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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Nothing. Items can be placed next to the flag.

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.

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.

Yes. The Department of Defense standardized presentation verbiage is provided in our Flag Presentation Protocol brochure.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Absent the DD Form 214, other documentation that reflects honorable service is acceptable.

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