The Gingrey campaign was kind enough to send a link, where you can learn more about Patti Saylor’s story here.
On August 15, 2005, Army Sgt. Paul Saylor was tragically killed while on duty in Iraq.
As with any family of a fallen solider, Sgt. Saylor’s family prepared to have Paul’s remains delivered to them so they could honor his life, service to his country and his ultimate sacrifice.
The Saylor’s were deeply disturbed to learn the process in place at the time of returning deceased military personnel home resulted in the inability of the family to obtain the closure that comes with the opportunity to see their son, brother and loved one last time to say good-bye.
Making the tragedy even more painful, the family could not receive a complete set of information from the Army and this left them deeply frustrated and concerned for the families of other military heroes.
In search of answers, the Saylor family traveled to Washington and sought out Congressman Phil Gingrey, M.D. When Phil Gingrey met the Saylors and learned of this tragic situation, he set out to help them get the answers they deserved and to make sure no other military family had to suffer in the same way.
What transpired over the next three-plus years helped the Saylor family get the answers they needed in order to honor Paul and achieve some measure of closure. The family was also able to see policies and procedures implemented that would prevent a similar occurrence.
Over that three-year period, Phil retraced the chain of custody involved with the handling of Paul’s remains. He traveled to the Battalion Aid Station and Mortuary Affairs Collection Point in Iraq where Sgt. Saylor’s body was first taken. He reviewed the procedures followed to prepare remains for transport to Dover Air Force Base during a visit to the U.S. Army Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. And he traveled to the remains preparation facilities at Dover Air Force Base where the autopsy of Sgt. Saylor was conducted.
The information and knowledge Phil Gingrey collected during those investigative trips was the basis for the “Saylor Amendment,” that Phil successfully included in the FY’07 National Defense Authorization Act, which sets the annual policy for the Department of Defense.
The amendment Congressman Gingrey authored, which he affectionately referred to as the Saylor amendment, authorized new pre-deployment training procedures for medical personnel in an effort to give remains preservation the highest priority to servicemen and servicewomen killed in action. To oversee the policy’s implementation, Phil then traveled to Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, to see to it that the changes in pre-deployment training of medical personnel, due to this amendment, were followed. The amendment ensures personnel are trained in the handling of remains of fallen military men and women with an emphasis on remains preservation so families can pay proper final respects to their loved ones.