Republican lawmaker and Army veteran Cory Mills from Florida has raised a serious concern about the treatment of Gold Star families following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. One of the 13 Gold Star families, the family of Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, faced an unexpected financial burden after her death in Afghanistan in 2021.
During a meeting with the families of the “Fallen 13,” Rep. Mills was deeply angered to discover that the Department of Defense had imposed a substantial financial responsibility on Sgt. Gee’s family. They were compelled to arrange and finance the transportation of her body to its final resting place, a cost that amounted to an astonishing $60,000. Fortunately, a nonprofit organization stepped in to cover the expenses on behalf of the Gee family.
This situation arose due to an amendment to last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, which granted the Defense Department the option to decline payment for the transportation of deceased military members’ remains who died within a theater of combat operations. Consequently, while Sgt. Gee’s remains were flown to her hometown in Roseville, California, for a ceremony, her family had to bear the responsibility and expenses to transport her to Arlington National Cemetery for the final burial.
To assist the Gee family, Honoring Our Fallen, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the families of fallen American service members, offered their help by arranging a private jet to transport Sgt. Gee to Virginia. However, Rep. Mills believes that the financial burden should not fall on the families of fallen heroes. He expressed his deep disappointment at the situation, emphasizing that fallen heroes are traditionally flown back home with respect and honor for a solemn service, and then laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery.
Rep. Mills calls the current situation an “egregious injustice” that requires immediate rectification. He firmly believes that the responsibility of honoring fallen service members should lie with the Defense Department, relieving grieving families of any financial strain during their time of mourning.
Despite inquiries, the Pentagon has yet to respond to Fox News’ request for comment on this matter.
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