According to a report in the Washington Post, Virginia’s Dover Air Force Base had, from 2003 until 2008, burnt soldier’s remains, sending the resulting refuse to a nearby King George County landfill.
The base has since abandoned that practice — which had been typically been withheld from family members of the deceased — in favor of burials at sea.
Adds the Post:
The disclosure comes in the aftermath of several federal investigations into mishandling of remains at the mortuary.
Air Force officials acknowledged the practice Wednesday in response to inquiries from The Washington Post. They said the procedure was limited to portions of body parts that were unable to be identified at first or were later recovered from the battlefield, and which family members had indicated could be disposed of by the military.
The landfill’s operators said they were unaware that the ashes sent to them were, in fact, human remains.
Lt. Gen. Darrell G. Jones, deputy chief for personnel for the Air Force, could not offer an estimate of how many people or parts had been disposed of in this way, but added that the practice has since been completely abandoned. “Let me be emphatic,” he clarified, “I think the current procedures are better.”
h/t Washington Post
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