Perspective: Fallen troops now returning by charter flights
In an about-face by the U.S. government four years into the war in Iraq , America's fallen troops are being brought back to their families aboard charter jets instead of ordinary commercial flights, and the caskets are being met by honor guards in white gloves instead of baggage handlers with forklifts.
That change, which took effect quietly in January and applies also to members of the U.S. military killed in Afghanistan , came after a campaign waged by a father who was aghast to learn that his son's body was going to be unloaded like so much luggage.
John Holley said an airline executive told him that was the "most expeditious" way to get the body home.
"I said, `That's not going to happen with my son. That's not how my son is coming home,"' said Holley, an Army veteran from San Diego whose son, Spc. Matthew Holley, was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2005. "If it was `expeditious' to deliver them in garbage trucks, would you do that?"
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