It is the most serious task facing a US president and it is the first time Biden has witnessed a “dignified transfer” since taking office seven months ago.
The President and First Lady Jill Biden will meet with the families of those killed, according to the White House, before the transfer at noon ET.
The 13 servicemen were killed in a terrorist attack outside the gates of Kabul airport on Thursday as they helped a massive airlift mission to evacuate US citizens and vulnerable Afghans from the country.
Eleven were Marines, one was an Army soldier, and one was a Navy member. The youngest were 20 years old and the oldest 31. They were from Massachusetts, California, Nebraska, Indiana, Texas, Missouri, Wyoming, Ohio and Tennessee.
Biden, in a statement on Saturday, called the slain troops “heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our highest American ideals and while saving the lives of others.”
“Their bravery and selflessness have brought more than 117,000 people in danger to safety so far,” he said, referring to the number of people flown from Kabul. “May God protect our troops and all who are watching in these dangerous days. “
The Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, responsible for the return of the remains from overseas military theaters, specifies that the transfer is not a “ceremony” but rather “a solemn displacement of the transfer case by a transport team. composed of soldiers from the corps of the respective deceased service. “
Biden will watch from the tarmac at the base as the flag-draped suitcases are transported from a military cargo plane in which they were flown overnight to US soil. Each suitcase is transported individually from the aircraft and placed in a vehicle. The transfer takes place in almost complete silence.
Typically, the president is accompanied by senior military officials, who stand by his side as the case is transported up the ramp of the cargo plane, onto a strip of tarmac, and into the vehicle. Families of those killed watch the transfer from a designated section opposite where the president will be standing.
While Sunday’s worthy transfer will be Biden’s first as commander-in-chief, he’s been in at least one other such event as vice president. He was on site at Dover Air Base in November 2016 for the dignified transfer of a soldier killed in a suicide bombing at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. General Mark Milley, who at the time was the army’s chief of staff, was also present.
This story has been updated with additional information.