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Military Funeral Question

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by grntitan, May 23, 2011.

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  1. grntitan

    grntitan Well-Known Member

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    My family had a close faimly member die recently. He was an Air Force Vietnam veteran and just like my dad(also an Air Force Vietnam vet) had the full Military Funeral. I don't recall alot of details of my fathers funeral as it was a very trying time for me. My question revolves around the gun salute. It was (3) soldiers and they fired (3) shots each. Why (9) shots? I was under the impression that it would be a (21) gun salute. My mom says they only fired (9) at my fathers as well but she didn't know why. I just remember them shooting at my fathers and not the amount. Both my dads and my uncles Miltary Funerals were very touching and will stick with me forever. Is this an Air Force thing or is there something i'm just not seeing? They also gave my mom and my aunt (3) of the fired shell cases and of course the flag. Thanks--Matt

    The (3) spent shells

    [​IMG]
     
  2. recurvyarcher

    recurvyarcher Well-Known Member

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    Each shooter fires a 3 volley salute. How many shooters depend on the rank of the deceased. Same for all branches.
     
  3. chipking

    chipking TS Member

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    Here is what I found

    "Practice of Firing Three Volleys Over the Grave:

    This practice originated in the old custom of halting the fighting to remove the dead from the battlefield. Once each army had cleared its dead, it would fire three volleys to indicate that the dead had been cared for and that they were ready to go back to the fight. The fact that the firing party consists of seven riflemen, firing three volleys does not constitute a 21-gun salute."

    And From another site

    "Graveside military honors include the firing of three volleys each by seven service members. This commonly is confused with an entirely separate honor, the 21-gun salute. But the number of individual gun firings in both honors evolved the same way."

    It would appear that from this write up that the number of service members in the honor squad may change by personnel availability but the 3 volleys is custom.

    --- Chip King ---
     
  4. grntitan

    grntitan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys and gal. :) Learned something new today. Hmmmm "volley". Had not heard that term before in reference to shooting anyway.
     
  5. Ahab

    Ahab Well-Known Member

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    The Order of Arms for Cannon Fire
    The number of cannons fired in salute to each of the following...

    President of the United States ... 21
    Ex-President of the United States ... 21
    Foreign Heads of State ... 21
    Vice President of the United States ... 19
    Foreign Prime Ministers ... 19
    Secretary of Defense ... 19
    Secretary of the Army ... 19
    General/Admiral ... 17
    Lieutenant General/Vice Admiral ... 15
    Major General/Rear Admiral (Upper) ... 13
    Brigadier General/Rear Admiral (Lower) ... 11

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    PRACTICE OF FIRING THREE RIFLE VOLLEYS OVER THE GRAVE

    This practice originated in the old custom of halting the fighting to remove the dead from the battlefield. Once each army had cleared its dead, it would fire three volleys to indicate that the dead had been cared for and that they were ready to go back to the fight. The fact that the firing party consists of seven riflemen, firing three volleys of seven rounds each, does not constitute a 21-gun salute.
     
  6. SF SGM

    SF SGM Member

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    I am not familiar with AF regs when it comes to a military funeral but I am with Army customs under what we used to call FM 22-5 which I am sure has been replaced with something else by now. The firing squard shall consists of 8 individuals, 7 riflemen and 1 NCOIC. The party shall fire 3 volleys regardless of rank, 21 rounds total. There is a a custom but not required by regulaltion that the next of kin along with the flag, is also given the 21 empty rounds fired. Sometimes we would have rounds boxed up nice so that we would just not hand them 21 fired blanks.

    In the Army, the only time rank comes into play is for the use of the riderless horse, etc. This is normally reserved for officers not enlisted personnel. As far as the cannon salute, that is reserved for high ranking elected individuals such as the president, vice president, general officers, etc. The number of rounds is determined by the rank of the invididual and there are actually 2 cannon salutes fired, one at the closest garrison and then at the funeral ceremony itself, the cannon salute at the graveside is followed by the rifle salute...

    Van
     
  7. recurvyarcher

    recurvyarcher Well-Known Member

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    According to AR 600-25, Table 2-1, the number of guns in the salute depends on the rank. Take a look.
     
