White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly described in detail what happens when a U.S. soldier dies in combat during a press conference at the White House Thursday.
“Most Americans don’t know what happens when we lose one of our soldiers, sailors, and marines or coast guardsmen in combat,” he told reporters at the White House. “Their buddies wrap them up in whatever passes as a shroud. puts them on a helicopter and sends them home. their first stop is when they are packed in ice, typically at the air head and flown to usually Europe. where they’re then packed in ice again and flown to Dover air force base.”
Kelly then continued with what happens when military medics obtain the bodies. “Dover takes care of the remains, embalms them, meticulously dresses them in their uniform with the medals they earned and put them on another airplane to take them home.”
The general then said the movie “Taking Chance” is an excellent representation of the full process before explaining how military officials notify members of the family.
“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. And then he knocks on the door, typically the mom and dad will answer, the wife. And if there is a wife, this is happening in two different places, if the parents are divorced three different places and the casualty officer proceeds to break the heart of a family member, and stays with this family.”
Kelly called the men and women who give their lives for their country as the “best 1 percent this country produces.”
“Who writes letters to the families? typically the company commander. In my case the commander the division commander, secretary defense, typically the service chief and the president. Typically writes the letter. Typically the only phone calls the family receives are the most important phone calls they could imagine and that is from their buddies. In my case, after my son was killed his friends were calling us from Afghanistan telling us what a great guy he was. Those are the only phone calls that really matter.”
The official brought up the letter-writing process after Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson excoriated President Donald Trump’s personal phone call to a family in her district last week.
“Some presidents have elected to call, all presidents I believe have elected to send letters. if you elect to call a family like this, it is about the most difficult thing you could imagine. There’s no perfect way to make that phone call. When I took this job and talked to president trump about how to do it, my first recommendation was he not do it. Because it’s not the phone call that parents, family members are looking forward to,” he concluded.
WATCH HOW GENERAL KELLY SLAMS CONGRESSWOMAN WILSON FOR HER POLITICIZATION OF THE DEATH OF A GREEN BERET
WATCH: General Kelly Speaks In White House Briefing; Says Little Is Sacred Left In America
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