Thursday, November 10, 2011

US Dover Air Force Base Mortunary Cremated, Incinerated, and Dumped the Remains of Fallen Soldiers in Landfill

Burning, incinerating, and dumping in landfills - no, it's not about radioactive debris in Tokyo.

From Washington Post (11/9/2011):

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 Dover, Del., mortuary, 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.”

An Air Force document shows that the landfill is in King George County, Va. Officials with Waste Management Inc., which operates the landfill, said the company was not informed about the origin of the ashes. “We were not specifically made aware of that process by the Air Force,” said Lisa Kardell, a spokeswoman for the company.

The Dover mortuary changed its policy in June 2008, Jones said. Since then, the Navy has placed the cremated remains of body parts in urns that are buried at sea.

(The article continues.)


Atomfritz said...

Very interesting!

The well-known Gulf War Syndrome that probably is caused by depleted uranium poisoning usually doesn't get compensated, instead the suffering people are defamed as "hysteric" and so on.

But that even the remains of fallen american mercenaries are incinerated together with ordinary waste is more than I ever would have anticipated.

Probably even in Auschwitz corpses have been handled with more dignity.

Viola said...

"Probably even in Auschwitz corpses have been handled with more dignity."

No, they haven't... Did you ever went there? I did, and it was one of the most terrible things I've ever seen.

Sorry for this off-topic comment

Anonymous said...

Never ever trust your government . A little motto from the armed services.

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