Government Fails our Newly Rendered Gold Star Families
By Tommy Batboy
Sunday night was not a good night for troops on the ground. A Marine was killed during a combat patrol. A platoon from 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment helicopter assaulted onto target. In the end, four died—two Rangers, two attachments. There were so many wounded by the command detonated IEDs and suicide bombers that the platoon was rendered combat ineffective. For those of you that have served, it was the nightmare you hope you’d never have to face: it was a mas-cas.
But because of what I can only describe as one of the grossest failings of our government during the current shut down (and that’s saying something, I know), the tragedy of Sunday night’s actions are just beginning.
According to sources inside of Special Operations Command, this morning at roughly 0930 there was a video teleconference. In the conference, liaison personnel who were already tasked with the almost impossible job of telling these families their son or daughter has been killed in action, now have to tell them something else: that their government has failed them and they will not be getting any governmental assistance until the government shutdown is over.
It is standard DOD policy to send families of our KIA $100,000 within 36 hours of the incident. This money is used to cover emergency flights to Dover AFB to meet the casket and start making funeral arrangements, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars when it’s all said and done. It’s to pay to fly non-immediate family to the funeral, to help with the cost of the takeout food that these families are about to live off of for the next week. It’s for hotels, rental cars, all the things that you need when you take an emergency trip.
These brave American’s caskets haven’t even made it back to the United States, and the government’s idea of “help” is to send these newly grieving families an IOU.
The government voted, overwhelmingly, to continue to pay and fund our armed forces as they gripe and moan and take pot shots at each other over Obamacare. Yet, they are refusing to do the most important thing when things go horribly wrong: take care of the families of those we lose.
Inside the past 24hours a mother had a man knock on her door and told her son died half way around the world. Half a day later the same guy is about to knock on her door and tell her that she’s going to need to cash in her savings account until Washington “re-opens for business” as the political pundits have been saying all the past week.
Stop. Think about that for a second.
Five people just made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms, to defend our way of life, dozens more are currently wounded—many fighting for their lives right now—and all Uncle Sam is doing is tell them “we’ll help you when we are done arguing about how much we’ve already failed, thanks.”
This is personal to me. I’m not going to try and pretend otherwise. I served overseas, like many of you. I deployed twice. I wrote the letters to my family in case I died. I had my will and my requests for how my funeral should have been run. But one of the things that I took comfort in was that as bad as all that would be—as much as I knew my Mom would cry and as much as I knew my family would grieve—I knew that my death wouldn’t be a financial hit. That my brothers in arms would be able to take government funds and make sure my family had what they needed.
For these five families, that is now a lie.
Those families have all become casualties of this war. Instead of our government making it easier, they are only making it harder on the families they swore to help. Instead of living up to their promises to care for its grieving citizens, they are turning their backs on the people who need help the most.
Our government was founded on the principle “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” I’m asking for all of your help to make a little bit of that happen today.
This is an email link for the online directory of Congressional Representatives.
Please, find yours. Take five minutes to send them a scathing email. It doesn’t have to be pretty, and in my opinion it doesn’t need to be polite. Use the five minutes to give them a piece of your mind.
Most members of Congress have a Facebook page: light ‘em up.
Help us bring the fight to them.
Help us advocate for the families.
Help us take care of our Brothers and Sisters in arms.
Once again we have been reminded today of the simple, honest truth when you serve: it’s about the man next to you, that’s it.
Right now the families of those men need our help.
3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment has requested that if you would like to make a donation to please utilize one of the following charities: