Family of Oregon soldier killed in action isn't getting Pentagon payment

Family of Oregon soldier killed in action isn't getting Pentagon payment »Play Video
Private First Class Cody Patterson from Philomath

PHILOMATH, Ore. – An Oregon soldier was one of four people killed during an operation in Afghanistan to hunt down a suicide bomber.

Pfc. Cody Patterson, an Army Ranger, was killed in an IED attack on Sunday.

Now his family back home in Corvallis and Philomath is dealing with the repercussions of the government shutdown as they grieve the loss of their son.

The Pentagon typically pays out $100,000 within three days of a soldier's death. But it says the shutdown means there is no authority right now to pay the money.

Those death benefits cover expenses such as family travel and funeral costs.

Even though the government can’t pay families during the shutdown, several veteran’s advocacy groups in Oregon and nationwide told KATU on Tuesday that they’re willing to step up and cover costs in the meantime.

James Regan’s group “Lead the Way Fund, Inc.” was organized to support disabled Army Rangers and the families of Rangers who have died.

He said Lead the Way will pay all expenses and help the Patterson’s shoulder the financial burden they shouldn’t have to bear.

“We’ve been there, we’ve done that and experienced it. It’s something no one should have to go through, especially when they don’t have the expense money to cover it,” Regan said. “Lead the Way Fund will step in and take care of our families and their Rangers.”

Regan knows first-hand what the family is dealing with.

“I lost my own son Jimmy back in ’07. He was a 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment young man,” Regan said. “He served his country for four years. He gave it all and that’s why we established Lead the Way Fund, to honor Jimmy and to fill a need.”

The Northwest chapter of the USO also plans to hold a fundraiser.

Politicians on the lack of payment

House Speaker John Boehner said the House will consider a bill on Wednesday to address this problem. He called the problem “disgraceful.”

In the Senate, members of both parties lamented the impasse.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the lack of compensation for the families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan over the weekend was "appalling."

"Shouldn't we be ashamed?" said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

"Your government has let you down in a time of your need," echoed fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, describing what his message to the families would be. Graham blamed Democrats, Republicans and Obama for the situation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report