The basic Military Funeral Honors (MFH) ceremony consists of the folding and presentation of the United States flag to the veterans' family and the playing of Taps. The ceremony is performed by a funeral honors detail consisting of at least two members of the Armed Forces.
The Funeral Honors rendered to you or your veteran will be determined by the status of the veteran. The type of Funeral Honors may be Full Military Honors, 7 Person Detail or a Standard Honors Team Detail.
At least one of the funeral honors detail will be from the Armed Force in which the deceased veteran served. Taps may be played by a bugler or, if a bugler is not available, by using a quality recorded version. Military Funeral Honor Teams may act as Pall Bearers if requested by the veteran/family.
Who is eligible for Military Funeral Honors?
Military members on active duty or in the Selected Reserve
Former 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 Selected Reserve and departed under conditions other than dishonorable
Former military members discharged from the Selected Reserve due to a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty
Who is NOT eligible for Military Funeral Honors?
Any person separated from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions or whose character of service results in a ban 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 any reason other than disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty
Any person convicted of a Federal or State capital crime sentenced to death or life imprisonment
How do I establish veteran eligibility?
The preferred method is the Form DD214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty). If the DD214 is not available, other discharge documents showing other than dishonorable service may be used. The DD Form 214 may be obtained by filling out a Standard Form 180 and sending it to:
National Personnel Records Center(NPRC)
9700 Page Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63132
The Standard Form 180 may be obtained from the National Records Center or via the following web site: http://www.archives.gov/research/order/standard-form-180.pdf
Is anyone else eligible to receive funeral honors?
Yes. Members of the Commissioned Officer Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as members of a Uniformed Service, are also eligible to receive funeral honors.
For NOAA personnel, eligibility is established using NOAA Form 56-16, Report of Transfer or Discharge. If the family does not have a copy of the NOAA Form 56-16, it may by obtained by contacting the Chief, Officer Services Division, NOAA Commissioned Personnel Center at (301) 713-7715. or by writing:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Commissioned Personnel Center
Chief, Officer Services Division (CPC1)
1315 East-West Highway, Room 12100
Silver Spring, MD 20910
For PHS personnel, funeral honors eligibility is established using PHS Form 1867, Statement of Service (equivalent to the DD Form 214). If the family does not have a copy of the Statement of Service, it may be obtained by contacting the Privacy Coordinator for the Commissioned Corps at (240) 453-6041 or writing:
Division of Commissioned Personnel/HRS/PSC
Attention: Privacy Act Coordinator
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, Maryland 20857
A NOTE ABOUT OBTAINING PROOF OF ELIGIBILITY
If you are unable to locate proof of service (DD-214, NOAA 56-16, PHS 1867), we can assist in filing for these items. However, timelines for obtaining copies of these documents from the appropriate agencies are often extended, which can make receiving an eligibility determination in time for services difficult if done at the time of death. We strongly suggest obtaining these copies in advance to ensure your loved one's eligibility will be verified.
Are there alternate sources to obtain military service records?
Yes, modern service records, generally for veterans who separated after Calendar Year 2002, are available in electronic format. NPRC has deployed new digital delivery functionality to enable some of these requests to be serviced by its staff from remote locations. To be eligible for this service it is imperative that requesters submit a request using our online application, eVetRecs, and provide an email address with their request. If you provide an email address and your request involves records available in electronic format, our staff will obtain the records and provide you with credentials that will enable you to download the requested records from a secure server. This service is available only when (1) the responsive records are available in digital format, and (2) requesters provide an email address with their request.
In many instances, records that are available in electronic formats may also be accessed directly by veterans, without involvement from NPRC, through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) eBenefits application at https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/homepage or the Department of Defense milConnect application at https://milconnect.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect/ . Modern military medical records may be accessed through the VA’s Blue Button application at https://www.va.gov/health-care/get-medical-records/. For more information regarding the online availability of VA and military records, please visit https://www.va.gov/records/.