The Air Force dumped the incinerated partial remains of at least 274 American troops in a Virginia landfill, a number much higher than the military had originally acknowledged, records show, The Washington Post reported.
According to the newspaper, the landfill dumping was concealed from families who had given the military permission to dispose of the remains in a “dignified and respectful manner,” officials from the Air Force said. They went on to note that there are no plans to alert those families now.
The Post reported that Air Force and Pentagon officials said last month that determining the true number would require significant effort, due to the more than 6,300 troops whose remains have passed through the mortuary since 2001.
“It would require a massive effort and time to recall records and research individually,” the Pentagon’s acting undersecretary for personnel, wrote in a letter to Representative Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.).
MSNBC reported that changes in the disposal policies only came about after an in-depth review at the site was ordered in 2008 by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates.