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Old 12-10-2005, 08:51 AM   #1
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Family Upset Over Marine's Body Arriving As Freight

I think this is disgraceful and an outrage, it is the very least we can do for these men and women- to treat them with the dignity and respect that they deserve.

yahoo news

Family Upset Over Marine's Body Arriving As Freight

Fri Dec 9, 9:25 PM ET

There's controversy over how the military is transporting the bodies of service members killed overseas, 10News reported. A local family said fallen soldiers and Marines deserve better and that one would think our war heroes are being transported with dignity, care and respect. It said one would think upon arrival in their hometowns they are greeted with honor. But unfortunately, the family said that is just not the case.

Dead heroes are supposed to come home with their coffins draped with the American flag -- greeted by a color guard.

But in reality, many are arriving as freight on commercial airliners -- stuffed in the belly of a plane with suitcases and other cargo. John Holley and his wife, Stacey, were stunned when they found out the body of their only child, Matthew, who died in Iraq last month, would be arriving at Lindbergh Field as freight.

"When someone dies in combat, they need to give them due respect they deserve for (the) sacrifice they made," said John Holley.

John and Stacey Holley, who were both in the Army, made some calls, and with the help of U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, Matthew was greeted with honor and respect.

"Our familiarity with military protocol and things of that sort allowed us to kind of put our foot down -- we're not sure other parents have that same knowledge," said Stacey Holley.

The Holleys now want to make sure every fallen hero gets the proper welcome.

The bodies of dead service members arrive at Dover Air Force Base.

From that point, they are sent to their families on commercial airliners.

Reporters from 10News called the Defense Department for an explanation. A representative said she did not know why this is happening.
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Old 12-10-2005, 02:37 PM   #2
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Old 12-10-2005, 03:31 PM   #3
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I am so upset about this that I just e-mailed my Senators about it, at least it was one small thing I could do. I won't stop until I get a response.

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Old 12-10-2005, 07:40 PM   #4
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What is the proper protocol for transporting the remains of a soldier?
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Old 12-10-2005, 08:11 PM   #5
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^I was also wondering that...how is it "usually" done?
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Old 12-10-2005, 11:45 PM   #6
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Doesn't the article tell you that?

Quote:
Dead heroes are supposed to come home with their coffins draped with the American flag -- greeted by a color guard.
This is a tough thing for me to answer because I know most people will disagree, but to me, a body is just a body. That is to say, I believe the soul departs after death and what is left behind has no real meaning to me. For that reason, I prefer cremation and I support donation of any organs or even the body itself. As such, if it were my remains being transported, to be honest, I don't care. Hell, they could dump me while flying over the ocean and I wouldn't be bothered one bit.

However, different people believe in different protocols regarding the dead body. I know that it is very important to some, for religious or other reasons, that the body is shown proper respect, and given a proper burial. I absolutely believe the families of the soldiers who have given their lives on the battlefield do have the right to expect that the bodies are treated with the standard protocol, and I have no doubt that finding out it wasn't followed would be extremely hurtful to them.

Give them the treatment they expect and deserve. It's really not a huge thing to do compared to the enormous amount of sacrifice on their parts.
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Old 12-11-2005, 01:22 AM   #7
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Having witnessed it...there is a color guard that greets the plane when it arrives at the airport. The coffin is offloaded with the flag draped over it.
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Old 12-11-2005, 09:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram

Give them the treatment they expect and deserve. It's really not a huge thing to do compared to the enormous amount of sacrifice on their parts.
That's it exactly. I can't imagine having my loved one killed in a war somewhere so far away and having their body treated in that manner as if it's some Fed Ex or UPS cargo-to me that is just heartbreaking, I can't imagine what it would be like for a family member. Most of these loved ones haven't seen their friend or family member in so long, so to have their arrival home treated in a shoddy manner such as that is completely unacceptable to me. It is disrespectful to the family and to the service member's sacrifice. Add to that not even having the proper military greeting -that is an outrage.
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Old 12-11-2005, 01:32 PM   #9
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So you have first hand witnessed this?

I have been at two of these. It is done with TREMENDOUS respect. There is an honor guard there. There are soldiers standing at attention as the coffin is transported out of the plane. The Flag is draped on the coffin.

They were not sent as Fedex or UPS.

The every day passengers in the airport stood with their hands across their hearts as the soldier came off the plane. Myself and other saluted.

I do not know how this report leads you to believe that it is disrespectful. What I witnessed left most without a dry eye.
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Old 12-11-2005, 01:44 PM   #10
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What I meant was which part of the plane are they usually put in? They could be draped in a flag and arrive to a color guard, and still be transported with luggage. Again, I don't know what the proper protocol for that sort of thing is...
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Old 12-11-2005, 02:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
So you have first hand witnessed this

I do not know how this report leads you to believe that it is disrespectful. What I witnessed left most without a dry eye.
No I haven't, and I don't know what that relevance that has - I am only talking about this instance. The family believed it was disrespectful that the military protocol wasn't followed, that was the impression I certainly got from the article. If the flag wasn't draped and other protocols not followed, then their son's body may as well have been any other cargo- because it was treated as such. That's all I meant, nothing else. I understand that it wasn't literally Fed Ex or UPS.

I'm not talking about other ceremonies such as the ones you witnessed and I don't know why you are trying to imply/infer that I am.
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Old 12-11-2005, 02:14 PM   #12
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What I'm wondering is whether the coffins always arrive as freight (which is what the article seems to say). And if that's true, was some other protocol such as the flag not followed (the article doesn't make any mention of it). I'm sure there was some kind of improper treatment, because both parents were in the military and they were able to get the attention of a senator...I'm just not getting what from the article.
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Old 12-11-2005, 02:32 PM   #13
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I understand what you are saying Vertigo Gal, I will try to find more info about this particular instance. Once again (not directed at you but just in general), I wasn't speaking about any other ceremonies, just this one or any others in which proper protocols aren't followed. I'm no expert in military protocol and would never claim to be, I merely had an emotional reaction to this particular family's situation.
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Old 12-11-2005, 02:36 PM   #14
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They arrive in the states and then are sent as cargo on commercial airlines.

My experience has been that they are respectfully treated, the flag is removed from the coffin while in flight, and then placed on the casket before it begins its trip out of the plane. The two ceremonies I have witnessed had Twelve soldiers there to great the coffin as it came off the plane plus a few officers. The Coffin came down a ramp with the flag on it, and there were two sets of soldiers on each side of the ramp saluting as the coffin came off. There was a group of color guard holding the American flag, the army flag and the Massachusetts flag if my memory serves me correctly. The soldiers then in step lifed the casket up and carried it to the vehicle for transportation to the family.

As for the Senator's office. It most certainly would get attention of a Senator or a congressman. These types of letters are not ignored. It has nothing to do with the parents service to their country.

I may be dense, but what I get from the article is not that the transport was not going to be official, but that the parents wanted to make certain it was. The article implies many things without any facts that I can see. Because I fly so infrequently, I doubt it is coincidence that I have witnessed the same ceremony twice, unless the military here in MA is doing a better job than other parts of the country at this type of thing.
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Old 12-11-2005, 02:38 PM   #15
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Here is a link to the army regulations.

Commercial Airlines is the preffered method of transportation.

http://www.az.ngb.army.mil/SoldierSu...ist/p638_2.pdf
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