Army broadens funeral honors at Arlington for Soldiers killed in action
December 16, 2008
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 16, 2008) -- A new Army policy will allow all Soldiers killed in action who are being laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery to receive full military funeral honors, which include a caisson, band, colors team, and an escort platoon.
"Arlington National Cemetery is an expression of our nation's reverence for those who served her in uniform, many making the ultimate sacrifice," said Secretary of the Army Pete Geren. "Arlington and those honored there are part of our national heritage. This new policy provides a common standard for honoring all Soldiers killed in action."
The new policy will take effect in early 2009, officials said. They explained that this policy change affects only funerals at Arlington National Cemetery.
Eligibility criteria are for those Soldiers killed as a result of:
* Any action against an enemy of the United States;
* Any action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or have been engaged;
* Serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party;
* An act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces;
* An act of any hostile foreign force;
* An international terrorist attack against the United States or a foreign nation friendly to the United States, recognized as such an attack by the Secretary of the Army;
* An act of any hostile foreign force during military operations while serving outside the territory of the United States as part of a peacekeeping force; or
* Action by friendly fire (i.e., by weapon fire while directly engaged in armed conflict, other than as the result of an act of an enemy of the United States, unless the Soldier's death was the result of the Soldier's willful misconduct).
Soldiers who are killed under circumstances not specifically outlined above will continue to receive the military funeral honors to which they are currently entitled at Arlington National Cemetery, officials said.
The new policy applies only to Arlington National Cemetery and includes interments, inurnments and memorializations. The caisson, band, colors team and escort platoon are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.