Okay -this might be kind of morbid but it's written in order to clarify some questions that I received regarding The 21-gun salute. Apparently, in that node I distinguished the hierarchy or protocol centered around the number of gun salutes given to various military personnel based upon their rank and service. It was mentioned by some fellow noders that they have seen lower ranking service members receive the 21-gun salute. That is probably true but not in a full - honors funeral. It appears there are 3 types of military funerals that are available and there are different entitlements associated with each one. Hence, this node....

Standard Honors

Standard graveside honors can be provided enlisted service members by the appropriate branch of service at Arlington National Cemetery. The honors include:
A casket team
A firing party
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-honors Funerals

In addition to the standard military honors, commissioned and warrant officers may receive:
An escort platoon (size varies according to the rank of the deceased)
A military band

Burial flags are provided by the U. S Department of Veterans Affairs at no cost. Most veterans are entitled to burial flags.Reservists entitled to retired pay are also eligible. Only one burial flag may be provided per veteran.

Additionally, officers buried in Arlington Cemetery are entitled to use of the caisson. Officers in the rank of colonel and above in the Army and the Marine Corps are entitled to a caparisoned (riderless) horse. General officers are also entitled to a cannon salute - (see the 21-gun salute for details)

Armed Forces Honors

The entitlements are the same as a full-honors funeral, except that escort platoons from each of the services participate. The funerals are reserved for the President of the United States (as Commander-in Chief), Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or officers granted multiple service command.

Information for this node came from www.arlingtoncemetery.org/ceremonies/military_funerals

In the recent past Reductions in Force of the USA military combined with increasing numbers of deaths of aging veterans caused reduced participation of the DoD in providing military honors during the burial of a veteran. To address this problem the DoD, various Veteran Service Organizations and Funeral Service Directors organizations cooperated to form a new DoD program called "Honoring Those Who Served”. A law was passed, which now requires, that all eligible veterans will be provided basic military funeral honors when requested.

As stated above, there is a ceremony where the flag is folded and presented to the next of kin and Taps is played live or recorded). These basics are to be performed by at least 2 active duty military personnel, at least one of who is from the veteran’s parent Service. This representative will be the one to present the flag to the next of kin.. Additional persons participating in the ceremony may be drawn from Reserve personnel and/or members of various Veteran Service Organizations (after the DoD has trained them) as well as active duty military personnel.



The law (part of the United States Code): can be found at
http://www.militaryfuneralhonors.osd.mil/law.html and is titled:

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