FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 4, 2012
Contact: Nachama Soloveichik (202) 224-0437
or Rebecca Neal (202) 224-8609
PENTAGON TO SEN. TOOMEY:
NO FLIGHT 93 REMAINS SENT TO LANDFILL
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Pentagon officials have told U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that no remains from United Flight 93 passengers were disposed of in a landfill.
In a letter to Sen. Toomey, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jo Ann Rooney said that all Flight 93 DNA specimens sent to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory for testing were returned to Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller in 2005.
"I am relieved to learn that no remains from United Flight 93 passengers were sent to a landfill for disposal. The families deserve the peace of mind of knowing that these remains were treated with the utmost respect and dignity," Sen. Toomey said. "I thank Secretary Panetta and the Pentagon for this response to my inquiry, and I hope to learn more about the treatment of remains from the Pentagon soon."
Today’s response follows a letter Sen. Toomey sent to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Feb. 28 asking him to clarify if any remains from the Pentagon and United Flight 93 were cremated and sent to a landfill.
According to a Feb. 28 Washington Post report, a new U.S. Air Force report said that small amounts of unidentified remains from Shanksville, Pa., the site of the United Flight 93 crash, and the Pentagon were cremated and then sent to a landfill for disposal. However, Coroner Miller told local media that no remains from United Flight 93 were ever sent to a military mortuary for disposal.
In light of these conflicting accounts, Sen. Toomey reached out to Secretary Panetta for clarification.
The full text of the senator’s Feb. 28 letter to Secretary Panetta is below.
February 28, 2012
The Honorable Leon E. Panetta
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301-1000
Dear Secretary Panetta:
I write to request information regarding the disposal of human remains recovered from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa.
I am deeply disturbed by press reports today indicating that some of these remains may have ended up in a landfill. According to a Washington Post report today, small amounts of unidentified remains from Shanksville and the Pentagon were cremated and then sent to a landfill for disposal.
However, Somerset County (Pa.) Coroner Wallace Miller told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review today that no remains from United Flight 93, which crashed in Shanksville, were ever sent to a military mortuary for disposal.
In light of these conflicting accounts, I ask that you promptly clarify if any remains from the Pentagon and United Flight 93 were cremated and disposed of in a landfill.
The heroic passengers on United Flight 93 gave the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, and their families deserve to know the fate of their remains. It is critically important that we get to the bottom of this matter, clear up any remaining doubts, and ensure that those responsible for any mishandling of remains be held accountable.
Thank you for your service and your prompt attention to my request.
U. S. Senator
Sen. Pat Toomey
502 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510