Rep. Graves’ legislation was introduced in response to the tragic training accident off the coast of Florida in March that resulted in the death of Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich of the Louisiana Army National Guard. Florich and three other Guardsmen were participating in a training exercise with a group of seven Marines, all of whom died when their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter went down. The Army initially deemed Staff Sgt. Florich ineligible for burial at Arlington National Cemetery because he died while training. In June, the Army reversed its decision and granted Staff Sgt. Florich interment at Arlington following advocacy efforts by the Florich family, the general public and members of Congress.
EANGUS Legislative Alert: FLORICH Act
EANGUS supports H.R. 2852, the Founding Legacies of Reserve Integral Combat-training Heroes (FLORICH) Act. This legislation addresses the disparity of burial privileges for members of the National Guard who are killed in training missions alongside their active-duty counterparts.
EANGUS applauds Army Secretary John McHugh’s decision to allow Florich to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as his announcement of an internal review of the exemption policy. EANGUS also supports Rep. Graves’ legislation that would prevent families of fallen Guardsmen in the future from enduring unnecessary hardships and delays caused by the current policy. H.R. 2852 would create a narrow exemption to current policy by affording burial privileges at Arlington National Cemetery to members of the reserve component who die while carrying out a mission during which an active-duty servicemember also perishes.
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