The below link provides military personnel with information and guidance concerning burial, burial services, and benefits available to our retirees and military servicemen who qualify. Everyone should take the time to review this information to first be knowledgeable of those services and benefits which are available and knowing how to obtain it when needed. We should first make our desires known to our loved ones in planning for our ultimate passing and second by sharing this information with our family members so that they are aware of how to obtain support when needed. All military personnel are encouraged to visit this website link below to educate themselves on those services and benefits available to us.
Once you open the link you will see a tab to the left noted “Burial and Memorial Benefits. Open that the tab to further sub-tabs providing information on areas as follows:
Headstones, Markers & Medallions
Military Funeral Honors
If you desire a military funeral, first ensure you advise the funeral home providing the service that your loved one is a Veteran and you desire a military funeral. The funeral home will normally take care of it or if you want to contact the Mississippi National Guard, they will normally handle it for you. Normally the funeral home contacts Casualty Office, Fort Polk, LA and requests the support. Fort Polk contacts the Mississippi National Guard and they provide the military pall bearers, flag detail, firing squad and bugler. The funeral home will provide the flag but you must give them a copy of the service member’s DD Form 214. They use the information on the DD 214 to complete an application for the flag, which is provided by the US Postal Service upon presentation of the application.
The rendering of Military Funeral Honors for an eligible veteran, free of charge, is mandated by law. An honor guard detail for the burial of an eligible veteran shall consist of not less than two members of the Armed Forces. One member of the detail shall be a representative of the parent Service of the deceased veteran. 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.
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 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. Preparing for a military funeral demands detailed information and specific steps to be taken. Those military members on active duty or in the Selected Reserve and former military members who served on active duty and received an honorable discharge qualify for military honors at their funeral.
When you go into the funeral director’s office, you will be asked many questions, including whether the deceased was a military member and, if so, whether he or she received an honorable discharge. The funeral director will call the nearest field office that processes requests for funeral honors. Each branch of military service has an office that processes these requests. Funeral directors can also log onto the Military Honors website and obtain information there.
At the service you will see a flag draped over the coffin. If you are having a chapel service, the flag will be pulled away from the head of the coffin and the coffin can be (if the family requests) open for viewing. There should not be a spray of flowers on top of the flag. If you wish to adorn the casket with flowers, request a crescent-shape arrangement from the florist. This is to be placed on the open lid of the coffin on the upper left corner.
At the gravesite a military detail (if available) will carry the coffin to the grave and prepare for honors. The honors will include your service (usually given by family clergy or family friend), military rifle salute (if available), folding of the flag, presentation of the flag, and the playing of Taps. Military honors are provided to the family at no cost.
Burial Allowance, Flag and Marker
There is a benefit that comes from the Veteran’s Administration also. The standard benefit is $300, but it could be more based upon the Service Member’s status and the circumstances of his/her death. As an example, the benefit would be more if the SM’s death was service connected, and/or if they died while in a VA Hospital, etc. The only way to know how much the benefit will be is to file an application with the VA.
Another benefit available is a free grave marker. The marker comes in four different styles and is also available by submitting an application to the VA. Applications for the monetary benefit, an American Flag and grave marker are usually on hand and available at most funeral homes; however, they can also be obtained from the Adjudication Division of the Veteran’s Administration. The Adjudication Division in Jackson is located at the GV “Sonny” Montgomery VA Hospital in Jackson. The telephone number is 1-800-827-1000.
The Fort Polk Casualty Office phone number is: 888-474-0377.
The MS National Guard Military Funeral Coordination Office is located at 1410 Riverside Dr, Jackson. Phone Number: 601-313-6720 (SFC Paterson or SFC Norsworthy).