Military Funeral

“It is Not Death To Die”


It is not death to die

To leave this weary road,

And, ‘midst the brotherhood on high,

To be at home with God.


It is not death to close

The eye long dimmed with tears,

And wake in glorious response

To spend eternal years.


It is not death to bear

The wrench that sets us free

From dungeon chain, to breathe the air

Of boundless liberty.


It is not death to fling

Aside this sinful dust,

And rise on strong exulting wing

To live among the just.


Jesus, Thou Prince of Life,

Thy chosen cannot die;

Like Thee, they conquer in the strife,

To reign with Thee on high.


                         H. A. Cesar Malan,

Tr. George Washington Bethune.







    a.  TC 16-2, Religious Support To Casualties, Memorial and Funeral Services, dated December 1991


    b.  FM 22-5, Drill and Ceremonies, dated December 1986


    c. DA PAM 1-1, State. Official, and Special Military Funerals, dated December 1965


2. Purpose. The purpose of this SOP is to establish policies and procedures for memorial ceremonies and services. This SOP will establish uniform  procedures and responsibilities so that fallen soldiers will be honored in a fitting manner with  appropriate rites and functions.


3. GENERAL. Memorial honors, ceremonies and services, are a command responsibility. Units will be render memorial honors to each soldier who dies while assigned or attached to a unit on Fort Campbell. Commanders may request exception in the case of a solider who dies in a less than honorable manner {such as dying in the commission of a heinous crime}.


   a.  Memorial Ceremony: The memorial ceremony stresses military honors and may be conducted in a chapel, outdoor formation or auditorium. If a chapel is used, it will be “faith group neutral” and all religious symbols will be removed or covered. The fallen soldier’s chain of command provides ceremony leadership. The chaplain may assist in planning or leadership but vestments will not be worn and religious terminology will be kept to a minimum. The unit takes the lead and is assisted by the chaplain. The elements of the ceremony emphasize a patriotic theme.


  b.  Memorial Service:  The memorial service stresses spiritual comfort and generally is conducted in a chapel. The specific denomination or faith group of the fallen solider is significant in chaplain takes the lead in  planning the service and assisted by the unit. The elements are similar to those of a military funeral except no body or remains are present.


 c.  The intent of the honors is to focus on the unit and its soldiers. The event should bring to closure the shock and denial surrounding the death and allow the unit to move forward with its collective missions. Commander’s remarks will address what is to be learned from the death. Chaplains will address the needs of soldiers.


 d. These events will be normally not occur less than 3 days or more than 7 days after the death.


 e. Memorial honors are planned at battalion and are normally conducted by a company. Memorial ceremonies conducted  in unit formations may be company or battalion events.


 f. The boots/helmet displays will be standardized. The display will consist of the helmet placed on top of an inverted M-16 and highly polished combat boots. A flight helmet or beret may be substituted for the Kevlar helmet, as appropriate.


 g. Uniform for program participants, to include chaplain, firing party and bugler, will be Class A. During memorial services chaplain may wear black military stoles. Attendees may wear appropriate duty uniforms.


 h. The firing of volleys by a firing party and Taps will be included in memorial honors.  The firing party will not bring weapons into sanctuary. The firing will be positioned outside the chapel. The bugler will also be outside the chapel and positioned to be clearly heard by all in attendance while giving a distant, faint quality to the playing of Taps.


 I.  The “Last Roll Call” may be included in memorial ceremonies or services as an option. Commanders should be aware that this element, while potentially powerful for soldiers, can be extremely painful for family members.


 j. The Installation Staff Chaplain has budgeted, through Consolidated Chaplains’ Fund offerings, resources to provide musicians{ already  under contract} to support honors in chapel facilities. Additionally, units  may be requested 101st Airborne Division {Air Assault}Band members for memorial ceremonies conducted outside or in an auditorium. Vocalists may volunteer to assist.


 k.  Scheduling of the service or ceremony will not be finalized until the unit has contacted the Commanding General’s secretary to ensure the CG or his representative can be present.


 l.  For hours conducted in a chapel or auditorium, the front two rows on the left {entering from the rear} will be reserved for the Command Group, senior commanders, their spouses and distinguished guests. Front pews to the right side of the isle will be reserved for the family members and escorts as appropriate. Under some circumstances additional left side rows.


 m.  No news media will be allowed into the sanctuary during the event. Video or audio taping of events during the ceremony or service by the news media is prohibited, even from remote locations. However, units may video tape the entire event for historical purposes or to provide the family a record of honors rendered. The taping will be as inconspicuous as possible.


 n.  Families or family members should be informed of the memorial honors. They should be explicitly told that their presence is neither required nor expected. While family members are not encouraged to attend, they will not be discouraged. When family members are present, the following indoor sequence of events will be followed:


     {1} The unit’s family escort will assemble the family in a waiting area where the chaplain {or another designated unit member}will brief them on the elements of the event. Specifically he will address the boots/helmet display, the “Last Roll Call” {as appropriate}, firing of volleys, and Taps. He will discuss who the participants are and their roles in the program. He will discuss entry and exit from the event and the offering of condolences by members of the command and distinguished guests.


