Knowing How to Help Families Who Request Military Funeral Honors
The National Defense Authorization Act of FY 2000 states that all eligible veterans are entitled to Military Funeral Honors. Upon request, the Department of Defense (DoD) will provide at least a two-person funeral detail to honor eligible deceased veterans. When a deceased veteran's family requests military honors for their loved one, funeral directors need to know exactly how to coordinate it. We've included important information for your reference when arranging Military Funeral Honors. The DoD has also created a list of FAQs to help funeral directors through the process. You can find this list on their Website at https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/mfh. This website also contains a specific icon for funeral directors to identify the appropriate Military Service phone number to call to coordinate military funeral honors.
Expedited Process to Acquire a DD 214 Military Discharge
To acquire a DD 214 Military Discharge in an expedited manner when the family does not have one, the best method is to call the appropriate service branch Funeral Honors Coordinator. This individual will expedite the process through their liaisons at the Records Management Center in St. Louis. A list of funeral honors coordinators can be found online.
Verifying the Discharge Status of a Veteran
If a family does not have a DD 214 and you only need to verify the discharge status of the veteran, call the VA Regional office in your area. If the deceased veteran does not appear in their system, ask VA to contact the Records Management Center in St. Louis to get the verification (Again, this would just be a verification and would not necessarily involve receiving the actual DD 214 form).
Department of Defense Policy
Department of Defense (DoD) policy is contained in DoD Instruction 1300.15 (“Military Funeral Support”).
Additional Comments for funeral directors:
- Military Funeral Honors are provided at no cost to the family.
- The Military Services request a minimum of 48-hours notice if possible to perform the funeral honors service.
- If the funeral home’s process for requesting military funeral honors includes sending a facsimile to the appropriate military Service or unit, it is recommended that they follow-up with a phonecon to verify receipt.
- Inform the military Service or unit if your funeral home has also coordinated the participation of a Veterans Service Organization.
- Information on the purchase and use of the Ceremonial Bugle can be found at this website: www.ceremonialbugle.com or by calling 212-426-3268.