By Bob Cusack
The Pentagon on Wednesday night disputed claims that all 30 U.S. soldiers killed in a 2011 helicopter crash in Afghanistan were cremated.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on National Security, is leading the probe. Pentagon officials are scheduled to appear at Thursday's hearing.
Critics of the Pentagon, including some of the victims' families, have previously claimed that all soldiers who died in the attack were cremated. In an article last year on the deadly crash, The Hill reported that assertion. At the time, the Defense Department did not dispute it.
But now, the Pentagon is denying it.
An official stated, "The remains of the 30 service members were prepared in accordance with the guidance of the persons authorized to direct disposition. Not all persons authorized to direct disposition for the service members elected cremation. Reports stating that all 30 were cremated are incorrect."
"Direct disposition" deals with the Pentagon's process of designating one person, usually a family member, who makes decisions on human remains.