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Funeral Director and Planner’s Frequently Asked Questions
For information and assistance providing a military funeral honor, please use the Military Funeral Honors directory to locate the appropriate Military Funeral Honors coordinator. For additional help, contact Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.Who do I contact if I receive a request for funeral honors for members of the Public Health Service or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration?
Policy allows eligibility for funeral honors to members of the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps, as members of the uniformed services. If you receive a request for funeral honors for a PHS member, the point of contact can be reached in the Retired Pay Section at 800-772-8724. For NOAA members, contact the director, Commissioned Personnel Center, at 301-713-3444.What can the family of an eligible PHS or NOAA member expect?
Funeral honors for these members include the playing of Taps and the folding and presentation of the flag. It will not include the firing of three volleys as the deceased was a member of the uniformed services but not the armed forces.What is the difference between funeral honors performed for members of the uniformed services and Military Funeral Honors performed for members of the armed forces?
Honors performed for uniformed services members include the playing of Taps and the folding and presentation of the flag. If the member belonged to the armed forces, the honor of firing three volleys is added.
Military Funeral Honors for PHS and NOAA members who previously served in the armed forces may also include the firing of three volleys, if resources are available.Does the family of a veteran still receive the flag if the veteran has committed a felony or capital offense?
There are no restrictions on providing a flag to a convicted felon. However, no flag is provided to a person who has been convicted of a federal capital crime and sentenced to death or life imprisonment, a person who has been convicted of a state capital crime and sentenced to death or life imprisonment without parole, or a person who has committed a federal or state capital crime but has not been convicted of such crime by reason of being unavailable for trial due to death or flight to avoid prosecution. More information is available in Title 38, U.S. Code, Section 2301 and Code of Federal Regulations 1.10.Where do we obtain the flag for a public service worker (police, fire, elected official) who is not a military veteran?
The flag may be obtained from the agency or from the family.If a flag is not on the casket, where is it to be placed? Folded? At the head of the casket? At the foot of the casket?
While there isn’t a standard answer to cover all instances, the general guidance is that the folded flag should be displayed on a table near the head end of a closed casket, and when a full-couch casket is opened, the flag should be placed in the lid at the head end of the casket and just above the decedent’s left shoulder.What is allowed to be placed on the flag?
Nothing. Items can be placed next to the flag.How should the flag be draped on a casket?
On a closed casket, the flag should be placed lengthwise, with the union (stars) at the head and over the left shoulder of the deceased.
When a full-couch casket is opened, the flag should be removed, folded to the triangular shape of a cocked hat and placed in the lid at the head end of the casket and just above the decedent’s left shoulder.
When a half-couch casket is opened, the flag should be folded on the lower half of the casket in the same relative position as when displayed full-length on a closed casket. The Department of Defense would have a single fold. Many funeral homes may use more than one fold, but the blue field needs to remain visible and on the left side. See the illustration below.Can the funeral director fold the flag and present the flag to the family?
Yes, if a funeral honors detail has not been provided by the military or performed by a local veterans’ service organization, the funeral director may fold the flag and present it to the family. For more information on how to fold and present the flag, review the Flag Presentation Protocol brochure.Are there specific words that should be used when presenting the flag to the family?How do we obtain Military Funeral Honors or a burial flag if the DD214 is lost and the family has no other proof?
If you have the deceased veteran’s Social Security number, you can contact the military service point of contact and they can provide assistance. Please see our Military Funeral Honors Directory for contact information.Are Military Funeral Honors available for the National Guard?
Yes. National Guard members are eligible for funeral honors under the provisions of Title 10, Section 1491. Specific eligibility is established in Title 38, Sections 101(21-24) e.What branch of service is responsible for veterans of the Army Air Corps?
The Army is responsible for these veterans.How far will the military honors unit travel to present honors?
There are no distance limitations established by the Department of Defense. However, some military units have established limits. In either case, the distance to a funeral service is not an acceptable reason for the military to not perform the honors. When confronted with this response, please contact the appropriate Military Funeral Honors program manager for resolution.In the event one service cannot provide honors due to a “full schedule,” will another service group provide honors?
If the requested military unit cannot perform the honors as requested, they should identify another unit that can. If confronted with this type of situation, please contact the appropriate Military Funeral Honors Program Manager for assistance.Without a DD Form 214, what are the other resources to obtain military honors?
Absent the DD Form 214, other documentation that reflects honorable service is acceptable.