FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 23, 2004
Schumer Secures Visas So Slain Yonkers Soldier's Family Can Enter United States For Funeral
Army Staff Sgt. Anthony S. Lagman, 26, of Yonkers was killed in Afghanistan on Thursday when his team came under small arms fire while clearing a village
Lagman's family in the Philippines couldn't get Visas for funeral because US Army hadn't released death certificate
Schumer's office secured immediate meetings at US Embassy in Manilla for Lagman family – visas should be
US Senator Charles E. Schumer announced today that his office has secured visas from the US State Department so that family members of US Army Staff Sgt. Anthony S. Lagman, the Yonkers native who was killed in Afghanistan on Thursday, will be able to travel to the United States for his funeral at Calverton National Cemetery.
"After he sacrificed his life defending our Nation, Sergeant Lagman's family ought to be able to see their nephew and cousin be buried at Calverton National Cemetery with the full military honors he earned," Schumer said. "Sergeant Lagman died a hero's death fighting the War on Terror. When I heard the family's story, I knew I couldn't stand by while the bureaucracy blocked his family from attending his funeral and securing on of our Nation's highest honors."
On Thursday, Staff Sgt. Anthony S. Lagman, 26, of Yonkers died in Dehrawood, Afghanistan when his team came under small arms fire while clearing a village. Sgt. Lagman was from the 10th Mountain Division based at Fort Drum in northern New York, and he was assigned to the second Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment in Afghanistan. Sgt. Michael J. Esposito, Jr., 22, of Brentwood, was in the same regiment and died in the same attack.
On Sunday, Schumer's office learned that Sgt. Lagman's cousin Steven had come up against a bureaucratic blockade when he applied for a visas to attend the funeral. Because the US Army had not released a death certificate for Sgt. Lagman, the State Department could not issue an emergency visa.
After speaking with Sgt. Lagman's family in Yonkers, Schumer's office called the US State Department first thing Monday morning to expedite the case. US Embassy officials in Manilla almost immediately called the Lagman family members in the Philippines to invite then in to process the paperwork for their visas. Embassy and State Department officials told Schumer's office this morning that Steven Lagman's visa will be issued and that Sergeant Lagman's uncle Leonardo and aunt Nelia (Steven's parents) will also receive visas as soon as the Republic of the Philippines issues their passports.
Sergeant Lagman's body is expected to arrive in New York tonight, and the family will hold a service tomorrow in Yonkers. His burial is scheduled for Tuesday at Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island.