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.