FACT CHECK: Did Nicole Gee’s Family Pay To Fly Her Body To Arlington National Cemetery?
Republican congressional candidate Mayra Flores claimed in a July 27 tweet that fallen Marine Sergeant Nicole Gee’s family paid for her body to be flown to Arlington National Cemetery.
Sgt. Nicole Gee was one of the 13 Americans killed during the withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. Her family, not the Pentagon, paid to move her to her final resting place.
At no time should our Gold Star families be financially responsible for burying their loved ones and… pic.twitter.com/f6tcoDXOFO
— Mayra Flores (@MayraFlores_TX) July 27, 2023
Gee’s family did not pay for her body to be flown to Arlington National Cemetery, which was covered by a donation to the non-profit Honoring Our Fallen. The Pentagon did not decline to reimburse or help Gee’s family transport her body to the cemetery.
Gee was one of 13 Marines killed by a suicide bombing during the August 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan, according to The Washington Post. Flores claims that Gee’s family “paid to move to her final resting place.”
“Sgt. Nicole Gee was one of the 13 Americans killed during the withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. Her family, not the Pentagon, paid to move her to her final resting place. At no time should our Gold Star families be financially responsible for burying their loved ones and American heroes,” Flores tweeted.
The claim is misleading. The claim appears to be based on a Fox News story that claimed the Pentagon refused to pay for Gee’s body to be transported to Arlington National Cemetery, and the family was on the hook for $60,000 before a non-profit, Honoring Our Fallen, stepped in. The story, however, is incorrect, according to the Military.com.
Christy Shamblin, Gee’s mother-in-law, told Task and Purpose that the Pentagon never declined to pay to have Gee’s body transported to Arlington.
“I think that we got the information that that’s how much it was going to cost, and the private non-profit just stepped in and took over from there. I’m not even sure that it went to the point where they said ‘no.’ That may have been the next step in the process, but we just never got to that point,” Shamblin said.
A Pentagon spokesperson told Task and Purpose that they “have no record of any incurred charges or any pending requests for reimbursement associated with the transportation of Sgt. Gee’s remains to Arlington National Cemetery.”
“In the case of Sgt. Gee, the Marine Corps stayed consistent with its policy that all costs associated with internment be borne by the government. At this time, we have no record of any incurred charges or any pending requests for reimbursement associated with the transportation of Sgt. Gee’s remains to Arlington National Cemetery. The Marine Corps takes very seriously the transfer of remains of our Marines – they never leave a Marine behind, and they care for the families of their fallen Marines,” the spokesperson said.
Honoring the Fallen founder Laura Herzog told CBS News that neither Gee’s family nor the non-profit spent any money transporting Gee’s body to Arlington National Cemetery. (RELATED: Pentagon Claims Last Time U.S. Used Cluster Munitions Was In 2003)
“No monies were exchanged or expected to be paid by our organization or the family. This was a donation made by a veteran who donated this service to us to assist us in honoring Sgt. Gee. We are proud of our support to Sgt. Gee and her family. It takes a village and I am proud of our communities that came together to honor and support her sacrifice,” Herzog said.
Republican Florida Rep. Cory Mills, who originally told Fox News about the incorrect story, said in a July 27 statement that Gee’s family was “confused regarding transportation proceedings.”
— Rep. Cory Mills 🇺🇸 (@RepMillsPress) July 27, 2023
“I understand the family of Sgt. Nicole Gee was, in their time of grief, confused regarding transportation proceedings. I am thankful that Honoring Our Fallen was able to assist the family and that the DoD was able to provide clarification on this matter,” Mills’ statement partially reads.
Check Your Fact reached out to the Flores campaign for comment and will update this article if a response is provided.