McSally Leads Arizona Congressional Delegation and Advocates on Behalf of Airman Colton Whitmire
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Martha McSally, along with Representatives Debbie Lesko, Andrew Biggs, David Schweikert, and Paul Gosar sent a letter to the Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, asserting that Airman Colton Whitmire should be able to attend his step-father’s funeral. On Saturday, Captain Juston Doherty was found dead while on Army National Guard training orders at Papago Park Military Reservation. Although Airman Whitmire lived with Captain Doherty for most of his childhood, he has been denied emergency leave since the relationship was not listed on a next-of-kin form. In their letter, the Representatives argue that, due to the close parent-like relationship between Airman Whitmire and Captain Doherty, Airman Whitmire should be granted emergency leave so he can attend the funeral.
“Having served as a Commander in the Air Force, I am sensitive to the decisions that commanders need to make regarding emergency leave. However, I understand that Airman Whitmire is stationed on the USS Iwo Jima on the way home from deployment and it appears that the naval chain of command is not taking the unique circumstance of this family into account. Navy regulations should allow emergency leave in this case, and I hope Airman Whitmire will be able to attend his step-father's funeral,” said Congresswoman McSally.
Below is a copy of the letter.