According to an article on CBS News, the Air Force was responsible for incinerating the “partial remains” of at least 274 U.S. soldiers and then dumping the ashes in a landfill in Virginia, which was officially halted 3 years ago.
Military families had given previous consent to the military to dispose of the soldiers’ remains in a “dignified and respectful manner.” Consequently, the families were not told the remains were dumped into a landfill.
According to the Air Force, there are no future plans of notifying the families that are involved considering it would require an immense effort to entail individual searches of over 6,300 soldiers’ records. At the same time, Senior Air Force officials insist there was no active intention to deceive anyone about the secret practice.
Dover Air Force Base is the “main port of entry” for fallen soldiers as they return to the U.S. There is no way for the Air Force to determine just how many soldiers’ remains were shipped to the landfill, but it does acknowledge that there is no formal military authorization, policy, or regulation permitting such a practice. Unclaimed and unidentified soldiers’ remains are now cremated and buried at sea.
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