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Fri, Jun 19, 2015

Appeal Successful: National Guard Soldier To Be Buried At Arlington

Had Been Fatally Injured In Helicopter Accident In Florida In March

The U.S. Army has overturned its decision to not allow the burial of Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich in Arlington National Cemetery after an appeal from the National Guard soldier's parents.

SSgt. Florich was one of 10 troops fatally injured when the helicopter he was aboard went down in the fog in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, FL in March. His family had requested burial in Arlington National Cemetery, but the Army had denied the request because Florich was not on active duty at the time of the accident.

Last week, it was announced by the Pentagon that Secretary of the Army John McHugh had overturned the decision, and the burial could proceed. McHugh granted an exception to a policy that is intended to preserve the limited amount of frees space in the National Cemetery, which will eventually close to new burials.

The Washington Post reports that in a statement, Pentagon officials said that while Florich was training as a member of the National Guard, the others on the helicopter were active duty troops and were eligible for burial at Arlington. The situation was called an "anomaly."

(SSgt. Florich pictured in a photo released by the Louisiana Army National Guard)

FMI: www.arlingtoncemetery.mil

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