February 28, 2012
Some small portions of unidentified human remains recovered from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa., were incinerated and ultimately dumped in a landfill, the Defense Department acknowledged Tuesday.
It was the first time that the Pentagon has said that some remains of Sept. 11 victims taken to the Dover Air Force Base mortuary later ended up in a landfill.
In November, The Washington Post first disclosed that the Dover mortuary for years had disposed of incinerated portions of remains of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in a Virginia landfill. The practice involved unidentified or unclaimed body parts; it was not made known to troops’ family members.
The Air Force later admitted that it had dumped the incinerated partial remains of at least 274 service members in the landfill between 2003 and 2008, when the practice ended. At the time, Air Force officials said their records only went back to 2003 and that they did not know when the landfill dumping began.