The US Air Force dumped the cremated, partial remains of at least 274 troops in a landfill before halting the secretive practice in 2008, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
The procedure was never formally authorized or disclosed to senior Pentagon officials, who conducted a review of the cremation policies of Dover Air Base — the main point of entry for US war dead — in 2008, the Post said.
Nor was the dumping ever disclosed to the families of the fallen troops, who had authorized the military to dispose of the remains in a respectful and dignified manner, the Post said, citing Air Force officials.
The newspaper quoted officials as saying that a precise count of the remains disposed of at a Virginia landfill would require searching through the records of 6,300 troops whose remains have passed through Dover since 2001.
An additional group of 1,762 remains — which could not undergo DNA testing because they were badly damaged or burned — were also disposed of in this manner, the Post said, citing the Air Force.