March 18th, 2009
02:32 PM ET
12 years ago

Pentagon to pay for families of fallen soldiers to travel to Dover

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Defense Department will pay for families of fallen soldiers to travel to Dover Air Force Base to be present for the return of their deceased family member, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Wednesday.

The announcement comes as the Pentagon prepares to allow the media to record the return of fallen soldiers from overseas at Dover, if the families of the troops permit it.

The media has been prevented from doing so since 1989.

Filed under: Pentagon
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. a beginning

    nice thing to do

    now follow up with more nice things

    March 18, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. Brian Crooks

    Bang bang! Two in a row! First, the Pentagon ends stop-loss, and now they pay for the families of the fallen to travel to Dover! I dare one of these right-wing nutjobs to claim President Obama doesn't care about the troops!

    March 18, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  3. Deborah Black

    God bless all of you. You are the bravest people I know.

    March 18, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  4. Kim

    They are so wrong on this one. Every soldier desrves the utmost respect. The flight home is as sacred as a funeral and should never be there for the public's eye. One must ask.....what do they have to gain by making this into a gawker's buffet? To have America mourn with them? Bunk. They will never know that person, and to them it will be just another casket with a flag. As a military wife, I am ashamed any American would use the ultimate sacrifice as a statement one way or the other.

    March 18, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. yuri

    It's about time Pentagon did something soothin' to save the soldiers from slippin' away.

    March 18, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. sherry

    When Bush was president did the defense department pay for families to come to Dover for the return of their loved ones?
    That is the least they can do for the sacrifice that the service men and women have done for our country.....

    March 18, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  7. Voter

    You mean to tell me that you HAVE NOT been paying for immediate family members to get to Dover????????

    March 18, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Mathew Palmer

    It's about time and it's the least our government can do. As a flight attendant, I have witnessed the caskets being delivered to families in cardboard boxes too many times.

    March 18, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. Jackie in Dallas

    Finally! This is long overdue. Families SHOULD be present for the return of their fallen to American soil. And I bless again the devotion to duty, enormous sympathy, and sensitivity that the "Angels of Dover" exhibit with their care of our fallen. Whatever they are being paid is not nearly enough for what they do!

    While I side with the families wishing privacy in the mourning of their dead, the sight of bodies in their carriers covered with American flags being returned to Dover Military Mortuary has no way of identifying those who the remains are without a closeup of the tags. Photography of the carriers was banned not because of sensitivity to the families but because of the bad image it portrayed. Photograph of those unidentifiable carriers perhaps would be a significant reminder to both the public and the officials of the price tag we are paying for two wars that goes far beyond dollars.

    March 18, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. Kent in CA

    Bravo Secretary Gates! Let those who have made the supreme sacrifice for our liberty receive all our nation can give to help them through their grief.

    March 18, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. Had It

    I hink it should come out of Rumsfield's retirement. Every penny.

    March 18, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. The Broker.

    And so you should.

    March 18, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. Phil

    Good for them. If the Air Force can play chauffer to Pelosi, the least the military can do is fly the grieving families to Dover.

    March 18, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. cnnnewser

    It's about time this ban was lifted –
    our fallen heroes shouldn't be sneaked back into the country – they should return with full hero welcomes!
    I hated the Bush Administration for hiding our dead soldiers – it's as if by hiding them it kept the spotlight off Bush's war.

    March 18, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. Steph

    Another change we can believe in.

    March 18, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. California Gold

    Kim, providing coverage of our deceased returning home is not wrong. What is proposed does not detract from the solemnity of the occasion. If you are a military wife as you claim, you should know a soldier is government property. That's a fact. Not only am I a retired military wife but I also served active duty. I think it's appropriate and fitting for the country to share and respectfully mourn through the camera lens the return of our fallen. You call that bunk. That's insulting the love and respect millions of Americans feel.

    March 18, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  17. Lillie

    Long overdue....our men and women deserve this honor!!! And Cheney should pay for all travel arrangements for family members!!

    March 18, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |