Arlington denies burial of guardsman killed in chopper crash


NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Arlington National Cemetery says a Louisiana National Guardsman who was killed in a helicopter crash in the Gulf of Mexico can’t be buried there because he died during a training exercise.

The cemetery says its burial plots are only for service members who die on active duty and space is limited.

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The burial rejection does not sit well with the family of Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich. His father, a former Green Beret who lives in Virginia, calls it a “slap in the face.”

Thomas Florich was among four guardsmen and seven Camp Lejeune Marines killed when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed March 10 off the Florida coast.

An appeal has been filed asking the Army for an exception.

The cemetery says Florich’s service makes him eligible for inurnment at Arlington.

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