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Commander’s Reference Standards and Training

Just as armed forces honor guard members adhere 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 principle is a professional and dignified appearance by all funeral honors detail participants.

Ceremony participation rules

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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  • The armed forces provide a two-person detail where at least one person must be a member of the deceased service member’s branch of service. This detail will:
    • Serve as the honor guard when no other members are available.
    • Fold and present the American flag.
    • Play Taps or arrange for the playing of Taps.
  • Authorized Provider Partnership Program members may not serve as or replace the armed forces’ two-person detail. AP3 members may:
    • Augment the detail as members of the firing party or color guard.
    • Serve as pallbearers or as buglers for the playing of Taps.
    • Assist with folding the flag.

Ceremonial dress

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 veterans service organization adds recognition of the organization’s respect for 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

  • This is 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 uniforms. Veterans opting to wear the uniform will comply with the appropriate service uniform regulation and Department of Defense 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

  • Provide three rifle volleys (if available)
  • Play Taps
  • Fold the American flag
  • Present the American flag

Note: 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, provide step-by-step instruction on how to perform each element (e.g., firing party, pallbearers, flag folding, Taps).

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 to manage and administer the program. Coordinate with each AP3 member and provide a training schedule to them.

Additional ceremony guidance

Code Description
U.S. Army Training Circular (TC) 3-21.5 Drill and Ceremonies (Requires common access card)
U.S. Marine Corps Order P5060.20 Marine Corps Drill and Ceremonies Manual
U.S. Marine Corps Order 5360.10B 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 36-2203 Drill and Ceremonies

Partner recognition and reimbursement

The armed forces excel 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.

AP3 Logo

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 temporary duty travel and/or per diem allowance, invitational travel orders must be issued for the partner for reimbursement of fares, personally owned conveyance 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 3, Part A, Paragraphs 030501 and 32004.

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, “Transportation Allowances,” provides instructions and authorization for expenses. Download this expense form: Optional Form 1164, “Claim for Reimbursement for Expenditures on Official Business.”

Supplies and orders

Certificate of recognition

Provide the certificate of recognition 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 Defense Department.

Videos (videos will be available in the future)

  • Military Funeral Honors — Two-Person Detail
  • Military Funeral Honors With Authorized Providers

Recognition pins

Provide each partner with a recognition pin once they successfully complete 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 officer, 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.

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