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US House passes Florida congressman's amendment to help prevent soldier deaths

The amendment requires the Department of Defense to examine emergency response capabilities and services on all US military bases around the world.
Credit: Office of Vern Buchanan

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Prompted by the death of a US soldier from Bradenton, an amendment to a national defense bill will require the Pentagon to examine emergency medical services at US military bases throughout the world. 

Florida Congressman Vern Buchanan filed the amendment to the 2020-2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The amendment was green-lighted on Monday. The NDAA is passed every fiscal year and is expected to pass the House Tuesday and sent to the Senate for consideration. 

Congressman Buchanan says he made the amendment as a part of his push for military training reforms. This push was prompted by the death of Bradenton Army SPC Nicholas Panipinto, who was killed in a vehicle training accident in South Korea last year. According to Buchanan, a lack of emergency services on base and delays in medical response was cited in his death. 

"The heartbreaking and very preventable death of my constituent SPC Nicholas Panipinto clearly shows that changes in training and safety procedures need to be made," Buchanan said. 

"The serious deficiencies and failures identified in the report on SPC Panipinto's death call for immediate reforms within the Department of Defense. I want to make sure that no family has to go through the pain and suffering that SPC Panipinto's family has faced."

RELATED: Florida congressman calls for military training reform after Bradenton soldier dies in South Korea

This amendment would require the Department of Defense (DoD) to examine emergency response capabilities and services that are currently available at every US military base around the world. The DoD would also need to report to Congress potential benefits and feasibility of requiring bases to have properly functioning MedEvac helicopters and fully-stocked military ambulances. 

Last month, Buchanan sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper to request "much-needed reforms to prevent tragedies like the death of SPC Panipinto." 

According to a 2019 report from the Congressional Research Service, between 2006 to 2018, nearly 32-percent of all soldiers killed overseas died from training accidents. The congressman says that needs to change.

RELATED: Body of 20-year-old soldier killed in training exercise returned home

RELATED: 'He was the best kid' | Family reflects on 20-year-old soldier from Bradenton killed in Korea

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