Media allowed to cover another casualty

Posted: 4/08/2009 by Floyd in Labels: , ,

DOVER, Del. (AP) - On a cold April night, under a bright moon, the body of Army Specialist Israel Candelaria Mejias arrived at Dover Air Force Base in a flag-draped aluminum case.

Mejias, of San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, was killed by an improvised explosive device Sunday while serving in Iraq.

His return Tuesday marked the second time this week members of the media were allowed to witness a U.S. combat casualty being brought back from overseas, ending the Pentagon's 18-year ban on such coverage.

Mejias' body arrived in Delaware shortly before 8:30 p.m. aboard a C-17 military cargo jet from Ramstein, Germany.

A little more than hour later, an eight-member team from the Army's Old Guard in Washington, D.C., slowly walked up the rear ramp of the C-17 and into the cargo hold, where an advance team from the military mortuary at Dover stood quiet sentinel over the fallen soldier's body.

Following the white-gloved carry team were Col. Robert Edmondson, commander of the mortuary affairs operations, chaplain Maj. Klavens Noel, and Brig. Gen. Walter Davis, director of Army aviation.

Davis and Edmondson bowed their heads as Noel recited a brief prayer. The carry team then gently picked up the case bearing the soldier's body and carried it to a waiting vehicle for transport to the mortuary, where it will be processed and returned to the family.
This is a big switch from the cloak of darkness put on the American public since 1991,,The Pentagon has banned the media from taking pictures of military caskets returning from war since 1991,citing concern for the privacy of grieving families and friends of the dead soldiers. The Bush administration issued a stern reminder of that policy in March 2003, shortly before the war in Iraq began.

I feel that if it is alright with the family, then, it is alright. I think also when this was issued that the real reason behind it was to blind the citizens to what was taking place over there and nothing more.