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Commander’s Reference Standards and Training
Just as the armed forces honor guard adheres to ceremony and appearance standards, authorized provider partners should likewise meet similar standards. Your training should include a description of acceptable uniform combinations, as well as the definition of personal appearance standards. The overarching principal is a professional and dignified appearance by all funeral honors detail participants.
Questions about military funeral honors standards or training?
You can find the appropriate military funeral honors coordinator listed in the Military Funeral Honors directory for assistance. For additional help, contact Military OneSource at 800-342-9647.
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Ceremony Participation Rules
- The armed forces:
- Provides a two-person detail where at least one must be a member of the deceased’s service.
- This detail will serve as the only honor guard when no other members are available. The detail will fold and present the American flag and arrange for Taps to be played.
- May augment the detail as members of the firing party or color guard. They may also serve as pallbearers or as bugler for the sounding of Taps. They may also assist with the folding of the flag.
- AP3 members may not serve as or replace the armed forces two-person detail.
Authorized providers are required to adhere to prescribed military funeral honors standards and to present a dignified and professional appearance (this includes the wearing of an acceptable and proper uniform, as appropriate). The guiding principle is that attire should be professional and appropriate for a funeral. Acceptable attire may be the members’ organization uniform or business attire suitable for the occasion.
- Organization Uniform
- The uniform of the VSO — this adds recognition of the organization’s respect to the deceased veteran.
- If there is more than one VSO participating, it is appropriate for each to wear the uniform of their respective organization.
- Business-Attire-Based Uniform
- An appropriate alternative if the organization does not have an official uniform.
- A hat is not required, though VSO members often have membership caps. These are appropriate to wear for the honors ceremony and, if more than one VSO is participating, each member can wear the cap representing their respective VSO.
- Hair must be clean and neat.
- Men will either be clean-shaven or have neatly groomed mustaches, beards and sideburns.
- Honorably discharged military veterans may wear their uniform. Veterans opting to wear the uniform will comply with the appropriate service uniform regulation and DoD Instruction 1334.1, “Wearing of the Uniform.”
- The AP3 does not have a weight standard by which partners must abide, however, all articles of dress must fit appropriately for an individual’s weight and as intended by design.
Honors Ceremony Sequence of Events
- Three rifle volleys (if available)
- Playing of Taps
- Folding of the American flag
- Presentation of the American flag
Note: The training should include ways to coordinate steps to ensure a smooth transition from one sequence of events to the next, especially during those times when members might not be able to see each other clearly.
Once you have provided adequate instruction on honors as a whole, you will want to provide step-by-step instruction on how each element (e.g., firing party, pallbearers, flag folding, Taps) should be performed. Note: The military detail will make the presentation of the flag. Each service will perform military funeral honors in accordance with their service regulation and standards.
Finally, you should identify how you will reinforce what you have taught and how the program will be managed/administered. A training schedule should be coordinated with, and provided to, each member of the AP3.
Additional Ceremony Guidance
Code Description US Army Training Circular (TC) 3-21.5 Drill and Ceremonies (Requires CAC) U.S. Marine Corps ORDER P5060.20 Marine Corps Drill and Ceremonies Manual U.S. Marine Corps Order 5360.10A Conduct of Funerals for the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Former Commandants of the Marine Corps, and Marine Corps Four Star Generals U.S. Navy Regulations 1990, Chapter 12 Flags, Pennants, Honors, Ceremonies and Customs U.S. Air Force Manual (AFMAN) 36-2203 Drill and Ceremonies
Partner Recognition and Reimbursement
The Armed Forces excels in recognizing personnel that perform above their peers. We do it often, with great visibility, ceremony, and style. The AP3 is yet another opportunity to recognize the achievements of those with whom you serve.
- Provide a certificate of recognition to each partner who successfully completes your formal training program.
- Present an “Honoring Those Who Served” recognition pin to each partner who successfully completes your program.
- Conduct recognition ceremonies and invite the AP3 members to recognize new graduates of the program. Remember, recognitions should be visible.
This pin symbolizes the time-honored tradition of providing a properly folded American flag to the veteran’s family. It identifies the wearer as a trained and recognized military funeral honors provider.
Reimbursement and Daily Stipend
With respect to reimbursement, the law reads that the secretary of a military department may provide either transportation (or reimbursement for transportation) and expenses or the daily stipend (designed to defray the costs for transportation and other expenses) for a person who participates in the funeral honors detail and is not a member of the armed forces or an employee of the United States.
To be eligible for this allowance or expense reimbursement, volunteers must be requested by the respective military service to participate in the funeral honors detail. Honors provided for veterans when called solely by a funeral home do not qualify for reimbursement.
On the rare occasion that you authorize a partner to participate in a military funeral honors detail that requires TDY travel and/or per diem allowance, invitational travel orders must be issued for the partner for reimbursement of fares, POC mileage, and the cost of lodging and meals up to the per diem rate. In addition, you may authorize and approve the reimbursement of any of your partner’s miscellaneous expenses as defined in Joint Travel Regulations, Chapter 4 Paragraphs C4553 and C4600.
Considerations for Approval
When you are approving a partner’s expenses, you need to consider the following:
- Was the partner authorized to participate in the honors detail identified?
- Did the partner act reasonably and prudently in incurring any of the expenses?
- Did the partner have a reasonable expectation of the honors detail being completed as anticipated?
- If the detail arrangements were changed, were they changed for reasons beyond the partner’s control? Are the changes acceptable?
Validate Participation and Reimbursement
Unit commanders are responsible for validating partner expense reimbursements and DoD 7000. 14 R, Volume 9, Chapter 4, provides instructions and authorization for expenses. The expense form (Standard Form (SF) 1164, Claim for Reimbursement for Expenditures on Official Business) can be downloaded from https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/forms/dd/dd1164.pdf.
Supplies and Orders
Certificate of Recognition
The certificate may be provided to each partner who successfully completes the formal training program. The services may use the certificate below, to be signed by the commander, or a certificate created by the military department.
Important Note: The certificate of recognition does not imply certification of a military funeral honors provider. Certificate holders are not authorized to place initials such as CMFHP for certified Military Funeral Honors provider following their name on stationery or business cards or to represent themselves as certified by the Department of Defense.
Videos (videos will be available in the future)
- Military Funeral Honors – Two Person Detail
- Military Funeral Honors With Authorized Providers
Recognition pins may be provided to each partner who successfully completes the program.
Unit commanders may order recognition pins (currently unavailable). For technical support or questions, please contact Military OneSource’s Military Funeral Honors Support.
Glossary of Terms
Term Definition Authorized Representative An individual chosen by the veteran or next of kin to coordinate responsibilities related to the death of the eligible beneficiary. Eligible Beneficiary A deceased active-duty member or veteran (as defined in Title 10, U.S. Code, Section 1491, which includes members and former members of the Selective Reserve (as defined in Title 38 U.S. Code, Section 2301(f)(1). Partner Another term for Authorized Provider. Regional Honors Coordinator The military office, as directed by each military service, responsible for arranging the delivery of military funeral honors within a specified geographic region. Service Representative Uniformed member of the parent service of the eligible beneficiary who leads the honors detail and presents the flag to the next of kin. Also called detail leader.