For the first time in 18 years, the Pentagon granted the news media access on Sunday night to cover the arrival of a coffin to Dover Air Force Base from overseas.

The coffin, draped in a flag and bearing the body of Air Force Staff Sgt. Phillip Myers of Hopewell, Va, was unloaded from a government aircraft by the military honor guard. Sergeant Myers, 30, was killed by an improvised explosive device near Helmand Province in Afghanistan on April 4, according to the Defense Department.

A ban on news coverage of returning war dead, which had been in place since the Persian Gulf War in 1991, was lifted by the Obama administration following a review of the policy by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

In the hours leading up to the transfer of Sergeant Myers’s corpse, Air Force officials received the consent of his family members — per the new policy — to grant members of the news media permission to be on hand.

Welcome home, Sergeant Myers.

  1. Paddy-O says:

    That sucks. How many more are we going to lose in that un-winnable war in Afghanistan?

  2. Mr. Fusion says:

    I’m not so sure the public needs to know the name of the person in the coffin. That is personal and not required.

    My condolences to the family.

  3. Jadik says:

    At least they consulted the family.

  4. Jadik says:

    At least they consulted the family.

  5. Dallas says:

    This is the way a fallen soldier should come home.

    Contrast this with the Cheney presidency where fallen soldiers are brought back in the cover of night like unseen UPS cargo.

  6. Stephanie says:

    Mr. Fusion I disagree. That person was serving in our military that is funded by taxpayer dollars. He gave his life to protect this country. I don’t agree with the war but we should know the names and faces of those that die for us. Not putting a name and a face (or a coffin in this instance) is in someway ignoring what is really happening. It is easy to read about and just move on. The pictures give it more reality and gravity that our soldiers are often killed. I applaud this move and think it will help some get their heads out of the sand regarding this war. Soldiers should be honored and these are pictures of the soldiers being honored when they come home. I cannot imagine any parent of a soldier wanting the ultimate sacrifice of their son or daughter’s life for this country to be a private thing. No soldier wants to be forgotten.

  7. Mr. Fusion says:

    #5, Stephanie,

    I see your point and partly agree.

    I don’t think we need to know WHO is in the coffin. That is the personal and private matter. I feel feel the gory, “gotta see the image” mentality is over the top. War is seldom kind to its victims bodies.

    I totally agree that the fallen should be remembered. Their pictures should be honored, their names held high, their memories etched in stone forever. But I want to separate all that from the physical, destroyed, dismembered, relic of the person.

  8. Mr Diesel says:

    I’m on the fence about allowing the name to be released.

    The policy only changes in that they must have the families permission, they can’t just go out and start snapping pictures like it is some popstars crotch.

    Having done a Patriot Guard service I can safely say that it pains me to see every coffin with a deceased soldier in it.

    If I might make a plug to anyone here, watch Taking Chance with Kevin Bacon.

  9. Floyd says:

    First, I’m a Vietnam era veteran, but was fortunate enough to have not been in a combat zone during that time. However, if they had needed me in the Nam, I would have followed orders.

    Letting the public know who died for their country and showing their coffin is, and should be, entirely up to the family of the deceased. That’s the current policy.

    What was not good was the previous policy of bringing the dead home in secret.

  10. Todd Peterson says:

    The US is doing the right thing! This is the right way to honor your fallen soldiers. Don’t hide them. Be proud of their contribution and sacrifice!

  11. dorkyninja says:

    My two cents. . . take it for what it’s worth.

    #2 – Mr Fusion.

    While we appreciate your input you shouldn’t speak for veterans unless you are one yourself, and if you are then you should indicate that to be taken a little more seriously.

    Had I been killed when I was serving my country, I would have had no problem with people knowing my name and face if I was coming home in this manner. When you serve you should be proud of what you’re doing, and the people you serve should know who you are. I can’t imagine that anyone serving would have a problem with it. This man’s family was obviously proud enough of what he was doing to allow his name to be released and let us all know of their sacrifice for us.

    #8 – Floyd

    A personal thank you to you. Your generation of warriors never got the proper thanks you deserved, and our country should be ashamed of how some of those warriors were treated.

  12. Mr Diesel says:

    #10 dorkyninja

    Excuse me. Mr Fusion shouldn’t speak for veterans just because he isn’t one? As a Vietnam era veteran (I actually volunteered to go) I sure as hell didn’t serve 6 years so that I could take away (or suggest that he shouldn’t comment) Mr Fusion’s right to say what he wants whether he is a vet or not.


    That’s like saying you’re not a meteorologist so you shouldn’t comment on the weather.

  13. Mr. Fusion says:

    #10, dork,

    Maybe we shouldn’t allow anyone to comment unless they have lost a family member or good friend to war. After all, how can you expect to be taken seriously if you occupied a chair in Washington while others actually got down, dirty, and scarred in real combat.

