spring in a letter from a senior official at the Dover mortuary.

“My only peace of mind in losing my husband was that he was taken to Dover and that he was handled with dignity, love, respect and honor,” Smith said. “That was completely shattered for me when I was told that he was thrown in the trash.”

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1 thought on “Remains of war dead dumped in landfill

  1. Norman

    Lt. Gen. Darrell G. Jones, the Air Force’s deputy chief for personnel, said the body parts were cremated, then incinerated, and ten taken to a land fill by a military contractor. I suppose this statement is/was meant to give the impression that what took place was S.O.P.??? But unless they have changed the procedure somehow, “cremation is what incineration is”!! This reads as some sort of double speak, or else the Lt. Gen. D.G.Jones is a phony, made up named individual, that some P.R. flack came up with? Further, looking at the time frame, coincides with the Bush regime’s tour in office, along with the very real possibility that those coffins returning from the “war zones” very likely contained other than body parts. Smuggling contraband, such as drugs, gold, bricks of $100.00 bills that were/are transported to Iraq & Afghanistan from the New York Federal Reserve and are among the missing $billions, may have returned that way. After all, “coffins are a favorite tool used in laundering ill gotten gains”.

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