Remains of 274 Troops Dumped in Landfill

Scale far greater than Air Force initially admitted

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 7, 2011 11:40 PM CST | Updated Dec 8, 2011 5:00 AM CST

(Newser) – The remains of far more troops were dumped in a Virginia landfill than the military has previously acknowledged, the Washington Post has discovered after pressing the Air Force for information. Records from the Dover Air Force Base mortuary show that the cremated partial remains of at least 274 troops were sent to a landfill—along with 1,762 unidentified remains collected from battlefields that were too damaged to undergo DNA testing.

The practice of dumping troops' remains in landfill, which was exposed last month, ceased in 2008. The dumping was concealed from the fallen troops' families, who had OKed the "dignified and respectful" disposal of the remains; they will not be alerted now, Air Force officials say. Pentagon officials said last month that it would require a "massive effort" involving the review of some 6,300 records to find out how many remains had been disposed of in landfill, drawing scorn from New Jersey lawmaker Rush Holt, who has been probing the issue. "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?” he says. “They just don’t want to ask questions or look very hard." Click for the full story.

A US  Army carry team at Dover Air Force Base salutes after a mortuary vehicle is loaded containing the remains of US troops who were killed in action.
A US Army carry team at Dover Air Force Base salutes after a mortuary vehicle is loaded containing the remains of US troops who were killed in action.   (Getty Images)
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It’s a moral thing. Someone killed overseas fighting for our country, I wouldn’t want them buried—any part of them—in the landfill. - Jeff Jenkins, manager
of the King George landfill

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