Arlington Cemetery Policy Change

| December 30, 2019

Military.com reports that a change in policy now allows enlisted Medal of Honor recipients and POWs to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors, regardless of rank.

Medal of Honor recipients and prisoners of war are entitled to burial with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery, regardless of rank, under the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act signed into law last week by President Donald Trump.

As of Dec. 20, when Trump signed the bill into law, the service secretaries must provide burials with full military honors to enlisted recipients of the Medal of Honor or the prisoner-of-war medal who in the past were “not entitled to full military honors by the grade of that veteran.”

The previous rules restricted full honors at Arlington in-ground burials to officers, warrant officers, senior noncommissioned officers and service members killed in action.

Category: Arlington National Cemetary

Comments (28)

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  1. ninja says:

    Let’s hope Arlington does not make the same mistake when they buried Gary Wayne Gilbert of Alabama in 2014 who claimed Vietnam POW status before he passed away. Check out his headstone:

    https://valorguardians.com/blog/?p=36765

    https://valorguardians.com/blog/?p=39748

    And yes, when you read the comments, you will see a Family Member comment with denial.

    It took over 2 years to get his headstone corrected. A REAL Vietnam POW had to get involved with Arlington to fix the mistake.

    • ninja says:

      Find A Grave still has his old Headstone with Prisoner of War:

      https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/114219717/gary-wayne-gilbert

      However, when one researches Arlington “Find A Grave”, there is a different Headstone minus Prisoner Of War.

      • ninja says:

        Additionally, Gary Wayne Gilbert’s new Headstone at Arlington does not have Purple Heart engraved as previously marked.

        If I remember, Gilbert not only lied about his Vietnam POW status, but also lied about receiving a Purple Heart.

        Gilbert’s Widow provided Arlington with a Bogus DD214, which Arlington admitted in 2013 (not 2014 as I previously commented) that they did not check/verified if it was authentic.

    • The Other Whitey says:

      It’s only natural that someone wouldn’t want to believe that their dad/uncle/etc is a lying sack of shit. That discovery has to be painful.

      As for the liars, To hell with ‘em. My Grandpa had a few stories about some remarkable actions on his ship during WWII. Every one of them was about “this one guy, I forget his name,” while Grandpa said that he himself only witnessed it while trying not to piss himself in fear. To hear him tell it, he was the most ordinary of Sailors who never did anything throughout the war. It wasn’t until after he died and we found his medal citations that we found out that he was the one in those war stories. He told us what happened, but always denied it was him.

      • Fyrfighter says:

        TOW,

        That’s definitely a common thread among true Heros. I’m sure you’ve seen it in the Fire Service a well. Those who run their mouths the most have likely done the least, and those who have really done it tend to be quite about it.
        Your story about your grandfather made me think of my Dad. He had plenty of stories from Viet Nam, usually funny ones, stuff about monsoon season, equipment (he was a combat engineer), or the ingenuity of the soldiers he worked with. He rarely said much about himself, and it wasn’t until I found his Bronze Star with V, and the citation that went with it, that I was finally able to get him to tell some abbreviated version of the story. I still would bet a months pay there’s a lot to the story he didn’t tell me..

        That such men have lived!

  2. Comm Center Rat says:

    I agree with the changes for MoH and POW medal recipients. Would’ve liked to see a provision extending the current policy allowing military retirees the option of in-ground burial (as space allows).

    On a side note: my father, a USAF retiree, died nearly seven months ago and we’re still waiting for a funeral to be scheduled at ANC. The Old Guard can perform a max of 30 funerals daily during weekdays and 10 on Saturdays. With so many WW II and Korea era vets dying daily the wait time at ANC could reach one year.

    • ninja says:

      CCR:

      That’s interesting.

      Is the wait because of a funeral service versus being buried?

      Reason I asked is because if I am not mistaken, SFC Jonn Lilyea was buried at Arlington days after he passed away. Was not at his Service Burial, so don’t know if he had a Funeral Service before he was buried.

    • The Other Whitey says:

      Fort Rosecrans still had room for cremated remains when my Grandpa passed in 1992, but has run out since then. They’ve now put up a couple of walls around the burial ground perimeter to accommodate more. My Uncle Greg is in one of them. Now they’re doing more burials at the new Miramar National Cemetery, where my Aunt Christine (proud Navy WAVE back when WAVES were still a thing) is buried.

  3. 26Limabeans says:

    Had no idea it was rank/grade limited.
    Good fix.

  4. Wilted Willy says:

    Anyone getting those medals had better get full honors, they certainly deserve it!!!!

  5. 5th/77th FA says:

    FTA quote Rep. Crenshaw…”Valor has no rank.” Word! If space is becoming such an issue (or has been for years now) here’s a coupla ideas; FIRST, pull out all of the lying embellishing POSes out that have besmirched the Honor of the Uniform. (such as the example given by ninja above)

    Second; use some of the funds that are currently used for wasted foreign aid, or that is pissed away on foolish congress critter perks to purchase more land adjacent to ANC, investigate more fully the questionable burials, and expand the ranks of the Old Guard.