  8. bluskyshooter

    bluskyshooter Active Member

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    Anyone know who or how a person receives a military funeral ? My dad is 92 yo ... and a veteran of WWII. I hate to think of it .. but when he passes ... is he entitled to a military funeral ? How is it arranged ?
    Thanks for sharing, Brian
     
  9. vmthtr in green bay

    vmthtr in green bay Member

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    I was on a couple burial details in active Army and one in National Guard. We did the 8 man detail thing all three times.

    Mike
     
  10. blade819

    blade819 Well-Known Member

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    Arrangements for a Military funeral can usually be made through the Funeral home. Or, the local VFW.
    or American Legion
    blade819
     
  11. grntitan

    grntitan Well-Known Member

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    Yep what blade said. The Funeral Director handled it all. We simply let him know that he was a Veteran and he asked if we wanted the Military Honors. The Military also provided a foot marker for my dad.
     
  12. Ol Faithful

    Ol Faithful Member

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    The American Legion typically will provide for a military funeral.
     
  13. SF SGM

    SF SGM Member

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    Recurvy,
    AR 600-25 table 2-1 deals with the number of artillery pieces that are authorized not the number of riflemen rending the salute. The key words in table 2-1 are as follows:
    Ceremony and parade requirements (in order of precedence)
    Grade, title, or office Number of guns: arrival Number of guns: depart Ruffles and flourishes Music
    President 21 21 4 National anthem

    As you can see, the table deals only with ceremonies and parades and not with military funerals.. for the Army check out FM 3-21.5(FM 22-5) and scroll down to Chapter 14, Funerals.. 14-17. RULES FOR CEREMONIAL FIRING
    For ceremonial firing, the firing party consists of not more than eight riflemen and not
    less than five with one noncommissioned officer in charge (Figure 14-8, page 14-16).

    If you will note, nothing is mentioned concerning the rank of the deceased... Having participated in numerous military funerals during my 26 years career, the firing squad was always the same regardless of rank of the deceased..

    Van
     
  14. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    My step-father's funeral a couple of years back had a 21 gun salute at Willamette National Cemetery.

    We'll probably inter my father's ashes there this summer. This is still being discussed with my sisters. If so, we'll find out then is this is still the practice. My understanding is that it is for all vets who are buried there.
     
  15. short shucker

    short shucker TS Member

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    The sadest funeral I've ever attended was for a very good friend that died in harms way. When the bugler started playing taps, I completely fell apart. I barely noticed the volly of gunfire as I was beside myself at the time.

    ss
     
  16. grntitan

    grntitan Well-Known Member

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    ss---Yes when the bugler started playing playing "Taps" it hit me like a brick too. Couldn't hold it back any longer. Felt good to let it out though. I've been told its not healthy to hold all that emotion in. Sometimes us men think we have to act tough or put on this no emotion act.
     
  17. Fast Oil

    Fast Oil TS Member

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    At my Fathers funeral, (Air Force Major) as we exited the funeral home, myself and two brothers along with the other pallbearers, the organist played John Phillip Sousa's "Off we go into the wild blue yonder". Later that day as family and friends sat around talking, I made the comment about the song as we exited and no one else could recall the music that was being played.
     
  18. eightbore

    eightbore Well-Known Member

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    I served ninety days in the First Army Honor Guard when I was stationed at Fort Lee, VA. Since there is such a difference of opinion here, the regulations either must have changed over the years, or Honor Guards don't always follow the regulations. In the late sixties, our Honor Guard always provided seven shooters and an NCOIC and fired three shots each. When out of town (almost always), those seven soldiers provided duties other than shooting. I don't want anyone shooting at my funeral unless they fire 21 shots, regardless of regulations.
     
  19. postmastertim

    postmastertim Wheels are falling off.... TS Supporters

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    The above link is very informative. I guess by law all we're entitled to is taps and a flag.
     
  20. Jon Reitz

    Jon Reitz Well-Known Member

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    short shucker and grntitan,

    The only thing harder than hearing "Taps" played at a military funeral is then handing that folded flag to a spouse. You will swallow hard.

    CSM Jon Reitz (Ret)
     
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