`Remains of 274 US troops dumped in landfill`

Last Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 16:57

Washington: The US Air Force dumped the
cremated, partial remains of at least 274 troops in a landfill
before halting the secretive practise in 2008, the Washington
Post reported on Thursday.

The procedure was never formally authorised or disclosed
to senior Pentagon officials, who conducted a review of the
cremation policies of Dover Air Base -- the main point of
entry for US war dead -- in 2008, the Post said.

Nor was the dumping ever disclosed to the families of the
fallen troops, who had authorised the military to dispose of
the remains in a respectful and dignified manner, the Post
said, citing Air Force officials.

The newspaper quoted officials as saying that a precise
count of the remains disposed of at a Virginia landfill would
require searching through the records of 6,300 troops whose
remains have passed through Dover since 2001.

An additional group of 1,762 remains -- which could not
undergo DNA testing because they were badly damaged or burned
-- were also disposed of in this manner, the Post said, citing
the Air Force.

Defence officials could not immediately be reached for
comment.

Last month investigators said they had found "gross
mismanagement" at the US Air Force mortuary, with body parts
lost and remains mishandled.

After allegations from whistle-blowers, an Air Force
probe found that two "portions of the remains" of fallen
troops had been lost and uncovered other problems at the
morgue.

New procedures have been put in place at the mortuary and
the commander at the morgue, a colonel, together with two
civilian officials were disciplined over the episode but not
sacked.

The Dover affair echoes a scandal that erupted last year
at Arlington National Cemetery, the country`s hallowed ground
for war dead. Investigators there uncovered cases of
misidentified remains and mismanagement.

Following an Army probe, the conduct at Arlington is now
the subject of a criminal investigation.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 16:31

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