Davis Seeks NDAA Change Inspired by Family of Petty Officer Logan Palmer
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today announced that he has introduced H.R. 5848, the Fallen Heroes Family Travel Act, and will be offering this bill as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is being considered on the House floor this week.
H.R. 5848 would require the Department of Defense (DoD) to cover the travel of family of fallen, non-combat servicemembers to Dover Air Force Base to meet the arrival of their loved one. This seeks to solve an issue experienced by the family of Petty Officer Logan Palmer of Harristown, Illinois, who died aboard the USS John S. McCain last August.
“Helping the Palmer family navigate this bureaucracy after the death of their son highlighted the fact that not only does the Department of Defense need better communication with families of our fallen, but that this is an unnecessary policy that should be changed,” said Davis. “If one of our fallen servicemembers is flown to Dover Air Force Base instead of home, DoD should arrange their travel and cover expenses for families. The last thing these families need to worry about after the death of a loved one serving our country is trying to cut through bureaucratic red tape. The Department of Defense has assured me that they are working to change this policy now, but a law is necessary to ensure this change remains permanent.”
If the amendment passes, H.R. 5848 will become part of the FY19 NDAA, which is expected to pass the House later this week and will then head to the Senate for consideration. The NDAA is considered to be a ‘must pass’ bill by both chambers.
Since 2009, DoD policy has been that the Armed Forces may only cover travel expenses to Dover Air Force Base for family of servicemembers who lost their lives during combat operations. Waivers by DoD have been granted for noncombat deaths, but only upon request. H.R. 5848 would require DoD to arrange travel to Dover Air Force Base for the family of fallen, non-combat servicemembers.
Davis became aware of this policy after the family of Petty Officer Logan Palmer of Harristown, Illinois, who was among the sailors killed in the USS John S McCain last year, pursued funding from an outside organization to pay for their travel to view his remains at Dover Air Force Base. Davis has been working with the Department of Defense (DoD) to change this policy.
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