5 years, 3 months ago
Starting in 2009, all Army KIA will receive full honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
Starting next year, the Army will provide full military honors for all soldiers killed in action when they are laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
The change in policy means funerals for enlisted soldiers now will also include the horse-drawn caisson and other honors previously given only to certain soldiers such as officers and Medal of Honor recipients.
Army spokesman Paul Boyce said Tuesday that the full honors also adds an escort platoon, a colors team and a band, whereas standard honors uses a firing party, bugler and chaplain.
The policy change applies only to Arlington because it is unique in having a caisson.
“Arlington National Cemetery is an expression of our nation’s reverence for those who served her in uniform, many making the ultimate sacrifice,” Secretary of the Army Pete Geren said in a statement released by the Army. “This new policy provides a common standard for honoring all soldiers killed in action.”
Though the full honors will be offered to families, it takes more time to arrange such services and so those who want the funerals more quickly are likely to decline. The full honors also will be arranged for members of the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, if requested, officials said.
As it should have been all along. There should never have been any difference between the way enlisted men and officers were treated at Arlington National Cemetery. That idea is about as screwed up as anything we’ve seen lately, and had we known it there would have been a fight long before now – we would have been glad to pick it. This is a good change.