Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Date: July 19, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Chair, it is DoD policy that when a servicemember becomes a casualty, his remains are returned to the family as quickly as possible with the utmost respect and dignity.

This policy was revised and mandated by Congress in 2008 when new requirements were established for transportation and honor guards for the remains of combat casualties.

As a nation, we owe our fallen heroes and their families a debt that can never truly be repaid. The dignified transfer of a casualty is the least that we can do to honor the sacrifice paid by the men and women who volunteer to lay their life down in the defense of others.

I am happy that this bill in front of us today fully funds the transportation and escort of these heroes, and want to thank the Chairman and the Ranking Member for continuing to make this a priority.

I remember meeting with a family from my district last year whose son, Corporal Johnathan W. Taylor, gave his life defending our freedom on February 22, 2011 in Afghanistan.

Now beside his fellow brothers in uniform, his parents, Mark and Deborah, have said that they were proud to have seen their son off on what they like to call his final tour of duty.

This final tour of duty was important for his family, as well as his friends and fellow Marines.

It was important because they all had the opportunity to see Corporal Taylor return home for the last time, with the honor and military escort he has so rightfully earned.

Continuing to fully fund this important mission will allow other families, who have made the most difficult sacrifice imaginable, the opportunity to watch their children return home and laid to rest as a national hero.

Army SPC Clarence Williams III will be laid to rest next Monday, on July 23, in the Florida National Cemetery. He was killed in action in Afghanistan last week.