  {2} Five minutes before the event begins, the escort will lead the family into the sanctuary or auditorium {by a front, side door, if possible}. Upon completion of the program, the command representative will depart after the family is escorted to the waiting area. The command group will proceed to the waiting area to pay their respects to the family. Other members of the unit may also pay their respects in the waiting area.


o.  Colors will be posted prior to the beginning of the event. National colors and appropriate “faith group” flag will be displayed as described in the chapel SOP. Generally, unit colors and guidons will be displayed inside for ceremonies and outside for services. General Officer {GO} flags as appropriate, will be displayed outside of the chapel for both ceremonies and services.


 p. When the fallen soldiers is assigned or attached to a brigade or division HHC, separate company or detachment, the major unit commander will determine the appropriate distribution of commander, senior NCO and staff responsibilities and functions described in this SOP.


 q.  Exceptions to this SOP will be approved by the Chief of Staff.



SECTION II Memorial Honors


1. Purpose.  This section establishes responsibilities and procedures for memorial honors.


2.  Responsibilities

    a.  Unit Commander:”


         {1}  Determine the nature and time memorial honors will be conducted and assume overall responsibility for planning and conduct. Keep MUC commander informed of situation, plans and progress. Call Commanding General’s secretary{798-9915} to coordinate day and time for the honors.


         {2}  Talk personally with NOK or parents of deceased solider.


         {3}  Conduct rehearsals. Determine rehearsal location, date, and time. If possible, conduct a full dress rehearsal the day of the event. Coordinate with chaplain on scheduling the event, rehearsal times, and site preparation times.


         {4}  Provide information memorandum with personal data regarding the deceased soldier{including  personnel data card information and soldier’s service data} for use in program or bulletin preparation and for PAO and chaplain requirements .Designate speaker{s} and prepare comments, including military record. Review program or bulletin prior to release to printer.


         {5}  Coordinate with Casualty  Assistance Branch to task band for bugler. Contact PAO regarding media access and control. Coordinate with Headquarters Commandment for GO flag{s} and with Cdr, LEC for traffic control and parking availability.


         {6}  Provide  a detail to change NCOIC for building and grounds and  preparation and facility recovery.


         {7}  Conduct pre-inspection of uniforms for all participants and conduct final site inspection of sanctuary, chapel grounds and family waiting area.


         {8}  Designate and brief ushers, firing party, unit’s family escort, and GO flag bearer details.


         {9}  Asses unit morale and impact of solider’s death.


         {10)  Coordinate delivery and return of unit guidons, battalion colors and memorial helmet/boot display.


         {11}  Appoint Honors NCO to coordinate timing of honors by firing party, bugler or chaplain and supervise GO flag bearers. Ensure proper positioning of firing party, bugler and GO flag bearers.


         {12}  Arrange for audio-visual taping, as appropriate.

   b.     PAO.


        {1}  Coordinate news media support and control.


         {2}  Escort and brief media representatives.


         {3}  Coordinate approval for media interview requests.


  c.     Cdr, LEC.  Ensure traffic control and parking availability.


  d.     Cdr, Band. As requested, provide bugler in Class A uniform for full dress rehearsal and honors event. Bugler reports to Honors NCO at chapel for full dress rehearsal.


  e.    Battalion/Unit Chaplain.


        {1} Assess unit’s morale and provide pastoral care or presence as  appropriate.


        {2} Advise the unit commander on type honors and content, site selection, chapel availability and alternate times or sites.


        {3} Prepare bulletin or program for printing. Consult with unit commander as necessary. References  cited in this SOP and information at Section III will be considered in recommending the order of events.


       {4} Coordinate for NAF contract musician as appropriate. Supervise musical aspects of the ceremony, except Taps.


       {5} Coach and encourage participants on presentation of remarks before and during rehearsal and prepare remarks as appropriate.


       {6} Review Chapel SOP and advise unit on detail requirements and other matters, as appropriate. Coordinate support of unit by chapel staff and supervise chapel preparation.


      {7} Rehearse backup tape of Taps and coordinate on-order, backup plan.


      {8} Maintain contract with the Division Chaplain and the Installation Chaplain’s Office.


