A former Air Force mortuary official says the decision that resulted in some cremated remains from 9/11 victims being dumped in a landfill came from higher-ups in the military.
William D. Zwicharowski, a civilian who was interim director of the mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware in 2002, told The Washington Post that mortuary officials wanted to have the ashes buried at sea. But he says they were overruled.
“We fought the fight, but I had zero clout back then,” Zwicharowski said. “The decision was made at a higher level. Had I had the experience I have now, 10 years later, I would have stood up and probably just not done it.”
Zwicharowski declined to identify the military superiors.
An Air Force spokesman declined to comment but did not dispute Zwicharowski’s account, according to The Post.
A Defense Department report last week said some unidentified human remains recovered from the crash of American Airlines Flight 77 at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, were incinerated and dumped in a landfill rather than being buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Quinton Keel, one of three officials accused of mismanaging the mortuary at Dover and of retaliating against Dover whistle-blowers, has resigned.
An independent federal investigative agency, the Office of Special Counsel, said Friday that it is in touch with Air Force officials about their final decisions on disciplinary action against the two other accused officials.
In November, the Office of Special Counsel issued a report accusing Keel and two other supervisors of "gross mismanagement" at the Dover facility, where small body parts of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan were lost on two occasions.
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