Remains of war dead dumped in landfill

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 mortuary in Delaware, 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….

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5 comments on “Remains of war dead dumped in landfill

  1. Cennydd13 says:

    As many of you know, I am an Air Force retiree, and I am naturally very disturbed at this news. I sympathize with the family members whose loved ones’ remains were treated in this manner, and I am confident that procedures are now in place that will ensure that this does not happen again.

  2. KAR says:

    I’ll not defame an image bearer of God by calling them an idiot, I’ll not defame an image bearer of God by calling them an idiot, I’ll not defame an image bearer of God by calling them an idiot.

    WHO thought this would be acceptable?!?! Come on now, this is not like that greedy cemetery owner in the South ten years ago, at least we can figure out why he acted the way he did. This is as bad as Arlington scandal recently. Come on, if you have a huge ceremony, with flags over coffins, dress uniforms and someone playing taps, don’t you think what goes on behind the scenes is important? Don’t you think if you one word reached Congress, your promotion cycles are OVER.

  3. AnglicanFirst says:

    Yes, its terrible to have the remains of our fallen servicement disrespected in this manner. But thyis cavalier lack of respect did not start at the morturary at Dover AFB.

    It is also quite possible that we (those in authority with the knowledge and the capability of causing effective actions to take place) left US POWs to rot in the Mekong Delta in South Vietnam.

    I know for a fact that the U.S. Navy did not apply all available resources to pursue credible leads regarding U.S. POWs in the Mekong Delta in Vinh Binh Province (including the Long Toan Secret Zone) and Ba Xuyen Province during the 1968, 69 and 70.

    Instead, Vice Admiral Zumwalt, in Sep 1968, had one of his famous ‘inspirations of the moment’ and shifted critical Navy patrol boat and river assault forces from those areas to his Giant Sling Shot Operation on the Cambodian Border.

    Zumwalt conducted one operation in the area on Dung Island that was a farce and ‘declared victory.’

  4. Cennydd13 says:

    The officer responsible for this was disciplined and his military career ended with this fiasco. What more could have been done? Changes should have been made, certainly. The methods of disposal should have been disclosed to the families concerned while the remains were in the morgue…..and to all military families, as a matter of fact, but they weren’t until afterward, and that was wrong.

  5. FrWes says:

    I am personally familiar with some of this. First, the old practice of treating portions found after a warrior’s burial as medical waste, may have been in affect for decades, I’m not sure, but families did have the option for those remains to be sent home for later burial. When later leadership realized what was going on, however, they fixed it, with burial at sea.

    Regarding the missing or mishandled remains, the complaints were taken VERY seriously, with the final reports being over 1000 pages and discipline being managed (I believe) at the 4-star general level.

    I have seen the Dover operation personally, and NO ONE is less than reverent in handling the remains of our fallen warriors. The accounting of even the smallest fragment or part of personal effects is as careful (in my opinion) as our handling of nuclear weapons (careful record of custody). I believe the only way a portion could be miss-accounted for is if it was cremated with other remains but not identified at the time as having been cremated.

    The bottom line is that these folks at Dover do indeed care, proven by the great lengths taken to find out what went wrong and how to fix it. I am honored to work with them.

    Fr. Wes