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  • Full burial at Arlington opened to all enlisted...

    Arlington full-honor burials to also include enlisted troops
    By William H. McMichael
    [email protected]
    Full military honors will be grant­ed to all enlisted soldiers killed in action and slated for burial or in­urnment at Arlington National Cemetery beginning in January, the Army secretary has decided.
    In a Dec. 12 memo obtained by Military Times and confirmed by service officials, Army Secretary Pete Geren said the policy also will apply to members of other services if requested and autho­rized, and Army assets that now support military funeral honors at Arlington will be made available for those other funerals.
    The Army secretary is the exec­utive agent for all matters con­cerning Arlington, the nation’s most hallowed military cemetery, located in Arlington, Va.
    Full honors, now accorded only to officers and enlisted members who reach the highest enlisted rank of E-9, include an escort pla­ toon, a colors team, a band and a horse-drawn caisson. Medal of Honor recipients below E-9 rate the colors and caisson.
    This is the first time all elements of full-honors burials will be ex­tended at Arlington to all enlisted soldiers killed in combat as a re­sult of enemy action, said Arling­ton historian Thomas Sherlock.
    Under the new policy, eligible enlisted soldiers will be those who were killed as a result of: ■ any action against an enemy of the U.S.; or against an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the U.S. military is or has been engaged.
    ■ action while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed combat against an oppos­ing armed force in which the U.S. is not a belligerent.
    ■ an act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces.
    ■ an act of any hostile foreign force.
    ■ an international terrorist at­tack against the U.S. or a foreign nation friendly to the U.S., recog­nized as such an attack by the Army secretary.
    ■ military operations outside the territory of the U.S. as part of a peacekeeping force.
    ■ friendly fire while directly en­gaged in armed conflict, unless the soldier ’s death was the result of the soldier ’s willful misconduct.
    ‘Doing the right thing’
    “Arlington National Cemetery ... and those honored there are part of our national heritage,” Geren said in a statement. “This new policy provides a unified basis for all Army soldiers killed in action.” A soldier who lobbied hard for the change over the past year praised Geren’s move.
    “He made the right decision,” said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Durbin, a for­mer member of the Army’s 3rd In­fantry Regiment, the “Old Guard,” which mans the caissons, escort platoons, color guards and firing parties for Arlington funerals.
    “This was about honor and doing the right thing,” said Durbin, who is serving on a 25th Infantry Divi­sion military transition team in Taji, Iraq.
    Durbin wrote to the Military Times newspapers last spring in support of the change, prompting a news story and launching a public debate over the issue. He said his prodding also drew strong support from Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.
    Veterans groups hailed the decision.
    “It’s just an appropriate change that recognizes the sacrifices that these soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have made in war,” said John Grady of the Association of the U.S. Army. “We couldn’t be more pleased.” “It’s also recognition of the im­portance of the enlisted communi­ty,” said Joe Barnes, national ex­ecutive director of the Fleet Re­serve Association.
    The new policy will not apply retroactively, according to the Army. Enlisted soldiers killed in a combat zone or hostile-fire area as the re­sult of nonhostile actions not noted in the memo will continue to receive standard military funeral honors at Arlington, the policy states.
    The biggest obstacle to more full-honors funerals at Arlington, officials have said in the past, is the limited number of assets. The services provide their own Wash­ington-based ceremonial troops for certain elements of Arlington funerals, such as pallbearer duty, but these troops also are on call to perform other official functions.
    Arlington has only two of the Old Guard-run caisson units and can perform only eight of the stately funerals each day, Monday through Friday, officials say. Bands also are not always available.
    “Some of the details are going to have to be worked out,” said Col. Dan Baggio, spokesman for Joint Force Headquarters Na­tional Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, which is responsible for rendering honors at Arling­ton. “We want to meet the secre­tary of the Army’s intent and do what’s right by the soldiers who deserve the honor.” As of Dec. 18, 531 service mem­bers killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars had been buried, inurned or memorialized at Arling­ton, cemetery officials said. Ë</SPAN>

    ...And shephards we shall be. For thee my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. E Nomini Patri, E Fili, E Spiritu Sancti.

  • #2
    I did see an article on this recently...they couldn't get the caission...there was ice which the horses can't walk on and the band couldn't play, it was too cold for them too play their instruments. Arlington is very cold this time of year.
    R.I.P. my Bros from the 1st MAR DIV, 3rd MAR DIV, 25th I.D., 10th MTN DIV, V Corps, 170th IBCT who gave their lives in the Cold War, Marines we lost in Korea during Team Spirit '89 & Okinawa '89- bodies never recovered, Panama, 1st Gulf War, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq...


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