Air Force will not inform families of landfill remains

Responding to press revelations that the remains of hundreds of additional U.S. troops ended up in a landfill, an Air Force official said that the military regretted the pain the news may cause their families, but that the Pentagon would not inform them in order to honor their original wishes.

"We regret any additional grief to the families that past practices may have caused," said Air Force Lt. Gen. Darrell Jones, deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel, and services, in a briefing at the Pentagon. On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that the remains of 274 people ultimately ended up in the landfill, not just one as was previously known. Jones said that Air Force records indicated that all 274 families had signed documents indicating they did not want to be informed of the disposition of any additional remains of the deceased service members.

"To go back now and notify them would be going against their wishes," Jones said. Instead, families of any fallen troops can call Dover's hotline (1-855-637-2583), or e-mail officials at dover.pm@pentagon.af.mil) and determine whether their deceased service members' remains were among the 274. To date, the hotline has received 10 calls.

Jones said that between 2003 and 2008, "fragments" of remains, often from blast victims, were taken under escort for cremation and then delivered to a private contractor -- the last point of contact for the military. The contractor then incinerated the cremated remnants and disposed of whatever was left as "medical waste" in a county landfill. Jones insisted that the process was "common industry practice," which the Washington Post report has disputed.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.