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Who is Authorized Military Funeral Honors?

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The references for this article are the National Defense Authorization Act of 2000, Public Law 106-65 section 578, and DoDI 4515.19. MFH = Military Funeral Honors.

Standards

This is an extract from DoDI 4515.19.

POLICY.
a. Support for congressional funerals will be provided, as appropriate and as authorized by law, upon request from Congressional leadership or where necessary to carry out DoD duties and responsibilities.
b. Former member of Congress (herein after referred to as “Member”) who are military veterans and meet the criteria in section 1491 of Title 10, United States Code are authorized military funeral honors pursuant to DoD Instruction 1300.15; a former member who is not a veteran is not entitled to military funeral honors. (emphasis mine)

There is no exemption, no “but in this case”. When a member of Congress dies in office and the body will lie in state, the joint service pallbearers carrying the casket into and out of the Capitol building seems quite appropriate, but that’s it. The casket is shipped back to the state he/she represented and state police can take over from there. The same goes for state elected government officials. If one is not a veteran of the US military, no MFH.

The same DoD Instruction was applied here. Senator Orrin Hatch was not authorized MFH. https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/letters/2022/05/10/letter-orrin-hatch-was/

Standards

The following is the text of Public Law 106-65, Section 578 under Subtitle J—Other Matters. This is the Defense Authorization Act that created the requirement that all military who died on Active Duty, retirees, and veterans receive MFH. This began it all that sent base and post honor guards scrambling for a few years to try to catch up to the demand.

SEC. 578. FUNERAL HONORS DETAILS FOR FUNERALS OF VETERANS.

(a) RESPONSIBILITY OF SECRETARY OF DEFENSE.—(1) Subsection

(a) of section 1491 of title 10, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

‘‘(a) AVAILABILITY OF FUNERAL HONORS DETAIL ENSURED.—

The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that, upon request, a funeral honors detail is provided for the funeral of any veteran.’’.

(2) Section 1491(a) of title 10, United States Code, as amended by paragraph (1), shall apply with respect to funerals that occur after December 31, 1999.

(b) COMPOSITION OF FUNERAL HONORS DETAILS.—(1) Subsection

(b) of such section is amended—

Applicability. Effective date. 10 USC 1491 note.

(A) by striking ‘‘HONOR GUARD DETAILS.—’’ and inserting

‘‘FUNERAL HONORS DETAILS.—(1)’’;

(B) by striking ‘‘an honor guard detail’’ and inserting ‘‘a

funeral honors detail’’; and

(C) by striking ‘‘not less than three persons’’ and all that

follows and inserting ‘‘two or more persons.’’.

(2) Subsection (c) of such section is amended—

(A) by striking ‘‘(c) PERSONS FORMING HONOR GUARDS.—

An honor guard detail’’ and inserting ‘‘(2) At least two members of the funeral honors detail for a veteran’s funeral shall be members of the armed forces, at least one of whom shall be a member of the armed force of which the veteran was a member. The remainder of the detail’’; and

(B) by striking the second sentence and inserting the following: ‘‘Each member of the armed forces in the detail shall wear the uniform of the member’s armed force while serving in the detail.’’.

(c) CEREMONY, SUPPORT, AND WAIVER.—Such section is further amended—

(1) by redesignating subsections (d), (e), and (f) as subsections (f), (g), and (h), respectively; and

(2) by inserting after subsection (b) the following new subsections:

‘‘(c) CEREMONY.—A funeral honors detail shall, at a minimum, perform at the funeral a ceremony that includes the folding of a United States flag and presentation of the flag to the veteran’s family and the playing of Taps. Unless a bugler is a member of the detail, the funeral honors detail shall play a recorded version

of Taps using audio equipment which the detail shall provide if adequate audio equipment is not otherwise available for use at the funeral.

‘‘(d) SUPPORT.—To provide a funeral honors detail under this section, the Secretary of a military department may provide the following:

‘‘(1) Transportation, or reimbursement for transportation, and expenses for a person who participates in the funeral honors detail and is not a member of the armed forces or an employee of the United States.

