Sailor who died in USS McCain collision inspires legislation

The dignified transfer of Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers and Sgt. Cameron Thomas at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on April 28, 2017.


By RYAN VOYLES | The Herald & Review (Tribune News Service) | Published: May 25, 2018

WASHINGTON — An amendment announced this week by U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis would seek to prevent another situation like the one faced by the family of Logan Palmer, a sailor who died in August aboard the USS John McCain.

Davis, a Taylorville Republican, introduced the Fallen Heroes Family Travel Act that would require the Department of Defense to pay for travel expenses for families of service members killed overseas so they can be at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware when the remains arrive in the U.S.

“If one of our fallen service members is flown to Dover Air Force Base instead of home, DoD should arrange their travel and cover expenses for families,” Davis said in a statement. “The last thing these families need to worry about after the death of a loved one serving our country is trying to cut through bureaucratic red tape.”

Palmer, 23, died on Aug. 21, one of 10 sailors lost on the destroyer USS John McCain after a collision with a tanker near Singapore. The U.S. Navy later deemed the collision a “preventable” disaster.

Palmer’s family had to seek funding from an outside organization to pay for their travel to meet Palmer’s remains, which were taken to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

If Palmer had died in combat, the DoD would have covered his family’s travel expenses. Waivers are granted for deaths outside of combat, but only upon request.

Davis’ amendment was introduced on May 16 and is currently in the House’s Committee on Armed Services.

The idea is to attach the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which was approved in the House on Thursday afternoon.

The Senate is working on its own version of the defense authorization bill.

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