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by John A Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer, Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)
Navy and Coast Guard Programs for Burial at Sea for Eligible Veterans and Dependents
We start off with a question from one of our readers:
“I’m planning my final farewell and because I served in the U.S Navy I can be buried at sea. Is this true, and how do I find out more information?” – Mike M. Bristol RI
Mike, the U.S. Navy, and U.S. Coast Guard programs for burial at sea are for eligible veterans and dependents. The program allows for cremated or intake remains. In your planning, suggest you contact your selected funeral home to ensure the funeral home understands and meets the specific guidelines for the preparation of casketed remains. Moreover, ensure the funeral home has the U.S. Navy required documents ready to go in your pre-planning. Additionally, Mike if you choose to be buried at sea, you are eligible for a memorial item provided at no cost to your family. For more information, call the U.S. Navy Mortuary Affairs office at 866-787-0081. Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Additionally, pertinent information from the U.S. Navy website can be found here: https://www.mynavyhr.navy.mil/Support-Services/Casualty/Mortuary-Services/Burial-at-Sea/:
Eligibility: Individuals eligible for this program are:
(1) Active-duty members of the uniformed services
(2) Retirees and veterans who were honorably discharged
(3) U.S. civilian marine personnel of the Military Sealift Command
(4) Dependent family members of active duty personnel, retirees, and veterans of the uniformed services.
How to get started: After the death of the individual for whom the request for Burial at Sea is being made, the Person Authorized to Direct Disposition (PADD) should contact the Navy and Marine Corps Mortuary Affairs office at 1-866-787-0081 to request a packet and for additional information.
Supporting documents which must accompany this request are:
(1) A photocopy of the death certificate(2) The burial transit permit or the cremation certificate(3) A copy of the DD Form 214, discharge certificate, or retirement order.
The Burial at Sea Request Form and the three supporting documents listed above make up the Burial at Sea Request package.
Burial at Sea is a means of final disposition of remains that is performed on United States Navy vessels. The committal ceremony is performed while the ship is deployed. Therefore, family members are not allowed to be present. The commanding officer of the ship assigned to perform the ceremony will notify the family of the date, time, and longitude and latitude once the committal service has been completed. The average amount of time for burial at sea, is 12 to 18 months, once the remains/cremains are received at the port of embarkation.
Burial Flag: A Burial Flag is required for all committal services performed aboard United States Naval vessels, except family members, who are not authorized a burial flag. Following the services at sea, the flag that accompanied the cremains/remains will be returned to the PADD. If the PADD does not wish to send a burial flag for the service, a flag will be provided by the Navy for the committal service, but will not be sent to the PADD.
More information on U.S. Navy Burial Program
Cremated Remains (Cremains): Cremains must be in an urn or temporary container (preferably bio-degradable) to prevent spillage in shipping. Recent changes in law prohibit the discharge of plastics at sea. Families are encouraged to have the cremains inurned directly, or transferred to a sturdy biodegradable urn at their local funeral home to facilitate burial at sea. Burial at Sea Coordinators at the ports of embarkation are available to field any questions regarding the urns. The cremains, along with the completed Burial at Sea Request package should be forwarded to the Burial at Sea Coordinator at the desired port of embarkation (listed below). Prior to shipment, it is recommended that a phone call be made informing the coordinator of the pending request. ONLY Priority Mail Express Service is authorized when shipping cremains and it is recommended that that Tracking and Signature On Delivery is used to ensure the package is delivered to the correct individual in a timely manner.
Intact Remains (Casketed): Specific guidelines are required for the preparation of casketed remains. All expenses incurred in this process are the responsibility of the PADD, who will select a funeral home in the area of the port of embarkation.
After this selection has been made and notification has been provided to the coordinator, the casketed remains, the request form, supporting documents, and the burial flag are to be forwarded to the receiving funeral home. The coordinator will make the inspection and complete the checklist for the preparation of casketed remains. It is recommended that funeral homes responsible for preparing and shipping intact remains contact the Mortuary Services office at Navy Casualty in Millington, TN to receive the preparation requirements.
RINEWSTODAY contacted U.S. Navy Mortuary Affairs office at 866-787-0081, and was advised only two locations process casketed remains:
Veterans wishing to be buried intact at sea, recommend you ensure financial resources are included in pre-planning funeral expenses to transport are available to transport your remains to designated port of embarkation.
