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Honoring Those Who Served

The Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for providing military funeral honors. “Honoring Those Who Served” is the title of the DOD program for providing dignified military funeral honors to Veterans who have defended our nation.

Upon the family’s request, Public Law 106-65 requires that every eligible Veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony, to include folding and presenting the United States burial flag and the playing of Taps. The law defines a military funeral honors detail as consisting of two or more uniformed military persons, with at least one being a member of the Veteran’s parent service of the armed forces.

The DOD program calls for funeral home directors to request military funeral honors on behalf of the Veterans’ family. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemetery Administration cemetery staff can also assist with arranging military funeral honors at VA national cemeteries. Veterans organizations may assist in providing military funeral honors. When military funeral honors at a national cemetery are desired, they are arranged prior to the committal service by the funeral home.

The Department of Defense began the implementation plan for providing military funeral honors for eligible Veterans as enacted in Section 578 of Public Law 106-65 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2000 on Jan. 1, 2000.

Questions or comments concerning the DOD military funeral honors program may be sent to the address listed below. The military funeral honors Web site is located at the DBDC Website.

Who is Eligible?

  • Military members who died while on active duty or in the Selected Reserve
  • Former military members who served on active duty or in the Selected Reserve and were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions
  • Former military members who completed at least one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service in the Selected Reserve and were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions
  • Further clarification on eligibility is available on the DoD Policy page.

Who is NOT Eligible?

  • Any person separated from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions or whose character of service results in a bar to veteran’s benefits
  • Any person who was ordered to report to an induction station, but was not actually inducted into military service
  • Any person discharged from the Selected Reserve prior to completing one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service for reasons other than a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty
  • Any person convicted of a Federal capital crime and whose conviction is final (other than a person whose sentence was commuted by the President)
  • Any person who has been convicted of a State capital crime and whose conviction is final (other than a person whose sentence was commuted by the Governor of a State)
  • Any person who
    • is found to have committed a Federal capital crime or a State capital crime, as set forth in section 2411(c) of title 38, but,
    • has not been convicted of such crime by reason of such person not being available for trial due to death or flight to avoid prosecution

For additional information, refer to Title 38, United States Code, Section 2411 of the Department of Defense policy.  See also paragraph 4.7.4 of Department of Defense Instruction 1300.15.

Burial in a Private Cemetery

Burial benefits available for Veterans buried in a private cemetery may include a Government headstone, marker or medallion, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family.  There are not any VA benefits available to spouses and dependents buried in a private cemetery.

If a Government headstone or marker or medallion will be requested for the Veteran’s grave, that the family complete, in advance, one of the following forms and place it with the Veteran’s military discharge papers for use at the time of need:

Note: Only an eligible Veteran may receive a Government-furnished headstone or marker or medallion for placement in a private cemetery. Veteran’s spouses and dependent children are not eligible.

A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current President, to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased Veterans.  Eligible recipients include the next of kin and loved ones of honorably discharged deceased Veterans. More than one certificate may be provided.

Eligible recipients, or someone acting on their behalf, may apply for a PMC in person at any VA regional office or by U.S. mail or toll-free fax. Requests cannot be sent via email. Please be sure to enclose a copy of the Veteran’s discharge and death certificate to verify eligibility, as we cannot process any request without proof of honorable military service. Please submit copies only, as we will not return original documents.  http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/pmc.asp

For Military Funeral Honors to be Rendered

Proof of Service that shows the Status of Discharge (DD-214 or Equivalent) is required as supporting documentation!

The MOST IMPORTANT thing You, as a Veteran can do…is to ensure THIS DOCUMENTATION is included in your important papers!  If not in your procession—right now.  Please, take the time to order a copy—right now.  How to get a DD-214 or equivalent—right now:    http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/

For The Latest Guidance On Military Funeral Honors

please visit the:

DMDCNational Cemetery Administration websites

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