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Slain soldier's uncle says government should apologize

Oct. 10, 2013 - 05:33PM   |  
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Donations can go to KIA agent’s family

Donations can be made to the family of a special agent of Army Criminal Investigation Command killed in Afghanistan on Sunday.
Due to “countless” inquiries from the media and the public, CID spokesman Chris Grey issued a news release Thursday clarifying how donations may be made to Sgt. Joseph M. Peters’ family.
Peters is survived by his wife and 20-month-old son.
Donations can be made directly to the family by using PayPal at friendsofjoepeters@yahoo.com or on Facebook at “Operation Support Ashley and Gabriel.”
Peters and three other soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device during combat operations in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. Two Rangers and one Cultural Support Team member were also killed.

The uncle of a soldier killed Afghanistan this week said the family is owed an apology because the shutdown has prevented them from receiving death benefits.

David Bettiga, of Corpus Christi, Texas, made the remarks in the wake of the death of Sgt. Joseph Peters, 24, of Springfield, Mo. Peters was one of four soldiers who were killed Sunday by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

“The government owes all these families an apology, and the government owes the entire country an apology, right now,” Bettiga told KIII TV-News on Wednesday.

Peters is survived by his wife and 20-month-old son. Because of the government shutdown, his family reportedly did not receive death benefits that are usually issued to the family of fallen military personnel within three days of notification of death.

The Senate moved Thursday to approve a measure allowing the government to pay a death gratuity and burial benefits to the families of people who have died on active duty since Oct. 1 despite the government shutdown. The House passed the resolution on Wednesday, so the Senate vote sends the measure to the White House, where there seems little doubt it will be signed.

The Pentagon struck a deal the day before for Fisher House, a private charity organization, to provide payments directly to troops’ families during the shutdown.

“These people gave the ultimate sacrifice, and when our government stepped down, it took a private organization stepping in,” Bettiga said.

The three other soldiers killed Sunday are 1st Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno, 25, of San Diego, Calif.; Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, 25, of Carlisle, Pa., and Pfc. Cody J. Patterson, 24, of Philomath, Ore.

Hawkins and Patterson were members of the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, and Peters was a Criminal Investigation Command special agent assigned to the 286th Military Police Detachment.

Bettiga called his nephew “a very fine young man,” who “loved his country, and what he did. Very good at it.”

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