House Passes Defense Authorization with Davis’ Fallen Heroes Family Travel Act Included
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U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) released this statement after the House passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes Davis’ bill to change the Department of Defense’s (DoD) travel policy for families of non-combat casualties. H.R. 5848, the Fallen Heroes Family Travel Act, was included as an amendment to the NDAA.
H.R. 5848 requires 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. Davis first became aware of this issue when helping the family of Petty Officer Logan Palmer of Harristown, Illinois, who died aboard the USS John S. McCain last August.
“Although this a small change in policy, passing it sends a message the Department of Defense (DoD) that better constituent service is needed for families of the fallen,” said Davis. “Helping the Palmer family navigate this bureaucracy showed me that there are many things that can be approved upon and I’m going to continue to work to make the DoD more accountable to families of servicemembers of all ranks. The NDAA is an important next step in our efforts to rebuild the military by ensuring our armed forces have the equipment and training needed to operate at the highest levels.”
The omnibus funding bill passed by Congress in March ended the decade-long cuts to our military and the FY19 NDAA continues to build on these investments to maintain military readiness. Click here to learn more about the NDAA.
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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