2018-05-11 / Front Page

Funeral Honors Detail: the final service

Petty Officers 2nd Class S. R. Phillips, A. C. Branch
Navy Information Operations Command – Georgia


A funeral honors detail with the Navy Information Operations Command – Georgia conducts a routine rehearsal before a scheduled local ceremony. 
Petty Officer 3rd Class K.E. Wheelock / Navy Information Operations Command – Georgia A funeral honors detail with the Navy Information Operations Command – Georgia conducts a routine rehearsal before a scheduled local ceremony. Petty Officer 3rd Class K.E. Wheelock / Navy Information Operations Command – Georgia The Navy Information Operations Command – Georgia funeral honors detail is a group of dedicated Sailors who perform the ceremonial honors at funerals of Navy veterans.

Supporting ceremonies in 33 counties of South Carolina and Georgia, the detail often sends a four-person team to a ceremony.

One Sailor plays the bugle, two fold the flag, and the fourth presents the flag to the family of the deceased.

“The services rendered by a funeral honors detail are the last opportunity the Navy has to show the families of our Sailors that we appreciate them, that their sacrifices are acknowledged,” said Chief Sha- Nicca White, Leading chief petty officer for the detail. “For me personally, it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in the military.”

The large region supported by the detail keeps the team busy.

According to White, they typically support around 30 funerals a month, and sometimes more than one a day.

Fortunately, the size of the team keeps the workload spread out.

Each member participates up to four funerals a month, in addition to one required monthly practice.

While the four-person team is the most common service rendered for a funeral, many people are more familiar with the full honors ceremony.

Reserved for retired military and those who died on active duty, this is the honors typically represented in movies and television, sometimes referred to as a 21-gun salute due to the inclusion in the ceremony of a 21-rifle volley.

Eight to fifteen Sailors typically participate in a full honors ceremony, in addition to the rifle team, and the detail will coordinate with other regional teams to provide the manpower to support these ceremonies.

In addition to their typical roles, members occasionally serve as pallbearers, and may also support events other than funerals, such as ceremonial flag presentations around patriotic holidays or memorials observances for historical events.

Funeral honors detail is a rewarding duty for those who participate and a service highly valued by the families of deceased.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Kirsta Wheelock, on the funeral detail, sees the service as a “respectful tribute steeped in military tradition that honors the Servicemember, their family and friends.”

“ Family members and friends will normally engage us after the service to shake our hands, introduce themselves, and express their gratitude.

“It is a great way for us to represent the Navy and to get involved in the community and engage in conversation with people who have meaningful memories to share of their loved one’s time in service,” she said.

Sailors interested in participating as a member for funeral honors can attend a practice, which are held at noon Mondays and Tuesdays at the Georgia Component Headquarters, located at 537 Brainard Avenue building 28423, and 4 p.m. Wednesdays at the Army Reserve Center.

For more information, contact Chief Sha-Nicca White.

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