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Funeral Director and Planner’s Frequently Asked Questions
For information and assistance with providing military funeral honors, 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?
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.
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, unless that person:
- Has been convicted of a federal capital crime and sentenced to death or life imprisonment
- Has been convicted of a state capital crime and sentenced to death or life imprisonment without parole
- 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
- Has been convicted of a federal or state crime as a tier III sex offender, and is sentenced to a minimum of life imprisonment for it
More information is available in Title 38, U.S. Code, Section 2301 and Code of Federal Regulations 1.10.Where can I 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 the family.If a flag is not on the casket, where is it placed?
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 half- or 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.Can anything be placed on the flag?
No. But 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 Defense Department 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 it 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 I obtain military funeral honors or a burial flag if the DD214 identifying a veteran’s condition of discharge 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 assist. 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 a military honors unit travel to present honors?
There are no distance limitations established by the DOD. 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, 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 situation, contact the appropriate Military Funeral Honors Program manager for assistance.What documentation other than a DD Form 214 can be used to obtain funeral honors?
Other documentation that reflects honorable service is acceptable.