Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Measure to Reform Military Training Procedures Now Law

Jan 3, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Congressman Vern Buchanan’s measure to reduce training accidents following the death of a Bradenton soldier became law Friday as a part of a sweeping defense policy bill. This marks Buchanan’s 23rd proposal to become law since he was first elected to Congress. 

The bill passed the U.S. House and Senate overwhelmingly and became law without President Trump’s signature.

Buchanan successfully attached the measure to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as a part of his push for military training reforms after Army Specialist Nicholas Panipinto of Bradenton 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 an 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.”

Buchanan’s amendment requires the Department of Defense to examine emergency response capabilities and services currently available at U.S. military bases around the world and to report to Congress on the potential benefits and feasibility of requiring bases to have properly functioning MedEvac helicopters and fully-stocked military ambulances.

Specialist Panipinto’s mother, Kimberly Weaver, praised Buchanan saying, “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.” 

Deaths during training exercises have risen dramatically in recent years. In 2017 alone, nearly four times as many service members died in training accidents than were killed in action.

Buchanan now has 23 legislative initiatives enacted into law since his first term in Congress. Buchanan had five legislative proposals signed into law in 2019 including measures to stop animal cruelty, confront the drug epidemic, help Americans save for retirement, end the slaughter of horses and protect endangered species.