In the wake of the controversy surrounding the deaths of four US Army Special Forces members in Niger, Oct. 4 reminds Americans of the true sacrifice made by many who join the ranks of those killed in action.
Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Terrence Johnson, who was among those killed in Niger, shared in a televised interview with Good Morning America her wish for people to remember the legacy he left behind as a husband, father and soldier.
After a telephone call to Sgt. Johnson’s wife, according to the interview with Good Morning America, it was reported that President Donald Trump’s remarks were insensitive toward family members as he struggled to remember the fallen soldier’s name.
“I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name, and that’s what hurt me the most,” Johnson said in her interview with Good Morning America. “Because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risked his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name?”
During a White House press briefing, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly spoke on the dealings of Gold Star families.
Kelly fell into the category of being a Gold Star parent when his son 1st Lt. Robert M. Kelly was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.
Kelly said that when a soldier is killed in combat, his comrades cover the body in whatever is around. They then load the fallen into a helicopter and are transferred to a local base, where the body is packaged in ice.
They are then flown to an airbase in Europe where the body is then again repackaged, transferred to another aircraft and then flown to Dover Air Force Base. Once there the remains are processed, embalmed, restored they are thoroughly dressed in their uniform with the awards and decorations they earned. Symbolizing the service they’ve given to their country.
“While that’s happening, a casualty officer typically goes to the home very early in the morning and waits for the first lights to come on,” Kelly said during the briefing. “And then he knocks on the door. … The casualty officer proceeds to break the heart of a family member and stays with that family until, well, for a long, long time, even after the internment.”
Kelly said in the briefing the remains of the fallen soldier are then later transferred to the family and are given a funeral service with full military honors.
“So, I still hope, as you write your stories, and I appeal to America, that let’s not let this maybe last thing that’s held sacred in our society,” Kelly said in the briefing. “A young man, young woman going out and giving his or her life for our country let’s try to somehow keep that sacred.”