Legislation designed to reduce military training accidents was signed into law last week.
The bill’s sponsor, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), attached the measure to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It requires the Department of Defense to examine emergency response capabilities and services currently available at U.S. military bases. It also requires the DOD 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 bill was introduced by Buchanan after Army Specialist Nicholas Panipinto of Bradenton, Fla., died in a vehicle training accident in South Korea last year. A lack of emergency services on base and delays in medical response was cited in his death.
“The death of Specialist Panipinto is a tragedy that never should have happened,” Buchanan said. “That’s why I will keep working to end the heartbreaking and increasingly frequent number of military training accidents. I know how much these reforms mean to Nick’s family, and I sincerely hope that this new law will ensure that no other family has to endure similar heartache.”
Panipinto’s mother, Kimberly Weaver, praised Buchanan for spearheading the legislation.
“We are so thankful to Congressman Buchanan for all of his help in getting these necessary changes signed into law. This world is a better place because Nicholas was in it, and the legacy he leaves behind will be in protecting the lives of his fellow servicemembers,” Weaver said.
Deaths during training exercises have been on the rise in recent years. Buchanan said.