The burial at sea request/authorization form:
The burial at sea checklist for San Diego, CA port:
NAVY PORTS OF EMBARKATION / COORDINATORS:
Questions concerning Burial-at-Sea?
Call Monday – Friday, 0730-1600 Central Time
Toll Free – 1-866-787-0081
U.S. Coast Guard Burial At Sea Program from the Coast Guard website:
Per ALCOAST 016/11 of 19 Jan 2011, the Coast Guard provides funeral honors for qualified Coast Guard veterans. For a burial at sea the same honors will be provided for qualified veterans of any service. A “qualified veteran” is defined at sections 4.7 and E2.11 of Department of Defense Instruction 1300.15, Military Funeral Support. While the documented character of service is significant, in rare cases a veteran may become disqualified based on post‐service criminal activity. Not all criminal activity is disqualifying. Denial of MFH under these provisions has been delegated to Commander, Personnel Service Center for Coast Guard veterans. For veterans of other services when a question arises, the decision to deny honors is made only by the parent service.
A “QUALIFIED VETERAN” FOR MILITARY HONORS:
Anyone who served on active duty or in the reserve forces of a Uniformed Service. No minimum period of service is defined.
The veteran must have been:
REQUEST AND REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION
After the death of the individual for whom the request for Burial‐at‐Sea is being made, the Person Authorized to Direct Disposition (PADD) may complete the enclosed Burial‐at‐Sea worksheet or provide a letter with the same information. Supporting documents which must accompany the request are:
· A legible copy of the death certificate
· The cremation certificate
· (Military only) A copy of form DD‐214, or equivalent discharge certificate or retirement order, or form DD‐1300
The PADD is the person designated on form CG‐2020D for Coast Guard members, or on form DD‐93 for military members of DOD services. For civilians the PADD is a matter of state law. Usually, the PADD for a civilian is the first person from the hierarchy of: spouse or partner, natural children, parents, siblings, or other relatives.
PACKAGING OF CREMAINS FOR SHIPMENT
Cremated remains (also known as “cremains” or ashes) must be packaged to prevent spillage in shipment. The normal packaging used by crematories and funeral homes should be adequate. Packaging should be disposable since it will not be returned. A suitably dignified container may be made of any material.
· Some very nice packaging is made from paper cellulose or cardboard‐type material.
· A relatively new option is an urn made of salt, which dissolves when dropped in the ocean. Salt urns are easy to handle. They are very neat, even on a windy day.
· Plastic materials cannot be placed in the ocean.
The Coast Guard strongly recommends shipment by secure, traceable means such as Certified Mail, “Return Receipt Requested”.
If the deceased is a qualified veteran for whom military honors will be provided, a burial flag should accompany the cremains. The burial flag will be used to drape the urn during the ceremony. If a burial flag is provided with cremains, the same flag will be folded and returned to the PADD. If no flag is provided, the ship, boat or aircraft will use a flag from regular onboard stock, and will retain the flag onboard for continued use after the ceremony.
INTACT HUMAN REMAINS (CASKETED REMAINS)
The Coast Guard does not normally bury intact, casketed remains at sea. No Coast Guard ship was built with sufficient clearance to maneuver a casket into and out of an appropriately refrigerated space at sea.
The U.S. Navy does have suitable facilities and may consider a burial at sea request for a qualified veteran.
Burial at sea of intact remains will be considered only with prior approval by a Coast Guard vice admiral or higher authority.
All burials at sea have regulatory requirements for minimum distance from land. In addition, for intact human remains, final disposition is subject to a minimum ocean depth of 100 fathoms (600 feet) in most locations, or a minimum of 300 fathoms (1,800 feet) in the vicinity of Florida and offshore from the Mississippi Delta. See 40 CFR 229.1 for technical details.
FEES AND EXPENSES
The Coast Guard does not charge any fee for the final service of burial at sea. The Coast Guard will not incur fees on behalf of the deceased, other than normal movement of ships, boats and aircraft. For example, the Coast Guard will not provide a wreath to be laid at sea, but will lay a wreath if provided by next of kin.
