Louisiana National Guard sergeant killed in helicopter crash gets Arlington burial
WASHINGTON -- Nearly six months after Army Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich III and 10 others were killed when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed off Florida, Florich belatedly was buried Tuesday (September 8) with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Army initially denied Arlington burial to Florich, 26, a Louisiana National Guardsman, because the Army said his role then -- active duty for training only -- did not meet the criteria for burial at the nation's national military cemetery.
But after pressure from his family and members of Congress, Army Secretary John McHugh approved an exception to the policy.
"Sergeant Florich was a hero who died in service to our nation, and he deserved a hero's burial at Arlington National Cemetery," said Rep., Ralph Abraham, R-Alto., who attended the funeral with Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge. "Hopefully today's funeral can bring some closure to his family and loved ones as they continue to mourn his passing. I keep the families of Staff Sgt. Florich and the 10 other service members who died during this exercise in my prayers. They remind us of the price for our freedom, and I am eternally grateful for their service."
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