Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Politics

Executive

Father of Fallen Soldier Says White House Turned Down Request for Obama Phone Call

collins_sean.jpg

Shown here is Sgt. Sean Collins, who was killed Dec. 12 in Afghanistan. (Q13 FOX)

It was bad enough that after Sgt. Sean Collins was killed in Afghanistan his parents received a senator's letter of condolence with the wrong name. 

But the soldier's father says the White House added to the sting by subsequently turning down a request for President Obama to personally call Collins' mother. 

Pat Collins, a retired lieutenant colonel, told Q13 FOX in Seattle that the family was told last month that the president could not fit it "into his schedule" to call mother Linda Collins about their son's death. Pat Collins, who initially made the request with the White House, said he would've understood, except for the fact that around the same time, Obama found an opening in his schedule for a much-publicized phone conversation with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie. 

"He is the president of the United States, and he's a very busy man, very important man -- but then to find out that he fit it into his schedule to call the president of the Eagles to thank him for giving Michael Vick a second chance, that kind of burns a little bit," Collins said. 

The White House's response marked another "disappointing" turn for the family in the government's handling of their son's death. 

Collins, who joined the Army in 2005 and had already served two tours of duty in Iraq, was killed Dec. 12 while on patrol in Afghanistan. Five others were killed in the attack as well. 

After the attack, the Collins family received a letter of condolence from Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell. The top of the letter got Sgt. Sean Collins' name right, but the final paragraph referred to him as "Bryn." 

Linda Collins, in an interview with Q13 FOX, called the mistake "a little disappointing." 

Cantwell has since acknowledged the error, and the Collins family has accepted her apology. 

It's unclear who the family may have spoken with in the White House regarding the possibility of a presidential phone call. 

Pat Collins said he was told within "two or three days" of asking that his request would not be granted. Though Collins voiced concern that Obama carved out time to talk about the Eagles' Vick, that discussion was part of a broader conversation between Obama and Lurie about the use of alternative energy at Lincoln Financial Field

A senior administration official told Fox News that the president remains committed to honoring the troops. 

"The president honors the sacrifice of all our men and women in uniform and sends hand-signed letters to the families of those who lost their lives. My understanding is that President Bush had the same policy," the official said. 

Aside from sending hand-signed letters, Bush also reportedly met privately with hundreds of families of troops who died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.