Hundreds of pieces of dead American soldiers were incinerated by Air Force officials and then dumped in a Virginia landfill, for the first time putting hard numbers on the grisly scandal that has rocked the military’s largest mortuary, according to a report.
(But the dead Boston Marathon Muslim terrorist gets a grave on American soil)
NY Daily NewsThe Washington Post reported Wednesday that at least 976 body parts of 274 U.S. soldiers recovered from war zones abroad were ditched in a Kings County, Va., dump after arriving at Dover Air Base between 2004 and 2008.
In nearly every case, the heroes’ families, which had authorized the military to handle the soldiers’ remains, had no idea that their loved ones’ ashes were unceremoniously trashed, the Post report said. The Air Force came clean about the practice last month after whistleblowers complained about sloppy work at Dover, the main entry for fallen soldiers coming from battlefields overseas.
But it had refused to reveal how many remains went into the landfill, saying that tallying the parts and trying to match them with the more than 6,300 bodies that have passed through Dover would require “massive effort and time,” one Pentagon official said, according to the Post.
The Air Force finally released some numbers to the Washington newspaper this week. In addition to the remains that were matched up with dead soldiers, 1,762 unidentified remains were thrown into the landfill.
In total, more than 2,700 incinerated body parts were chucked, according to Air Force records – though that number may just be the tip of the iceberg.
One military widow told the Post that a mortuary official told her that the Air Force had been throwing cremated remains in landfills since at least 1996.
The Air Force said it has no plans to tell the families of the soldiers’ whose body parts were identified.
h/t Elizabeth B