This week, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., was once again able to include his proposal to have the U.S. Defense Department look at how it offers emergency medical services at military bases included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The NDAA cleared the House on Tuesday on 335-78 vote with Buchanan supporting the bill. President Donald Trump is threatening to veto the NDAA unless it repeals Section 230 which protects internet companies from being sued over what is posted on their websites, either by them or by other parties. The president has also criticized the NDAA for renaming military bases honoring Confederate leaders.
The House passed an earlier version of the NDAA back in July with Buchanan’s proposal included. In his efforts to include his proposal, Buchanan pointed to the death of SPC Nicholas Panipinto of Bradenton. Panipinto died in a training accident at Camp Humphreys in South Korea in November 2019 when the vehicle he was driving overturned.
In a letter sent in June to the chairmen and ranking members of the U.S. House and Senate Armed Services Committees and to U.S. Defense Sec. Mark Esper, Buchanan focused on Panipinto’s death and called for new safety and training protocols.
“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 this week. “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.”
Buchanan’s amendment would have the Defense Department “examine emergency response capabilities and services currently available at every U.S. military base around the world and to report to Congress on the potential benefits and feasibility of requiring bases to have properly functioning MedEvac helicopters and fully-stocked military ambulances.”
“The highest tribute that can be paid to the life of Specialist Panipinto is for the Defense Department to ensure that future military personnel who are injured during training exercises can quickly receive high-quality medical treatment that might help save their lives,” Buchanan said this week. “I am deeply humbled that Nick’s mother came to me with their tragic story and has allowed me to help. I know that these reforms will save lives and prevent future heartache felt by families like hers across the country.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.