FORT HOOD, TX — The family of the Fort Hood soldier whose body was found in a Killeen field is now dealing with making funeral arrangements. However, since the Army has declared Gregory Morales as AWOL, the family is learning he will not receive a military funeral.
The Wedel family is reaching out for help to change his deserter status so he can get a proper military burial.
Not only is the Wedel family having to deal with losing their loved one, now they are seeking help from Congressman John Carter to help them fight and clear Gregory Morales' name.
When Gregory Morales disappeared in August 2019, the U.S. Army put down the reason for his disappearance as having gone AWOL. And even after his remains were found in a field on June 19, he is still listed as a deserter.
"It's frustrating and sad, because like I said he gave his life, and was willing to give his life for his country and was deployed twice. They are just treating him like trash, like he doesn't matter," said Nick Wedel.
The family is upset because now the Army is saying the family is responsible for the cost of bringing Morales home and for the funeral costs.
"We can't do a military funeral, because he's considered a civilian and basically a criminal. So anything that we want to do, we have to pay for ourselves. The life insurance... we don't get the life insurance and we don't get to bury him with military honors like we wanted to next to his uncle and his grandfather who is a retired major and where he wants to be buried," said Nick Wedel.
After 6 years of service, Morales was a few weeks away from completing his service to his country. His mother, Kim Wedel, says her son would have never have neglected his duties.
"He knew he was being released on September 10, so a month, less than a month, he would've been gone and home. It's just not what he does. He was always the guy picking up the pieces for everybody else, and I don't think he would've done that,"said Kim Wedel.
The family is calling for help from U.S. Representative John Carter to help clear their son's name and bring him home with honors. Representative Carter told KXXV in a statement that he is praying for the Wedel family and has reached out to Fort Hood to advocate on behalf of Gregory.
Gregory's brother says the Army is waiting for autopsy results, but they said that they won't clear his deserter status unless he has been dead for ten months.