The rendering of Military Funeral Honors for an eligible veteran, free of charge, is mandated by law.
An honor guard detail for the burial of an eligible veteran consists of not less than two members of the Armed Forces. One member of the detail represents the parent service of the deceased veteran.
The honor detail will, at a minimum, perform a ceremony that includes the folding and presenting of the United States Burial Flag to the next of kin and the playing of taps. When available taps will be played by a bugler, however there are so few buglers available that the military services may choose to provide an electronic recording of taps. The veteran's parent service representative will present the flag.
Military Funeral Honors Eligibility
- Military members on active duty or in the selected reserve.
- Former military members who served on active duty and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.
- Former military members who completed at least one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service in the reserves and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.
Standard Military Honors
Standard military honors can be provided for enlisted service members by the appropriate branch of service. These honors include a casket team, a firing party and a bugler.
Additionally, some branches of the armed services will use the caisson for service members who have reached the top NCO grade.
The cemetery staff will make arrangements for military honors when requested by the next of kin or representative. A military chaplain may also be requested.
Full Military Honors
In addition to the standard military honors, certain deceased military veterans may also receive:
- An escort platoon (size varies according to the rank of the deceased)
- A military band
- A caisson
- A colors team
All service members who die from wounds received as result of enemy action are eligible to receive full military honors.
Verifying Funeral Honors Eligibility
The preferred method for verifying eligibility is the DD 214. If the DD Form 214 isn't available, any discharge document showing other than dishonorable service can be used. The DD 214 can be obtained by requesting it online from the National Archives.
How to Request Military Funeral Honors
Families of eligible veterans request funeral honors through their funeral director. The funeral director will contact the appropriate military service to arrange for the funeral honors detail.
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