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. The Washington State Veterans cemetery staff will arrange military funeral honors for interments at the State Veterans Cemetery, Medical Lake. 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 https://mfh.dmdc.osd.mil/mfh/. [Link will take you off the VA web site.]
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
(Military Community and Family Policy)
4000 Defense Pentagon, Room 5A726
Washington, DC 20380
An honor guard, or ceremonial guard, is a ceremonial unit, usually military in nature composed of volunteers who are carefully screened for their physical ability and dexterity. Only those persons who are highly motivated and maintain exceptionally high standards of appearance and conduct and show aptitude for ceremonial duty are likely to be considered. A primary role for honor guards in the United States and some other countries is to provide funeral honors for fallen comrades and to guard national monuments. An honor guard may also serve as the "guardians of the colors" by displaying and escorting the national flag on ceremonial occasions at public functions.
Military Funeral Honors
The honor detail will, at a minimum, perform a ceremony that includes the folding and presenting of the American flag to the next-of-kin and the playing of taps. When available taps will be played by a bugler, however there are so few buglers available that the military services may choose to provide an electronic recording of taps. The veteran's parent service representative will present the flag. The firing of 3 rifle volleys is optional and subject to the availability of a rifle team.
Funeral Honors Eligibility
· Military members on active duty or in the selected reserve.
· Former military members who served on active duty and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.
· Former military members who completed at least one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service in the reserves and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.
The preferred method for verifying eligibility is the DD 214. If the DD Form 214 isn't available, any discharge document showing other than dishonorable service can be used. The DD 214 can be obtained by requesting it online from the National Archives.
· Electronic request (eVetRecs) - https://vetrecs.archives.gov/VeteranRequest/home.html
· Mail or Fax request - Standard Form-180
Spokane Area Veterans Honor Guard
The Spokane Area Veterans Honor Guard (SAVHG) 501c3 supports military funeral honors throughout the greater Spokane community and is a primary fixture at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery, Medical Lake. SAVHG conducts approximately 300 honors services annually. The team is always in need of volunteers to participate in military funeral honors. For additional information on how you can join or support this team Individuals contact Tom Christie Sr 509- 280-8162, or Tom Christie Jr at 509-216-7609.