    BZ to all that worked on correcting this slight to Heroic Enlisted Service Members.

    Side note, slightly on/off topic. Episode of Perry Mason had a SP/AM War Vet accused of murder and Stolen Valor in re a MoH earned during action at Kettle Hill. His dog Hardtack was also falsely accused of assault. The will and testimony of a Comrade-in-Arms verified the Award of the MoH to Amos “Kennesaw Mountain” Keller and the dirtbag that did the murder was outed by the dog Hardtack. And Della Street was looking Classy, as always. Yeah I know, entertainment is at a low ebb here at Firebase Magnolia.

    • Skyjumper says:

      5th/77th FA, that’s my normal morning routine here in Cheesehead land……watching Perry Mason on ME TV @ 8 am with a fist full of freshly ground & brewed coffee. THAN, my work around the house and helping friends & relatives with their projects begins.

    • OWB says:

      Psssst. Don’t tell anybody, but Casa OWB has enjoyed that episode a couple of times recently. It’s a goodun.

    • chooee lee says:

      I was packing chutes in the PI back in 63 when I met Raymond Burr. I was up at the head of the packing table when the canopy started to wiggle. Of course, the first thing out of my mouth was:”What The Fuck”. Turned around and there stood Raybond Burr with some public relations type cherry ass Ensign. Well the ensign about swolled his craw. Mr Burr was very cool about the whole thing and apologized to me. When you are packing chutes nobody messes with it but you.

  6. Roh-Dog says:

    With all due respect to anyone else’s opinion; when the Great Infantry God in the Sky cancels my terrestrial leave, if someone buries my corporeal TA-50 that close to Washington, District of, and I’mma gonna haunt yo’azz.
    Its about damn time they changed this policy. The 3rd is an honor to be part of, they work their asses off, but right is right.

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Concur wholeheartedly Brother. In my case what usable pieces and parts of mine that can be used for someone else are free for the taking. Whatever is left is to be turned into ashes and blown out a of cannon or otherwise scattered over select Battle Grounds that I have chosen. A simple Service Marker with my name and Army Service placed with Mama, Daddy and the rest of the Family in the Old Church Yard will suffice. Despite the Honor of being buried among real Heros on ground trod upon by Bobbie Lee, I have no desire at all to be entombed anywhere near the District of Criminals. Has too much of a taint about it.

  7. ninja says:

    If I read the article correctly, those Soldiers who were Prisoner of War or Medal of Honor Recipients are now entitled to be buried at Arlington with FULL Military Honors versus Standard Military Honors regardless of their Rank.

    Medal of Honor Recipients, Prisoners of War and those Killed In Action have always been entitled to a Burial at Arlington. However, it seems that lower Enlisted were only entitled to a Standard Military Honor versus Full Military Honor.

    “There are two types of Funeral Honors at the Cemetery; Full Honors and Standard Honors. A Standard Honors Funeral is for any Enlisted Service member. Standard Honors include casket team (body bearers / pall bearers), a firing party, and a bugler. Full Honors Funerals includes an escort platoon (size varies according to the rank of the deceased) and a military band. Normally, the deceased service member’s branch of service is responsible for carrying out the military honors at the funeral. Those eligible for full military honors may also use the caisson if it is available.”

    Am thankful the rules have been changed for Military Honors Funerals because Valor indeed has no Rank.

    The rules will most likely change for Below Ground Burial because of Arlington running out of space and will only be reserved for Service Members Killed In Action, Recipients of the Silver Star and Higher Awards who served in Combat, Purple Heart recipients, Combat-Related Deaths and Former Prisoner of War.

  8. aGrimm says:

    Have you ever wondered why and who the first human burial was and when it occurred? As far as I know, we are the only animal to bury our dead and keep track with genealogy lists. In a previous life I was a gnu, but who gnu? (channeling Jeff).

  9. Stacy0311 says:

    Unpopular opinion (maybe) but relocate the Air Force Memorial in order to expand ANC. Also eminent domain a buttload of condos in the area for additional space

  10. vetfromhell says:

    I agree with the new honors. USN Ceremonial Guard 1980-1982.

  11. AW1Ed says:

    ninjabackatya,

    Your vile comment has been summarily shitcanned, and your email address and ISP have been noted.

    Happy New Year, asshole.

    • AW1Ed says:

      Incorrigible, you have some serious anger issues- seek professional help. Also you’re flagged here; everything you send goes to Admin Review. I’ll be happy to approve your comments, as long as they are relevant to the post and you don’t come off as a complete asshole. Like your last two efforts.
      My shit-list is pretty short, and it takes quite a lot to get there. You are well on the way.

    • Mick says:

      KA-BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!

      Shack!

      BDA = 100/100!