Wednesday, April 7, 2009
The flag-draped coffin of a 28-year old soldier killed in Iraq was among the first photographed by media late Tuesday, after Defense Secretary Robert Gates lifted a longstanding ban on press coverage of the return of fallen soldiers.
The deceased soldier, Army Specialist Israel Candelaria Mejias, a native of San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, died in Baghdad on April 5.
Gates in February reversed a controversial policy dating back to 1991 barring photos of the coffins of service members who perished in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
The defense chief has left it up to the relatives of the deceased service memebers to decide whether to allow media to film or photograph the coffins of their dead soldiers at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.