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Family forced to pay to ship body of Marine killed after Pentagon policy change: 'Egregious injustice'

Rep. Cory Mills said he learned that the family of Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, who died during the evacuation of Afghanistan, was forced to pay to move her body.

A Republican lawmaker is sounding the alarm after being notified one of the 13 Gold Star families from the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan was forced to pay to move the body of their loved one.

Rep. Cory Mills, R-Fla., who is also an Army veteran, told Fox News Digital that during a meeting with the families of the "Fallen 13" last week, he was "enraged to learn that the Department of Defense had placed a heavy financial burden" on the family of Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, who were forced to find funding in the thousands to move her body to its final resting place after her death 2021 death in Afghanistan.

The Gee family was able to secure the funding, which came to "a staggering $60,000," to move their loved one's body after a nonprofit organization stepped in to cover the cost, Mills said.

I TRULY UNDERSTOOD MEMORIAL DAY WHEN I BECAME PART OF THIS GOLD STAR FAMILY

According to Mills' office, the option for the Defense Department to decline to pay for transport of the body was made possible by an amendment to last year's National Defense Authorization Act, stating that the secretary of Defense "may" provide a fallen service member's next of kin "a commercial air travel use waiver for the transportation of deceased remains of military member who dies inside a theater of combat operations.’’

Gee's remains were initially flown to her hometown of Roseville, California, for a ceremony, but the responsibility for transporting Gee to her final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery would fall on the family. Honoring Our Fallen, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting the families of fallen American service members, stepped up to help the family transport the remains via private jet to Virginia.

But Mills believes that the responsibility should fall on the Defense Department and not burden the families of fallen heroes.

"Typically, our fallen heroes are flown back home for a solemn service and then laid to a final rest at Arlington Cemetery with the utmost respect and honor," Mills said. "It is an egregious injustice that grieving families were burdened to shoulder the financial strain of honoring their loved ones. This is an unacceptable situation that demands immediate rectification."

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment. 

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