Army approves Arlington Burial for Louisiana National Guardsman
ARLINGTON, VA - Following numerous requests and appeals, Secretary of the Army John McHugh announced today that he has approved an exception to the policy to allow a Louisiana National Guardsman to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich was one of 11 service members killed when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed off the coast of Pensacola, Florida during a training exercise.
The Army initially denied the family's request because he was killed during a training exercise and was not on active duty. A subsequent advisory panel denied the family's appeal for burial due to the cemetery's strict regulations for burial.
McHugh specifically noted that other members that were killed were active and therefore eligible for burial without any exceptions, which led him to overturn the initial decisions.
"It's important to recognize the service and sacrifice of deserving veterans and military personnel," McHugh said. "Staff Sgt. Florich is clearly deserving of this honor and his nation's thanks"