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Formalizing This Time-Honored Tradition

Our Armed Forces have always provided Military Funeral Honors whenever possible. On January 1, 2000, however, Congress changed the landscape of how we honor our veterans by mandating that we render Military Funeral Honors using a detail of not less than two members of the Armed Forces for any eligible veteran, if requested to do so by the family.

With increasing honors requirements, force reductions, base closures, and operations tempo, the base-level honor guards now have a challenging mission. In response to the law, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Military Services developed several resources to support this effort; including an instructional toolkit (located on the Military Funeral Honors web site) to funeral home directors to ensure honors requirements would be identified and channeled to appropriate honor guard units.

 

Authorized Provider Partnership Program (AP3)

In order to support this mission, Congress has provided for the Authorized Provider Partnership Program (AP3). As authorized by law, AP3 allows members of veterans’ and other organizations to participate with the Armed Forces in providing Military Funeral Honors. In addition, these volunteers may be reimbursed for their expenses as amplified in guidance from the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (Force Management Policy).

The benefits of participating in the Authorized Provider Partnership Program (AP3) are significant.

  • Enables additional detail elements for veteran funerals; Authorized providers cannot be a substitute for the legislated minimum, two-person uniformed member detail. However, they can provide more funeral honor elements for our veterans, such as a firing party, in addition to the requirements of flag folding, flag presentation, and the sounding of Taps.
  • Provides a “force multiplier” for the honor guard program;
  • Symbolizes the continuity of respect for deceased veterans from those who are serving and those who have served in the Armed Forces;
  • Furthers your partnership with the surrounding community; and,
  • Supports the family and friends of the deceased veteran.
The guiding principle is to ensure that funeral honors are performed professionally, solemnly, and respectfully!

 

Reimbursement and Daily Stipend

DoD recognizes the valuable role that members of Veteran’s Service Organizations play in honoring our veterans. Section 1491(b) of Title 10, United States Code authorizes members of VSO, as well as other approved organizations, to participate with the Military Services in providing Funeral Honors. VSO and Authorized Provider Partnership Program (AP3) are able to augment the legislated two-person uniformed member detail by providing additional detail elements for veteran funerals.

The DoD initiated program, known as the AP3, focuses on using volunteers. This program trains volunteers to assist in providing MFH as “Authorized Providers.” AP3 is designed to promote cooperation between the DoD and VSO to enable all eligible veterans to receive military funeral honors as prescribed by legislation. The partnership of DoD, VSO and AP3 promotes community involvement and supports the family and friends of the deceased veteran. In addition, the combined funeral honor detail symbolizes the continuity of respect for deceased veterans from those who are serving and those who have served in the Armed Forces. It is important to note that the law stipulates that Authorized Providers can be provided reimbursement or a daily stipend when they participate with the military in rendering Funeral Honors.

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.

Recognition Pin

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.

With respect to reimbursement, the laws read 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.

In order 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. The request for VSO, or other volunteers, to participate in Military Funeral Honors must come from a Military Honor Guard Unit in order to qualify for reimbursement.

On the rare occasion that you authorize a partner to participate in Military Funeral Honors detail that requires TDY travel and/or per idem allowance, invitational travel orders must be issued for the partner for reimbursement of fares, POC mileage, as well as actual 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.

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