NFDA has gathered the following information to serve as your initial guide in providing funeral services in the event of military fatalities in Afghanistan or elsewhere in the Middle East. The process is similar to that already in place for members of the armed forces, both active and reserve, and members of the National Guard who die while on active duty. NFDA continues to be in constant contact with the military regarding the following information, and has offered its assistance in any way possible.
Bodies of those who die in Afghanistan, or elsewhere as a result of the war, will be repatriated—returned to the United States—as soon as possible.
- The designated next-of-kin or other responsible party will receive casualty notification and will be given the option of selecting a funeral home or national cemetery to which the body will be forwarded. Because no estimate of the amount of time between the original notification and the actual receipt of the body can be made, it is wise not to schedule the funeral until you have specific information on the arrival date of the body.
- After preliminary identification is made, the bodies will be transported to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware where final identification and preparation will take place. At Dover, embalming, dressing, and casketing will occur. Bodies released from Dover will be rendered safe.
- The designated funeral home or location of final disposition will be notified by Dover Air Force Base as to when the casketed body will arrive. The military will decide the most expeditious means of transporting the body from Dover to the funeral home. Armed forces escorts will accompany bodies to the funeral home and provide an application for a VA provided headstone and marker.
- Military Funeral Protocol
- It is important to remember that each branch of the military has its own protocol for funerals. It is planned that military honors will be provided through active and reserve personnel.
- Upon notification of a fatality by the military, the family will be asked if they wish military honors. If so, arrangements will be discussed at that time.
- When the family contacts the funeral director, he/she should ask if a request for honors was made. If so, he/she should discuss procedures when contacted by the military regarding the arrival of the body.
- Interment Allowances
- Interment allowances will be the same for active and reserve members of the armed forces and for the National Guard. These allowances do not include transportation of the body from an airport or other terminal. This is an additional reimbursable charge.
- If a funeral home is responsible for the delivery of the body to a private cemetery, the maximum reimbursement is $4,325 for funeral home services, flowers and cemetery expenses.
- If a funeral home is responsible for the delivery of the body to a national cemetery (a list is found in the NFDA Directory of Members), the maximum reimbursement is $3,000 for funeral home services and flowers.
- When the remains have not been recovered, a maximum reimbursement of $3,000 will be made for a memorial service.
- If the body is forwarded directly to a national cemetery, the maximum reimbursement is $600. If any changes or updates to this policy are made, NFDA will advise its members immediately.