‘‘(2) Materiel, equipment, and training for members of a veterans organization or other organization referred to in subsection (b)(2).

‘‘(e) WAIVER AUTHORITY.—(1) The Secretary of Defense may waive any requirement provided in or pursuant to this section when the Secretary considers it necessary to do so to meet the requirements of war, national emergency, or a contingency operation or other military requirements. The authority to make such a waiver may not be delegated to an official of a military department other than the Secretary of the military department and may not be delegated within the Office of the Secretary of Defense to an official at a level below Under Secretary of Defense.

‘‘(2) Before or promptly after granting a waiver under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall transmit a notification of the waiver to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and House of Representatives.’’.

(d) REGULATIONS.—Subsection (f) of such section, as redesignated by subsection (d)(1), is amended to read as follows:

Notification.

‘‘(f) REGULATIONS.—The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe regulations to carry out this section. Those regulations shall include the following:

‘‘(1) A system for selection of units of the armed forces and other organizations to provide funeral honors details.

‘‘(2) Procedures for responding and coordinating responses to requests for funeral honors details.

‘‘(3) Procedures for establishing standards and protocol.

‘‘(4) Procedures for providing training and ensuring quality of performance.’’.

(e) INCLUSION OF CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE SELECTED RESERVE IN PERSONS ELIGIBLE FOR FUNERAL HONORS.—Subsection (h) of such section, as redesignated by subsection (d)(1), is amended to read as follows:

‘‘(h) VETERAN DEFINED.—In this section, the term ‘veteran’ means a decedent who—

‘‘(1) served in the active military, naval, or air service (as defined in section 101(24) of title 38) and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable; or

‘‘(2) was a member or former member of the Selected Reserve described in section 2301(f) of title 38.’’.

(f) AUTHORITY TO ACCEPT VOLUNTARY SERVICES.—Section 1588(a) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

‘‘(4) Voluntary services as a member of a funeral honors detail under section 1491 of this title.’’.

(g) DUTY STATUS OF RESERVES IN FUNERAL HONORS DETAILS.—

(1) Section 114 of title 32, United States Code, is amended—

(A) by striking ‘‘honor guard functions’’ both places it appears and inserting ‘‘funeral honors functions’’; and

(B) by striking ‘‘drill or training otherwise required’’ and inserting ‘‘drill or training, but may be performed as funeral honors duty under section 115 of this title’’.

(2) Chapter 1 of such title is amended by adding at the end

the following new section: ‘‘§ 115. Funeral honors duty performed as a Federal function ‘‘(a) ORDER TO DUTY.—A member of the Army National Guard of the United States or the Air National Guard of the United States may be ordered to funeral honors duty, with the consent of the member, to prepare for or perform funeral honors functions at the funeral of a veteran under section 1491 of title 10. However, a member of the Army National Guard of the United States or the Air National Guard of the United States may not be ordered to perform funeral honors functions under this section without the consent of the Governor or other appropriate authority of the State concerned.

‘‘(b) SERVICE CREDIT.—A member ordered to funeral honors duty under this section shall be required to perform a minimum of two hours of such duty in order to receive—

‘‘(1) service credit under section 12732(a)(2)(E) of title 10; and

‘‘(2) if authorized by the Secretary concerned, the allowance under section 435 of title 37.

‘‘(c) REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES.—A member who performs funeral honors duty under this section may be reimbursed for travel and transportation expenses incurred in conjunction with such duty as authorized under chapter 7 of title 37 if such duty is performed at a location 50 miles or more from the member’s residence.

‘‘(d) REGULATIONS.—The exercise of authority under subsection

(a) is subject to regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense.’’.

(3) Chapter 1213 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

‘‘§ 12503. Ready Reserve: funeral honors duty ‘‘(a) ORDER TO DUTY.—A member of the Ready Reserve may be ordered to funeral honors duty, with the consent of the member, in preparation for or to perform funeral honors functions at the funeral of a veteran as defined in section 1491 of this title.

