For Immediate Release
HARRISBURG – The Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee approved today legislation sponsored by Senator Mike Brubaker (R-36) that would require the Commonwealth to recognize the federal Department of Defense form which documents the wishes of a service member regarding the handling of his remains should that person die in the line of duty.
Presently, service members designate a person responsible for disposition of remains in accordance with federal law by completing a Record of Emergency Data (Department of Defense [DD] Form 93). Service members are required to update the form before a deployment or every 12 months during an annual personnel review, making it more current than a will in most cases.
Because some states do not recognize the federal form as an acceptable form for military personnel, there have been instances of civil actions between family members over the ultimate disposition of a fallen service member’s remains. Senate Bill 586 would require Pennsylvania to recognize a service member’s wishes included in DD Form 93. According to Brubaker, his legislation would clarify that these decisions be determined based upon the wishes of the person in military service as authorized on the form.
“A grieving family of a fallen soldier shouldn’t be burdened with trouble surrounding the proper handling of the loved one’s remains. My bill avoids this problem in the future in a manner that is consistent with the serviceman’s wishes,” said Brubaker. “We owe it to our servicemen and women when they make the ultimate sacrifice, and this legislation is another way to honor that service.”
Should this bill become law, Pennsylvania will join 40 other states in recognizing the DD Form 93 in cases involving the death of a service member in active duty status.