As the Presidential contest gets set to debate foreign policy, NewsWorks was curious to see how one of the big changes of the Obama administration is working.
As of March 2009, the dignified transfer was opened to coverage by the media, pending family approval. The dignified transfer is not a ceremony, but is described by the Air Force as a “solemn movement” of the remains of soldiers lost in any military activity. Each soldier’s remains goes through DAFB. It remains the nation’s military mortuary.
Monday, two soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan made the journey on the way home. Staff Sgt. Justin Marquez was from Aberdeen, North Carolina. His family was there. Each family has the right under the transfer protocol to refuse to speak to the media. The Marquez family waited silently behind the vehicles. They did not want to speak. Officials at the base Monday asked us not to photograph them.
The other soldier arriving home was Warrant Officer 1 Joseph Schiro of Coral Springs, Fl. They were both killed by small arms fire near Wardak Province, Afghanistan. That’s located in the east central part of the country. They were both assigned to Ft. Bragg, N.C.
Marquez was 25 years old. He was on his first tour of duty. The military said he lived with his parents and twin brother. Schrio was a married father of 3. He was also a member of the elite Green Berets force.
Each ceremony is complete with a crew of five soldiers who handles the transfer vehicle. Two ranking officers of the base and a Chaplin also attended.
There are now 2,117 members of U.S. armed forces who have been killed in Afghanistan. The first military action began October 7, 2001.
This video, photographed and edited by Charlie O’Neill, runs about 3.5 minutes. The media was notified the evening before. One other photographer attended this ceremony along with us.