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NGAUS Legislative Alert #13-15; 26 June 2015

The Issue: Remedy the burial privileges disparity for members of the National Guard

Immediate Action Required: Ask your representative to support H.R. 2852, the Founding Legacies of Reserve Integral Combat-training Heroes (FLORICH) Act, sponsored by Rep. Garret Graves, R-La.

More Information: NGAUS strongly supports H.R. 2852, the Founding Legacies of Reserve Integral Combat-training Heroes (FLORICH) Act, which addresses the disparity of burial privileges for members of the National Guard who are killed in training missions alongside their active-duty counterparts.
NGAUS is committed to ensuring the brave men and women of the National Guard are eligible to receive the same burial privileges as members of the active component. 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 Florich ineligible for burial at Arlington National Cemetery because he died while training. In June, the Army reversed its decision and granted Florich interment at Arlington following advocacy efforts by the Florich family, the general public and members of Congress.

NGAUS 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. However, we support 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 service member also perishes.

Please contact your representative and urge them to support this bill.

NGAUS Point of Contact:
Matt Pincus

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