‘‘(b) SERVICE CREDIT.—A member ordered to funeral honors duty under this section shall be required to perform a minimum of two hours of such duty in order to receive— ‘‘(1) service credit under section 12732(a)(2)(E) of this title; and ‘‘(2) if authorized by the Secretary concerned, the allowance under section 435 of title 37.

‘‘(c) REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES.—A member who performs funeral honors duty under this section may be reimbursed for travel and transportation expenses incurred in conjunction with such duty as authorized under chapter 7 of title 37 if such duty is performed at a location 50 miles or more from the member’s residence.

‘‘(d) REGULATIONS.—The exercise of authority under subsection

(a) is subject to regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense.

‘‘(e) MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL GUARD.—This section does not apply to members of the Army National Guard of the United States or the Air National Guard of the United States. The performance of funeral honors duty by those members is provided for in section 115 of title 32.’’.

(4) Section 12552 of title 10, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

‘‘§ 12552. Funeral honors functions at funerals for veterans ‘‘Performance by a Reserve of funeral honors functions at the funeral of a veteran (as defined in section 1491(h) of this title) may not be considered to be a period of drill or training, but may be performed as funeral honors duty under section 12503 of this title’’.

(h) CREDITING FOR RESERVE RETIREMENT PURPOSES.—(1) Section 12732(a)(2) of such title is amended—

(A) by inserting after subparagraph (D) the following new subparagraph:

‘‘(E) One point for each day on which funeral honors duty is performed for at least two hours under section 12503 of this title or section 115 of title 32, unless the duty is performed while in a status for which credit is provided under another subparagraph of this paragraph.’’; and

(B) by striking ‘‘, and (D)’’ in the last sentence and inserting ‘‘, (D), and (E)’’.

(2) Section 12733 of such title is amended—

(A) by redesignating paragraph (4) as paragraph (5); and

113 STAT. 629

(B) by inserting after paragraph (3) the following new paragraph (4):

‘‘(4) One day for each point credited to the person under subparagraph (E) of section 12732(a)(2) of this title.’’.

(i) BENEFITS FOR MEMBERS IN FUNERAL HONORS DUTY

STATUS.—(1) Section 1074a(a) of such title is amended—

(A) in each of paragraphs (1) and (2)—

(i) by striking ‘‘or’’ at the end of subparagraph (A);

(ii) by striking the period at the end of subparagraph

(B) and inserting ‘‘; or’’; and

(iii) by adding at the end the following:

‘‘(C) service on funeral honors duty under section 12503 of this title or section 115 of title 32.’’; and

(B) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

‘‘(4) Each member of the armed forces who incurs or aggravates an injury, illness, or disease in the line of duty while remaining overnight immediately before serving on funeral honors duty under section 12503 of this title or section 115 of title 32 at or in the vicinity of the place at which the member was to so serve, if the place is outside reasonable commuting distance from the member’s residence.’’.

(2) Section 1076(a)(2) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

‘‘(E) A member who died from an injury, illness, or disease incurred or aggravated while the member—

‘‘(i) was serving on funeral honors duty under section 12503 of this title or section 115 of title 32;

‘‘(ii) was traveling to or from the place at which the member was to so serve; or

‘‘(iii) remained overnight at or in the vicinity of that place immediately before so serving, if the place is outside reasonable commuting distance from the member’s residence.’’.

(3) Section 1204(2) of such title is amended—

(A) by striking ‘‘or’’ at the end of subparagraph (A);

(B) by inserting ‘‘or’’ after the semicolon at the end of subparagraph (B); and

(C) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

‘‘(C) is a result of an injury, illness, or disease incurred or aggravated in line of duty—

‘‘(i) while the member was serving on funeral honors duty under section 12503 of this title or section 115 of title 32;

‘‘(ii) while the member was traveling to or from the place at which the member was to so serve; or

‘‘(iii) while the member remained overnight at or in the vicinity of that place immediately before so serving, if the place is outside reasonable commuting distance from the member’s residence;’’.

