Iraq veteran claims service member’s body was left unattended at airport

Photo taken by Steven Cathey through the window of his airplane at Atlanta International Airport

Delta Airlines has been known for treating fallen service members with nothing but dignity and respect, but a soldier has questioned their care for one veteran’s remains.  According to CBS46, Steven Cathey, who is an Iraq war veteran, said that when he looked out of his Delta airplane’s window he a soldier’s body sitting unattended.

He was quoted as saying, “It’s kind of upsetting to see a fallen service member, another brother or sister in arms, just sitting there out in the open, like a piece of luggage”

He said that the service member’s body sat unattended on at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for at least twenty minutes.  Cathey was no the only to notice; many other passengers took notice.

Cathey told CBS46, “We were talking about it on the plane, and then I took it from the plane and put it up on social media to see what other people had to say about it”

“Delta takes great care to safely and respectfully transport the remains of our nation’s fallen heroes in a dignified manner. A photograph posted on Facebook showing a flag-draped casket pulled behind an airport vehicle is no exception. Further, the misinformation included in the photo’s caption does not reflect either actual circumstances or the values of Delta’s employees. At no point were the remains left unattended. In fact, a member of Delta’s dedicated Honor Guard as well as a military escort were inside the vehicle as they waited for the arrival of the outbound aircraft.

Delta’s volunteer civilian and veteran Honor Guard brave the elements to make absolutely certain each fallen hero transiting through Atlanta is always under escort and given the utmost care and respect.”

Delta has gone as far as creating their own military luggage carrier specifically designed to fit a casket and honor fallen service members.  The carrier is draped with a painted on flag and the sides feature the insignia of the five military branches as well as the quote “All Gave Some…Some Gave All.”

Delta said the casket was not left un-attended and a person can be seen in the far right corner of the photo.

Cathey assured CBS46, “they’re not there attending to the casket…I’m looking at the photo right now. There’s a truck off to the right side. The casket is sitting there. You can’t see anybody behind the wheel of anything.”

The Department of Defense and Army Human Resources were not able to identify the service member in the photo.


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