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Family forced to pay to ship body of Marine killed after Pentagon policy change

Family forced to pay to ship body of Marine killed after Pentagon policy change

A family of a fallen Marine were forced to pay $60,000 to transport her body so that she could be buried due to a Pentagon policy change

A grieving family has had to do the unthinkable to bring their child back home to be buried due to a new policy change at the Pentagon.

When loved ones enlist in the Marines, there is always a thought of ‘what if’, but having to fight for the ability to have your child brought back to you isn’t one of them.

Unfortunately, this is what one family had to go through just to be able to hold a funeral for their child.

Nicole Gee was a service member who tragically lost her life in a suicide blast in 2021, along with twelve others.

At the time, she was situated near Kabul Airport when the unimaginable struck.

As the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan was in full force, it saw 170 Afghan people trying to flee the country from the ISIS regime, when on August 26, the terrorist group attacked an evacuation which was taking place near the US embassy.

Nicole Gee loved being a Marine and working with evacuees.
Instagram / nicole_gee_

At 23-years-old, Gee had her entire life ahead of her, but it was cruelly taken by someone aiming to do as much damage as possible to those who were serving at the Marines.

But that isn’t where the heartache stopped.

Instead of the Department of Defense (DOD) paying for the transportation of her body back to her family, the organisation decided to decline due to a change to the National Defense Authorization Act.

This led to the family having to find a staggering $60,000 to move Gee’s body from California to Arlington to bury her.

Republican lawmaker and Army veteran, Cory Mills, revealed that the family were forced to find these funds to transport the Marine’s body and that this was due to a change in policy.

Honoring Our Fallen took the matter into their own hands and brought her home.
Honoring Our Fallen / YouTube

But there are good people in this world who look after those who defend their country, such as Honoring Our Fallen, which is a non-profit that helps the families of fallen American service members.

This charity came forward to pay the bill to move Gee’s body to Virginia.

Having met with the families of the 13 service members killed on duty, Mills was told of what the Gee family were going through.

Even though Gee's body was first flown to Roseville, California to her hometown for a ceremony, the family were told that they were solely responsible for taking her body to the Arlington National Cemetery, according to Mills.

This awful situation was due to the National Defense Authorization Act change which states that the Secretary of Defense may provide the family of a fallen service member ‘a commercial air travel use waiver for the transportation of deceased remains of [a] military member who dies inside a theater of combat operations.'

Misty Fuoco remembers her sister as being 'fearless'.
Instagram / nicole_gee_

But Gee didn’t die under those conditions which gave the secretary the ability to decline payment.

In response to this, Mills called out the DOD, stating that they should pay for the transportation of bodies of those who have died serving their country and not their families.

Speaking to Fox News, he said: ”Typically, our fallen heroes are flown back home for a solemn service and then laid to a final rest at Arlington Cemetery with the utmost respect and honor.”

“It is an egregious injustice that grieving families were burdened to shoulder the financial strain of honoring their loved ones,” he continued.

Describing her sister, Misty Fuoco called Gee 'fearless' and spoke about how they would regularly text about how 'amazing' her job was.

A change in Pentagon policy meant that the grieving family needed to pay for transport.
Instagram / nicole_gee_

She told the station: “She was a big advocate of positive mental health and helping others and she was just absolutely thrilled with the work she was doing in Afghanistan.”

But Gee wasn’t to know what would come, and in a text message less than two weeks before she was killed, she wrote to her sister: “Don’t be scared either! There’s a lot in the news lately… But there’s a LOT of Marines and soldiers going to provide security.”

“We’ve been training for this evacuation and it’s actually happening so I’m excited for it. Hopefully it’s successful and safe. I love you!!!”

A Pentagon spokesperson told UNILAD: “Through the transfer of remains process, Marine Corps casualty assistance officers were in direct communication with Sgt. Gee’s family, and they remain in contact today.

"In the case of Sgt. Gee, the Marine Corps stayed consistent with its policy that all costs associated with internment be borne by the government."

They continued: "At this time, we have no record of any incurred charges or any pending requests for reimbursement associated with the transportation of Sgt. Gee’s remains to Arlington National Cemetery. The Marine Corps takes very seriously the transfer of remains of our Marines – they never leave a Marine behind, and they care for the families of their fallen Marines.”

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/nicole_gee__ / YouTube/Honoring Our Fallen

Topics: US News, News, Terrorism