Death Benefitsby Representative Lou Barletta
Posted on 2013-10-09
BARLETTA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor a fallen soldier
from my district, and I urge the passage of a bill later today to
ensure that death benefits still flow to the families of our military
heroes despite the government shutdown.
Army Ranger Sergeant Patrick C. Hawkins, from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was killed this past Sunday by an IED.
Sergeant Hawkins was on his fourth tour in Afghanistan and was serving as a rifleman, a gun team leader, and a Ranger team leader when he was killed. Fittingly, he was tending to another wounded Ranger when he was killed. Sergeant Hawkins was clearly following part of the Army Ranger creed, which says: I will never leave a fallen comrade.
Mr. Speaker, we should take that advice as well here in this body and not leave behind Sergeant Hawkins' wife, Brittanie, of Lansing, Kansas, or his parents, Roy and Sheila Hawkins, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Here in the House, we thought we had taken care of this problem by passing our Pay Our Military Act soon after the shutdown occurred; but, apparently, the Pentagon wants to have more explicit guidance on their ability to provide the death benefits to military families. So let it be said loudly and clearly here in the House of Representatives: we will never leave a fallen comrade.
I urge my colleagues to pass the bill to make sure that the $100,000 gratuity is paid to cover final costs for Sergeant Hawkins and for all of our other brave men and women in service and that loved ones left behind receive what they are entitled to. I hope that the Senate follows suit and that the President signs it into law so that there is no further delay.
May God bless Sergeant Patrick C. Hawkins and all others like him who defend our freedoms every day.