U.S. COAST GUARD BURIAL‐AT‐SEA COORDINATORS
Prior to shipment, please call the Burial‐At‐Sea Coordinator during normal business hours to discuss details. You may call any Coordinator to discuss. Or, pick a specific coordinator based on where you prefer the burial to be performed.
Location – Pont of Contact – Phone
Boston MA – CWO Armistead – 617-223-3468
Portsmouth VA – CWO Belger – 757-686-4116
Miami FL – YNCM Navarro – 305-535-4556
New Orleans LA – CWO Robinson – 504-253-4793
St. Louis MO – CWO Meyer – 314-269-2321
Cleveland OH – YNCM Gordy – 216-902-6302
LA/Long Beach CA – YNCM Silva Jr. – 310-521-6082Alameda CA – CWO Linayao – 510-437-3712Seattle WA – CWO Watson – 206-217-6407
Honolulu HI – CWO Fikac – 808-842-2012Ketchikan AK – YNCM Tuchman – 907-228-0218Kodiak AK – CWO Jacobs – 907-487-5170Washington DC – CWO Tennyson – 202-372-4010USCG program manager – LT Arumae – 703-872-6647
Burial‐At‐Sea Coordinators will be happy to discuss burial at sea details prior to a person’s death. If this is of concern, please choose a coordinator and call. If you have specific ideas about your wishes or those of a family member you can discuss them with one of the Coordinators. However, the Coast Guard does not maintain advance files on burial at sea wishes. That is a family matter. Talk to them so they know what you want.
SPEEDINESS OF BURIALS AT SEA
Some burials at sea are arranged and completed in as little as a week. Burials associated with special requests may wait for months because a particular ship is deployed, or is in the shipyard, etc. Most burials are completed in two weeks to two months from the date of the completed request and delivery of cremains.
CONDUCTING A BURIAL AT SEA
COMDTINST M5000.3B, UNITED STATES COAST GUARD REGULATIONS 1992, SECTIONS 14‐10‐3.H & I.
During burial at sea, the ship shall be stopped, if practicable, and the ensign shall be displayed at half‐mast from the beginning of the funeral service until the body has been committed to the deep. Further display of the ensign at half‐mast may be prescribed, according to circumstances, by the senior officer present. [14‐10‐3.H]
Per Coast Guard Regulations, burial at sea must be conducted in accordance with the environmental regulations at 40 CFR 229.1. [14‐10‐3.I]
Burial at sea of cremated remains must take place beyond the limit of the territorial sea, but without regard to depth limitations. [14‐10‐3.I(2)]
Flowers and wreaths consisting of materials which are readily decomposable in the marine environment may be disposed of at the site at which disposal of human remains is authorized. [14‐10‐3.I(3)]
Burial‐at‐sea program (DRAFT) 4 130811
COMDTINST M5000.3B, UNITED STATES COAST GUARD REGULATIONS 1992, SECTIONS 14‐10‐3.F
Persons in the Coast Guard shall salute when:
· The body is carried past them;
· While the body is being lowered into the grave or committed to the deep; and
· During the firing of volleys and the sounding of ‘Taps’.”
Burials at sea occasionally involve special requests. The Coast Guard may accommodate a special request that does not create extra work. Some examples of special requests that have been honored:
· Burial in the Gulf Stream while a Coast Guard cutter was passing through the area.
· Burial from an aircraft (common for naval aviators, uncommon for others).
· Burial from a particular ship—usually because the person served aboard that ship or a ship of the same name.
· Burial along a particular piece of the coast—because the person enjoyed surfing or fishing there.
CENOTAPHS AND HEADSTONES
More information is available at http://www.cem.va.gov/hm_hm.asp.
When a person is buried at sea there is no grave ashore, and no “headstone” because the stone cannot be set at the head end of the grave. When there are no remains actually buried in the ground, the marker is a “cenotaph.” A headstone and a cenotaph look exactly the same. It is a technical difference, obviously important to those who manage cemeteries. A marker requested from VA can be for a headstone or for a cenotaph.
Coast Guard Application for Burial At Sea:
Pre-planning with a funeral home to ensure to have a blank Coast Guard Application. In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard offers advance planning, RINEWSTODAY recommends the funeral home and veteran contact the Burial-At-Sea Coordinator at one of the locations listed above.
