Congressman to Army: Bury Soldier Killed in Training Crash at Arlington Cemetery
A Louisiana congressman is urging the Army to reconsider its decision not to bury a National Guardsman at Arlington National Cemetery.
Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich, 26, a member of the Louisiana National Guard, died in a training accident when Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Florida last March. Three other members of the National Guard and seven Marines were also killed.
Florich’s family asked for his remains to be placed in Arlington National Cemetery, but the Army denied the request because Florich was not on active duty at the time of his death. All seven Marines were active duty service members at the time of the crash.
Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) is asking the secretary of the Army to reconsider the decision, stressing that granting the Florich family's wish is “the right thing to do.”
“The reality is you had seven Marines that were on that helicopter, you had four National Guardsmen. They were all serving their country. How do you say that a person, a Marine who’s sitting to your left who perished in that accident and is being buried at Arlington has sacrificed more than the National Guardsman sitting right next to him?” Graves asked.
Graves remarked that Florich served honorably as a civilian and in active duty.
“This is an absolute disparity that you can’t justify,” he said.