“Unfortunately, as a result of the shutdown, we do not have the legal authority to make death gratuity payments at this time. However, we are keeping a close eye on those survivors who have lost loved ones serving in the Department of Defense.” - Nate Christensen, a spokesman for the DoD
Several Rangers have Fallen in combat during the shutdown. The Rangers' families need your help. One such family is the Pattersons.
Due to the government shutdown and the denial of death benefits, PFC Cody Patterson's family is under severe financial distress. The 75th Ranger Regiment is currently attempting to collect donations through the Ranger Assistance Fund.
Contributions can be made at the RAFs website at http://www.75thraf.org/ by clicking the "Donate Here" button.
Checks can be sent to:
The Ranger Assistance Fund
2733 Summerfield Pl.
Phenix City, AL 36867
Here is more about Cody Patterson from the 3-75th:
Pfc. Cody James Patterson
Patterson was born April 12, 1989 in Corvallis, Ore. After graduating from Philomath High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army from his hometown of Philomath, Ore., January 2012 and completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Ga., as an infantryman. After graduating from the Basic Airborne Course there, he was assigned to the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program also at Fort Benning. Patterson graduated from the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program and was then assigned to Company B, 3rd Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment November 2012 where he served as a Rifleman.
“Pfc. Cody Patterson was the poster child for the Ranger Regiment,” said Lt. Col. Patrick J. Ellis, Commander of 3rd Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment. “He was courageous and dedicated and lost his life while fighting tenaciously against our Nation’s enemies alongside his fellow Rangers. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Patterson family.”
This was his second deployment to Afghanistan.
His military education includes the Basic Airborne Course and the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program. His awards and decorations include the Parachutist Badge and the U.S. Army Expert Rifle Marksmanship Qualification Badge.
Patterson has also been awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and Overseas Service Ribbon.
“Pfc. Cody Patterson had a limitless future,” said Col. Christopher S. Vanek, commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment. “He would have been successful in whatever path he had chosen in life. He chose to serve his country by volunteering for the most difficult and challenging duties of a United States Army Ranger. His loss is devastating to his fellow Rangers, our Army and our Nation. Our country was fortunate that he chose to serve in our ranks. Our thoughts and prayers are with this young Ranger’s family.”
He was posthumously awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart and NATO Medal.
Patterson is survived by his mother, Nancy R. Wilson of Corvallis, Ore., and his father, Randy L. Patterson, and his sister, Taylor, both of Philomath, Ore.
Update: Tommy at Ranger Up has an excellent post up about this very issue. Go check it out.
...The government voted, overwhelmingly, to continue to pay and fund our armed forces as they gripe and moan and take pot shots at each other over Obamacare. Yet, they are refusing to do the most important thing when things go horribly wrong: take care of the families of those we lose.
Inside the past 24hours a mother had a man knock on her door and told her son died half way around the world. Half a day later the same guy is about to knock on her door and tell her that she’s going to need to cash in her savings account until Washington “re-opens for business” as the political pundits have been saying all the past week.
Stop. Think about that for a second...
Update 2: Representative Renee Elmers [R - NC] is working on fixing this issue:
Update 3: We have word that several oranizations have stepped up and will cover Cody Patterson's family for the Dover flights and the burial. Please push Congress to get off the dime and provide these needed funds!
Via Tommy for Ranger Up:
"I just got off the phone with a staffer for the Armed Services Committee, at present there "no pending or current proposed legislation" to help the new or future gold star families while the government shut down is in place. If you'd like to give them a piece of your mind like I did, here's the #: 202-224-3871"
Update 4: To help the wounded in the recent attacks, you can visit the following to help:
Update 5: Asking the House Armed Services Committee "what gives?!" and the repsonse is here:
Chairman Joe Wilson from South Carolina runs the military personnel subcommittee and sent this letter up to Secretary Hagel on Friday.
In it, they attached the list of pay and benefits that are included in the Pay Our Military Act. See the list below the letter. The House interpretted this as including the Death Gratuity. The Obama Administration chose to read it as not including the Death Gratuity.
So now the HASC is working to give them the specific authorization for Death Gratuity in shutdown.
[PDF File attached. Right clck Here and "Save As"]
Update 6: Response from the Chairman of the Armed Service Committee:
McKeon Statement on Death Gratuity
Washington- Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee made the following statement on the provision of death benefits to families of fallen troops during the government shutdown.
"Last week Congress unanimously passed the Pay Our Military Act with the express intent that all military pay and allowances would be dispersed during a government shutdown. Judging by the Department of Defense's own summary of those programs, we believed that 'death gratuities' would continue to go to the families of those heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice. Without question, that was our clear intent. However, we can never let the welfare of our troops and their families become pawns in a political contest. If the Pentagon believes they need more explicit authority to disburse these payments, I am sure the House will provide it in very short order."
Last week, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) Chairman of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel wrote to Secretary Hagel seeking clarification on what pay and allowances from DoD's own comprehensive list would be permitted under the Pay Our Military Act.