By Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office


 BATON ROUGE, La. – The request to allow Louisiana National Guardsman Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery has been approved.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh announced today that he has approved an exception to policy that will allow Florich, who was killed in a helicopter crash off the coast of Florida March 10, to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

 “The Louisiana National Guard thanks the Secretary of the Army for his consideration of this appeal that is deeply personal to the family, friends and loved ones of Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich,” said Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the LANG. “We sincerely appreciate the tremendous outpouring of support offered from across the country to the Florich family. This Soldier's burial at Arlington National Cemetery is a fitting testament to his sacrifice and honorable service to our state and country.”


"As the U.S. military evolves, reserve and National Guard service members train alongside their active duty counterparts with increasing frequency," McHugh wrote in a subsequent memorandum. "When these service members tragically lose their lives while training side-by-side for the same mission in defense of our nation, it is fitting to afford them the same burial privileges."


McHugh has since ordered a review of the Code of Federal Regulations - which governs eligibility for interment and inurnment at Arlington - to see if changes may be needed.


"As the cemetery's stewards since 1864, the United States Army has a duty and responsibility to ensure that we are able to meet the needs of eligible veterans and service members who desire Arlington National Cemetery as their final resting place," he said. "To do that, it's important that we continue to uphold its standards and traditions, but at the same time, recognize the service and sacrifice of deserving veterans and military personnel. Staff Sgt. Florich is clearly deserving of this honor and his nation's thanks."