February 29, 2012.
Partial remains of several 9/11 victims were incinerated by a military contractor and sent to a landfill, a government report said Tuesday in the latest of a series of revelations about the Pentagon's main mortuary for the war dead.
The surprise disclosure was mentioned only briefly, with little detail, in a report by an independent panel that studied underlying management flaws at Dover Air Force Base mortuary in Delaware. A 2011 probe found "gross mismanagement" there, but until Tuesday there had been no mention of Dover's role in handling 9/11 victims' remains.
Air Force leaders, asked about the 9/11 matter at a news conference, said they had been unaware of it until the head of the independent panel, retired Army Gen. John Abizaid, held a Pentagon news conference Tuesday to explain his panel's findings.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's press secretary, George Little, said Panetta "never would have supported" the disposal of remains in a landfill. "He understands why families would have serious concerns about such a policy."
The practice at Dover of cremating partial remains and sending them to a landfill began shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, the report said, "when several portions of remains from the Pentagon attack and the Shanksville, Pa., crash site could not be tested or identified."
The terrorist-hijacked airliner that slammed into the west side of the Pentagon killed 184 people, and the plane that crashed in a field near Shanksville killed 40.
It was unclear whether families of the 9/11 victims were aware remains had gone to contractors and then to the landfill. More than 9,000 human remains recovered from the ruins of the World Trade Center in New York City are unidentified.
This article appeared on page A - 12 of the San Francisco Chronicle
Comment: I can only imagine the pain that the family and loved ones of those who died on 9/11, but were not subsequently identified, must be feeling knowing that the US disposed of victims remains in a trash dump (that is what a landfill is).
Surely right thinking folks would know better, no?
Nonetheless, may all the victims of 9/11 rest in peace until that day.