The remains of at least 274 American troops were dumped in a Virginia landfill by the Air Force, according to government records.
The incinerated partial remains were disposed of in what was previously a common U.S. military practice. The Washington Post reported that the dumping was hidden from families, who had given the Air Force permission to dispose of remains in a respectful and dignified manner, the newspaper said.
Military officials said there are no plans to inform the families of the soldiers whose remains were dumped in the landfill. In November, The Washington Post exposed the military practice, which the newspaper claims was widespread until it was stopped in 2008.
At that time, Pentagon and Air Force officials were trying to determine how many troop remains were sent to the landfill, in King George County, Va.,
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.). Holt has pressured the Pentagon for information on the issue on behalf of one of his constituents, the newspaper reported.
He was not happy with the response he got in the letter, either.
What the hell? Holt said in an interview with 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 said.
After complaints and allegations from whistle-blowers about shady burial practices, the Air Force launched an internal probe finding that gross mismanagement had occurred at the U.S. Air Force mortuary. They found that some body parts had been lost and other remains had been mishandled.