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Change Arlington Cemetery Burial Honors (Enlisted vs. Officer)
Petition Background (Preamble):
The difference between a Full and Standard Honor Funeral is dramatic, however, unless you have worked at Arlington, you would never know the difference. In fact, the only way an Enlisted Service Member can receive a Full Honor Funeral is to be a Medal of Honor Recipient, which are usually awarded well after burial, meaning a Enlisted Medal of Honor Recipient wouldn’t receive Full Honors at time of burial.
Basically, a Full Honors at Arlington consists of a Horse Drawn Caisson transfer from Chapel to gravesite, 8 pallbearers, Army Band, 1-2 escort marching Platoons, Cannon Salutes for General Officers, “Cap Rider-less Horse(0-6 and above), firing party, bugler and a Chaplin. A Standard Honors Funeral consists of a hearse transfer, 6 pallbearers, firing party, bugler, and a Chaplin. Another misconception is that E-9’s receive Full Honors as stated in Army Regulation 600-25, however, they don’t, in addition to the Standard Honors rendered above, they get the Caisson, 1 escort marching platoon, and a drummer, which contradicts what Army Regulation 600-25 states they will receive the band.
I might add, the above Special Officer Honors rendered at Arlington, are not offered at any other National Cemetery in the United States. I feel Arlington Honors should mirror the rest of the National Cemeteries.
For the last year, I have addressed this with the President, multiple Congressman and Senators, multiple Veteran Organizations of which I am a member of, and Army Offices in Washington D.C., but have received little to no response back. The ANC Superintendent sent me a response stating that he agreed with my position, however, he believed changes would be difficult to implement. I have talked to numerous Senior Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers as well who support this and are addressing this in their own direction.
The bottom line is this, a 2nd Lieutenant can die in a car accident 2 days after graduating Officer Candidate School and get a Full Honor Funeral, while a Master Sergeant in the Army, Air Force, Marine Corp, or Navy with 22 years of Service can die in Combat in Afghanistan or Iraq, receive a Silver Star for Valor, and receive a Standard Honor Funeral. This is flat out disgraceful. In a place our Nation considers to be the most hallowed ground in America, a place that demands our respect, I think this issue deserves to be looked at. Honors rendered should be equal, based off actions, not just rank. A panel should decide official criteria for Honors rendered based off individual careers, and circumstances of death, not just by rank. I think the Funerals should be like the Tomb Stones in Arlington, all the same. At a minimum, all Active Duty Soldiers’ killed in Combat should receive a Full Honor Funeral.
Official criteria needs to be re-looked at is the bottom line, this disgraceful discrepancy has been passed over as “customs and courtesies” too long.
Anyone wishing to assist my efforts please sign this petition which I will be submitting to applicable parties in Washington D.C., so please forward this to all Veterans you know asap. The only way this will be changed is through legislation, so please contact your Representatives'.
SFC Robert Allen Durbin
We request that all Service Members Killed In Action receive Full Honor Funerals in Arlington regardless of Rank starting immediately.
In addition, we ask that the over all Honors Rendered as outlined in AR 600-25 be reevaluated for appropriateness of modern times, and accuracy of what is printed, and actually being done in Arlington.
Specifically, more honors are rendered for Officers than outlined in AR 600-25, Chapter 6, and less Honors are rendered than outlined in the AR for Enlisted Service Members.
The only way to verify this, is to consult with the respective Service Branch Honor Guards, because what is done, and what is authorized in the Regulations is in question.
The Change Arlington Cemetery Burial Honors (Enlisted vs. Officer) petition to Veterans' and Americans' was written by Robert Durbin and is in the category Military at GoPetition. Contact author here. Petition tags: arlington, cemetery, honor, honors, military, army, navy, marines, airforce, change, funerals, funer