    Then I would ask you to learn the difference between “empathy” and “sympathy”.

  14. Stephanie says:

    Mr. Fusion,

    I am not saying that we should see what is left of the body but there is nothing wrong with seeing a casket and knowing what the soldier’s name was. He died for us and he deserves to be honored for his sacrifice. Obviously his family agreed and I feel that 99.9% of other fallen soldier’s families would also agree. We will literally see.

  15. Stephanie says:

    Here is a disheartening story that is sort of along these lines. I hope SCI goes out of business. Everyone should think twice about funeral homes.

  16. keaneo says:

    Until I happened upon news TV coverage of Sergeant Myers’ return I hadn’t realized the restrictions media folks added on their own.

    No flash pictures, no “enhanced” recordings of the procedure, no supplemental lighting.

    Cripes. Good taste from journalists. What are we coming to?

  17. skatterbrainz says:

    Amazing how so many forget that whilst you “serve” in the U.S. armed forces, there is no “privacy” whatsoever. You become (legally and literally) “government property” and it is up to the government to decide what they wish to divulge to the public. The photograph restrictions were lifted with the caveat that each family may decide if they wish to allow pictures to be taken upon the arrival. The release of names is not decided by the families.

  18. Cursor_ says:

    Its about time we see the real result of war.

    We sure as hell didn’t hide the soldiers in WWI and II. There are whole fields of them.

    People NEED to know that violence is NOT a problem-solving tool.


  19. Floyd says:

    #15: and the picture at the top corroborates the press’s good taste when recording Sgt. Myers’ arrival.

  20. dvorakfan99999 says:

    Go to YouTube, type in “Highway of Heros” and see how we do it in Canada.

    I think we best honour our fallen soldiers when we openly acknowledge their sacrifices, and weep with their family and friends when we bring our heros home.

  21. James Hill - The Man That Owns This Blog says:

    Another failed liberal attempt to exploit the dead. Just because the left is getting owned at every turn is no reason to get pissy.

  22. Andrew says:

    I think Mr. Fusion is being misunderstood. He wants the names and faces of fallen veterans of war to be decorated and shared in honor of the great sacrifice that was made. Deservedly so.

    What he seems to not care for is watching the funeral as if it is a reality tv show. It’s my understanding that he views the funeral as sacred to family and friends and that the media doesn’t really need a place there.

    If I misunderstood at all, I apologize, but that’s what I got out of what he said.

  23. deowll says:

    “Welcome home, Sergeant Myers.”

    May you rest in piece.

  24. the flammer says:

    The only reason I would watch this is to wait and see if anyone drops a casket down the steps. That and some Benny Hill music is Youtube GOLD.

  25. cow-patty furniture says:

    #15, keano,

    I’ve shot many a wedding in churches. It is common not to use flash or lights. While wandering photographers are tolerated, they should be as inconspicuous as possible.

    I would expect a funeral to be even more reserved.

  26. Mr. Fusion says:

    #22, Andrew,

    What he seems to not care for is watching the funeral as if it is a reality tv show.

    I hadn’t thought about it like that but yes, I do feel that way.

    I am thinking along the lines of a young widow seeing her husband’s name splashed across the TV screen with the narrator telling us how he died as the coffin is offloaded. It doesn’t matter if one soldier is shown coming off the airplane while the other six aren’t. They were all heroes.Should we all learn that he was blown up by an improvised bomb?

    When we see a flag draped coffin, the name belongs to every fallen soldier.I would prefer to leave it there.

  27. cwitzel says:

    I cried when I saw this. I haven’t cried since my grandmother passed.

    18 years, wow! 18 years of seeing, on TV, “10 deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan today now to Bob with the weather”, but nothing to make it real. Nothing to make you see the sacrifice these men and women have made for us.

    God, I am still crying. I hope these politicians are doing the right thing. (Regardless of party.)

    I have been around the world and I know that we live in the most amazing country in the world. We have the finest military, with volunteers that choose to represent us in our wars no matter where there are. They are willing to give us the ultimate sacrifice and finally we can see their return. This is critical if we are to understand what they have done for us.

    I can only hope that these politicians know what they are doing. After the last weeks news of new laws, lashings etc, if it was me, as emotional as I am right now, I might have a solution for all our newly surplus nuclear weapons. Barbarians. No way to change that.

  28. James Hill - All Time Leader says:

    #26 – Don’t lose your mojo, idiot. You’ve been getting owned for years, and you’re getting soft over a coffin?


  29. web says:

    Nothing but political ammo.

    And lets not forget the living. It means a lot. Unfortunately, I remember some lovely homecomings during “Nam”.


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