Friday, November 11, 2011


The Air Force has reported that, at least for a time, some of the cremated remains of servicemembers killed overseas ended up in landfills.  These include parts of bodies that cannot be identified or those that families preferred to have the DOD take care of.

Basically, the remains were cremated, then put into containers, and handed over to a landfill company for disposal.  The company, by the way, denies knowing that the remains were in the materials it disposed of.

This shameful way of handling the ashes of our fallen soldiers has been replaced with a simple burial at sea by the Navy, which is, in my humble opinion,  much more fitting than being thrown in the heap with the old banana peels and kitty litter.

The military says that this practice ended in 2008, and a full investigation has caused the disciplining of several workers at Dover Air Force Base, where the military runs its main mortuary service for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

My question is this:  What in the hell was the leadership at DOD and Dover thinking?  I wouldn't send the ashes of my dog to the landfill, much less that of another human being, regardless of whether or not it's a soldier.  We owe all of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines a debt much higher than we can ever fulfill, and these actions spit on that debt. 

The military and civilian 'leaders' who thought this was an acceptable way to dispose of these remains need to be pilloried publicly.  Those who are entrusted with the bodies of our fallen, no matter how high in the command structure they are, need to be reminded that their burden is a sacred one.  Every man and woman who serves needs to know that their body  will be treated with respect at all times.

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