House members defend more expensive airlifting of dead soldiers back to the US

"I was really shocked that that would be a concern to anybody, because I believe that those heroes should be treated with the utmost of respect," Young said. "And I told this distinguished gentleman that I would do everything I could to make sure that the proper respect and dignity was awarded these heroes as their remains are returned home to their families.

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"I don't understand it, why anybody would want to deny a hero killed in action the dignity and the respect as he returns home to his family," he said.

According to Young's office, Young was pressed by a local Florida reporter on July 4 at a veterans event about cost estimates for military flights. The incident prompted other members to defend Young on the House floor on Thursday.

"I just appreciate Mr. Young's history of concern about our troops, and I know that he stood up to a journalist, as most of us have had to do from time to time, who think they know all the answers but have not gotten all the information," said Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.).

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) also defended Young, and the law that passed in 2006 requiring that the remains of U.S. soldiers be flown back to the United States via military air.

"Without this law, the Department of Defense would be required to transport by cheapest means — in other words, to transport remains without an escort in the cargo hold of commercial airliners with the suitcases and FedEx packages," McKeon said. "No one wants to see that."