      {9} Brief family members as appropriate.




       a.  As soon as practical after confirmation of a death, the battalion commander will convene a planning cell consisting of the battalion S-1, CSM, company/battery/troop commander, 180, chaplain and other individuals he determines to be necessary. During the planning session he will determine the nature of the honors, location and timing, and designate responsibilities.



      b.  Additional planning meetings may be scheduled as the commander deems necessary.


      c.  Rehearsals should be conducted the day prior to the honors event and the day of the event. The rehearsal on the day of the event should be full dress and include a uniform inspection.




1.  Elements in the order of events for a Memorial Ceremony.


    a.  The ceremony may be simple with only a few basic elements or very involved and formal. Among the elements which may be included are:



  National Anthem


  Special Music

  Memorial Tribute, Biographical Sketch and Service Record

  Silent Tribute

  Commander’s Address or Remarks

  Unit/Command Traditions

  Firing of Volleys



    b.  Additionally, the ceremony may include remarks or personal reflections by fellow soldiers and leaders.


    c.  Music selected for the event should reflect the patriotic nature of the ceremony. The chapel hymnal  contains several traditional selections especially appropriate for memorial ceremonies.


2.  Elements in the Order of Worship for a Memorial Service.


    a.  The circumstances should dictate what elements constitute an appropriate order of service. Among the options are:






  Scripture Reading{s}









    b.  Additionally, the lightning and extinguishing of altar candles, special music by a soloist or instrumentalist, Taps, reading of the biography and/or comments by commander of fellow soldier may be included.


    c.  Music selections may either reflect the honored soldier’s particular religious denomination or a broader religious tradition.


3.  Elements in the a Modified Memorial Service.


    a.  The circumstance should dictate what elements constitute an appropriate order of service. Among the options are:



  Last Roll Call{OPTIONAL}

  Moment of Silence



  Service Record and/or Biographical Sketch



  Scripture Reading{s}

  Commander’s Remarks

  Special Music



  Firing of Volleys




    b.  Additionally, the lighting and extinguishing of altar candles, special music by soloist or instrumentalist, and/or comments by leader or fellow soldiers may be included.




                   Task              Assigned            Completed


    1.  Talk personally with NOK.------------------

    2.  Designate speakers; prepare-----------------


     3.  Coordinate location, date-------------------

and time of event with chaplain.

     4.  Schedule rehearsals.-----------------------

     5.  Call CG’S secretary {798-9915}--------------

to coordinate date/time.

     6.  Prepare information memo on--------------------

decease solider.

     7.  Bugler requested.---------------------------

     8.  Program/bulletin prepared.------------------

     9.. PAO contacted----------------------------------

     10.  GO flags requested---------------=---------

     11   Traffic control and------------------------

parking requirements coordinated.

    12.  Detail provided to chapel NCOIC.------------------

    13.  Conduct pre-inspection of  --------------------


   14.  Conduct final site inspection.-----------------

   15.  Provide battalion colors.--------------------

   16.  Provide memorial boot/helmet-----------------


    17.  Arrange audio-visual taping.-----------------

    18.  Recover memorial boot/helmet------------------


   19.  Designate and brief ushers, family-------------

escort and GO flag bearer details.

   20.  Assess unit morale and impact of-------------

soldier’s death.

   21.  Coordinate delivery and return of -----------

unit Guidons.

   22.  Ensure proper positioning of unit-------------

firing party, bugler and GO flag bearers.

   23.  Appoint Honors NCO.                -------------


      1.  Coordinate news media support and control.----------

      2.  Escort/brief media representatives as ------------


      3.   Coordinate approval for media interview requests.---- ----

      4.   CDR, LEC

           Traffic control and parking.         --------------

            CDR, Band

            Bugler provided.                      ------------



             1.  Provide pastoral care to unit.   -----------


             2.   Advise commander on honors.    -----------


             3.   Support commander in program   ------------



             4.   Coordinate vocalists/musicians;  ---------

                  Supervise musical aspects.


             5.    Coach and encourage participants.  ----------


             6.    Coordinate chapel staff support   -----------

                    of unit.


             7.     Prepare remarks, as appropriate.   -----------


             8.     Supervise preparation of chapel.   -----------


             9.     Coordinate on placement of firing  ----

                    party, bugler, and GO flag bearers.


             10.    Review Chapel SOP and advise unit  ----------

                    leaders, as appropriate.


             11.     Rehearse back-up tape of Taps;  ----------

                     coordinate on-order back-up plan.


             12.     Final chapel inspection.         -----------


             13.     Maintain contact with technical  ----------

                     staff chain.