(4) Paragraph (2) of section 1206 of such title is amended to read as follows:

‘‘(2) the disability is a result of an injury, illness, or disease incurred or aggravated in line of duty—

‘‘(A) while—

‘‘(i) performing active duty or inactive-duty training;

‘‘(ii) traveling directly to or from the place at which such duty is performed; or

‘‘(iii) remaining overnight immediately before the commencement of inactive-duty training, or while remaining overnight between successive periods of inactive-duty training, at or in the vicinity of the site of the inactive-duty training, if the site is outside reasonable commuting distance of the member’s residence; or

‘‘(B) while the member—

‘‘(i) was serving on funeral honors duty under section 12503 of this title or section 115 of title 32;

‘‘(ii) was traveling to or from the place at which the member was to so serve; or

‘‘(iii) remained overnight at or in the vicinity of that place immediately before so serving, if the place is outside reasonable commuting distance from the member’s residence;’’.

(5) Section 1481(a)(2) of such title is amended—

(A) by striking ‘‘or’’ at the end of subparagraph (D);

(B) by striking the period at the end of subparagraph

(E) and inserting ‘‘; or’’; and

(C) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

‘‘(F) either—

‘‘(i) serving on funeral honors duty under section 12503 of this title or section 115 of title 32;

‘‘(ii) traveling directly to or from the place at which the member is to so serve; or

‘‘(iii) remaining overnight at or in the vicinity of that place before so serving, if the place is outside reasonable commuting distance from the member’s residence.’’.

(j) FUNERAL HONORS DUTY ALLOWANCE.—Chapter 4 of title 37, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

‘‘§ 435. Funeral honors duty: allowance

‘‘(a) ALLOWANCE AUTHORIZED.—The Secretary concerned may authorize payment of an allowance to a member of the Ready Reserve for any day on which the member performs at least two hours of funeral honors duty pursuant to section 12503 of title 10 or section 115 of title 32.

‘‘(b) AMOUNT.—The daily rate of an allowance under this section is $50.

‘‘(c) FULL COMPENSATION.—Except for expenses reimbursed under subsection (c) of section 12503 of title 10 or subsection (c) of section 115 of title 32, the allowance paid under this section is the only monetary compensation authorized to be paid a member for the performance of funeral honors duty pursuant to such section, regardless of the grade in which the member is serving, and shall constitute payment in full to the member.’’.

(k) CLERICAL AMENDMENTS.—(1) The heading for section 1491 of title 10, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

‘‘§ 1491. Funeral honors functions at funerals for veterans’’.

(2)(A) The item relating to section 1491 in the table of sections at the beginning of chapter 75 of title 10, United States Code, is amended to read as follows: ‘‘1491. Funeral honors functions at funerals for veterans.’’.

(B) The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 1213 of such title is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

‘‘12503. Ready Reserve: funeral honors duty.’’.

(C) The item relating to section 12552 in the table of sections at the beginning of chapter 1215 of such title is amended to read as follows:

‘‘12552. Funeral honors functions at funerals for veterans.’’.

(3)(A) The heading for section 114 of title 32, United States Code, is amended to read as follows: ‘‘§ 114. Funeral honors functions at funerals for veterans’’.

(B) The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 1 of such title is amended by striking the item relating to section 114 and inserting the following new items:

‘‘114. Funeral honors functions at funerals for veterans.

‘‘115. Funeral honors duty performed as a Federal function.’’.

(4) The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 4 of title 37, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

‘‘435. Funeral honors duty: allowance.’’

Standards

We need to stop working from emotion and trying to make things “ceremonialer” just because. Protocol and standards are slipping away, even being ignored in some cases. We have laws, regulations, and instructions in place for a reason. Let’s follow them.

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