Gov’t Can’t Fly Military Families To See Bodies Of Loved Ones Due To Shutdown

The families of four Americans who died in combat in Afghanistan will not be flown by the Pentagon to see the bodies of their loved ones arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Deleware due to the government shutdown, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. 

Typically, the military pays for family members to fly to Dover to greet the bodies of loved ones arrive in the U.S., however the ongoing shutdown prevents the government from paying for those travel costs.

Department of Defense officials claimed that it was out of their control.

“If the Department was allowed to make death gratuity payments at any point during shutdown, they would’ve been paid with great relief,” a defense official told the Wall Street Journal.

Benefits for military families, which include a $100,000 death gratuity and coverage of funeral costs, will also be delayed due to the shutdown.

Death gratuities will be paid after the shutdown, and the government will likely be able to reimburse families for funeral costs, but reimbursement potential for airfare is not clear at this time, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The bodies of Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, 25, Pfc. Cody J. Patterson, 24,  Sgt. Joseph Peters, 24, and 1st Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno, 25, will arrive at Dover Air Force Base on Wednesday.