The U.S. Army is investigating allegations that eight male soldiers in a Virginia National Guard company photographed and videotaped up to 21 women in the unit while they were showering at Fort Dix in Burlington County, officials said yesterday.

The photos were allegedly taken last fall when the Manassa, Va.-based 266th Military Police Company was undergoing mobilization training at the fort. The 150-member unit was deployed to Iraq in December, said Carolee Nisbet, a spokeswoman at Fort Dix..

"The investigation started while they're still serving in Iraq," Nisbet said yesterday. "They're not due to come home until late summer or early fall."

Commanders in Iraq learned of the allegations on May 21 and initiated an investigation on May 22, officials said. The Army's Criminal Investigation Command began a criminal investigation on May 23.

Nesbit said she didn't know how the alleged offense came to light.

"Military people are people of high integrity and most of them - the vast majority - live up to the military values," she said.

"But like any other community, you always have one or two who don't live up to those values."

No official charges have been leveled against any of the soldiers under investigation and they are still on duty in the northern section of Basra, where they are coaching, training and mentoring Iraqi police.

Contact staff writer Edward Colimore at 856-779-3833 or ecolimore@phillynews.com.