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July 7, 2011 - 11:22pmPermalink
I researched all of the letters of condolence sent to next of kin for all the KIAs in my Vietnam unit - 105 in all over five years. Both Johnson and Nixon occasionally sent a LOC for non-combat deaths. I was not able to discover any pattern to explain the exceptions.
A LOC, like any funeral or memorial token or ceremony, is for the benefit of the survivors, not the deceased. The loved ones' loss is just as great regardless of the cause of death. If the soldier died while in service, the least the CIC can do is acknowledghe the survivors' loss and grief.
July 9, 2011 - 6:57amPermalink
the service member no matter how he/she died joined the service for patriotic reason's and signed the old BLANK CHECK! roughryder
July 13, 2011 - 7:58pmPermalink
My brother who served his country in the late 60's in Vietnem committed suicide earlier this year. He was sick. If he had done this when he served would I look at his illness any less than someone who passed away?
August 7, 2011 - 9:42amPermalink
I understand wanting the CIC to acknowledge the sacrifices made in service, but I think only the ultimate sacrifice should receive a LOC. Training in theater is just a part of being in the military. If your death is combat-related then the LOC should be issued. Soldiers may die in service for a variety of reasons. One airman I trained with died of a heart attack while running around a track on base. That sort of death may come to any and does not deserve a LOC in my opinion. If a LOC is issued in that case it diminishes its significance when issued to someone who dies in combat. Suicide, when a result of combat-related stress in-country, could be looked at on a case-by-case basis but I wonder if that, too, would seem a like a slap in the face to the families of those who died while serving since suicide could be perceived as a "failure to serve" when the soldier checks out that way. I don't know if suicide should be honored with a LOC, a hard question.