Senator Schatz Amendment Supporting Benefits for Families of Fallen Service Members Serving on Humanitarian Missions Included in Defense Bill

Legislation Would Help Families Participate in the Dignified Transfer of Their Lost Loved Ones


Washington, D.C. – Following the loss of six U.S. Marines who were serving on a humanitarian mission in Nepal, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) filed legislation to ensure families of fallen service members serving on non-combat missions receive the same travel benefits as those serving in combat areas.  Senator Schatz’s amendment was included in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2016.

“When our men and women in uniform are deployed anywhere in the world, they put themselves at great risk to serve our nation.  And when our service members make the ultimate sacrifice for our country, we need to make sure their families receive all the benefits they deserve, whether their loved ones were killed on a combat or non-combat mission,” said Senator Schatz.  “My provision rights a wrong in our current policy and makes sure that families of fallen service members serving on humanitarian missions can travel and participate in the dignified transfer of the remains of their loved ones.”

After the May 12 helicopter crash that claimed the lives of six Marines serving on a disaster relief mission in Nepal, an article in Foreign Policy magazine highlighted a Department of Defense policy that disqualified families of Marines killed on humanitarian missions from travel benefits, making it more financially difficult for them to participate in the dignified transfer of the remains of their loved ones at Dover Air Force Base.

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