Father Fights For Soldier To Be Buried At Arlington Cemetery [VIDEO]

Heather Hunter Contributor
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Former Green Beret Stephen Florich cannot understand why his son, a soldier who was killed during a helicopter training crash, cannot be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

“My son was in uniform. My son was serving in the capacity as a crew chief and a door gunner. And in adverse weather conditions, he accepted a mission to train people for combat in the future. And in that, he gave all and lost his life,” the father told Fox News Channel.

Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich was a Louisiana National Guard flight mechanic aboard an Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter when it crashed in the Gulf of Mexico in March.

Arlington National Cemetery’s eligibility rules for burial explain that “any active duty member of the Armed Forces and any retired member of the Armed Forces” can be buried but “a person whose only service is active duty for training or inactive duty training in the National Guard or Reserve Component” is considered ineligible for burial.

The Louisiana National Guard is appealing the denial but the U.S. Army insists that “he does not meet the requirements for burial in Arlington National Cemetery.”

One of the seven Marines involved in the crash was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in April.

“His wife Megan is seven months pregnant. It is her desire and the desire of our extended families to have our son who died serving his country interred at Arlington. In the future, when her daughter is asked ‘where is your father?’ She should be able to say: ‘He is in Arlington.’ The fact that others are interred there makes my son no less a man because he was in the National Guard, and because he was in the National Guard, does not mean I should have to cremate and put his ashes in an urn to put him in a small space,” Florich told “Fox & Friends” Saturday morning.

“My son died in service of his nation. He volunteered during a time of war.”