Now you know how a U.S. Navy or Coast Guard veteran can be buried at sea thru programs provided FREE from their branch of service the veteran served with.
Monday, May 2 2022 900-1100am Italian American War Veterans of the United States (ITAM-RI) Federal Hill Coffee House, ROMA Restaurant , Atwells Ave. Providence RI . Open to all veterans and guest of veterans. The gathering starts off with brick oven Italian toast, followed by Italian pastries and calzones. Veterans Service Officers from the town of Burrillville , Linda D’Andrea Peck and ITAM Service Officer, John A Cianci will be available to assist any veteran or family member with his or her questions on federal and or state veteran benefits. More information, contact ITAM , phone number, 1-401-677-9838 or email@example.com.
Friday, May 19, 2022 Veterans and Family Rhode Island Military Outreach Day at the Rhode Island State House.
The RI House of Representatives has scheduled its Annual Veterans & Military Families Day on May 19th from 2 – 5 inside the Statehouse. Connect with veteran services providers and outreach statewide through the media. Please join us on May 19th and help us make this the most successful Veterans & Military Families Outreach Day so far! If you are a veteran provider or service organization and would like a table at the event, contact Rep. Camille Vella-Wilkinson, 401-952-7340 or firstname.lastname@example.org
May 27- 30, Fort Adams, Friday – Sunday, Boots on The Ground For Heroes Memorial. Open to the public from 8:00-8:00pm, Memorial Day 8:00-6:00pm. Saturday May 28th from 5-6pm Patriotic Concert featuring the 88th Army Band, Rhode Island National Guard.
Marine Corps League Open House second Wednesday of every month from 6 to 8pm. Reserve Center, Narragansett Ave, Cranston. The Department of Rhode Island of the Marine Corps League is looking to add some more ranks. If you are Active Duty, Marine veteran or Navy personnel who served with the Fleet Marine Force and miss the camaraderie, serving your community, enjoying time with those who understand you than this is the organization for you.
The Department of Rhode Island of the Marine Corps League is looking to add some more ﬁre teams to its ranks. If you are Active Duty, Marine veteran or Navy Personnel who served with the Fleet Marine Force and miss the camaraderie, serving your community, enjoying time with those who understand you then this is the organization for you.!
The Marine Corps League was founded in 1923 and chartered by the United States Congress, which occurred in 1937. The mission of the league is to promote the interest and preserve the traditions of the United States Marine Corps; strengthen the fraternity of Marines and their families, serve Marines and Navy personnel who wear or who have worn the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, and foster the ideals of Americanism and patriotic volunteerism!
The league is a national organization with Departments in every state including Hawaii. Each Department has Detachments, the number of detachments vary on the size of the state and the membership in a particular area. Rhode Island currently has three detachments.
The Department of Rhode Island of the Marine Corps League is looking to add some more ﬁre teams to its ranks. If you are Active Duty, Marine veteran or Navy Personnel who served with the Fleet Marine Force and miss the camaraderie, serving your community, enjoying time with those who understand you then this is the organization for you!
AARP offers a free career center for veterans, http://campaigns-aarp-org-stage.targetclose.com/veteran-job-center . The center offers a free course, Veterans Career Advantage, job search tool for companies seeking veteran employees, link to access what a good resume looks like, and other tips for veterans seeking employment.
Applebee’s – Military Discount … With more than 2,000 locations, Applebee’s is a family grill restaurant. Applebee’s gives 10% off for active duty and veteran. Last verified 07/31/2028
Denny’s – Hartford Ave, Johnston offers 10% discount for veterans and active duty . Denny’s is a table service diner-style restaurant chain. Last verified 07/31/2028 (PS I had breakfast there on Saturday).
Outback Steakhouse – 10% Discount to active and veterans. Last verified 07/28/2021
99 Restaurant & Pub – The 99 Restaurant & Pub offers a 10% military discount to members of Veterans Advantage. Available at select locations only. Bring valid military ID
Advance Auto Parts – 10% for Active Duty, Veterans, and families. Last verified 07/28/2021
Bass Pro Shops – Offers a 5% discount to active-duty military, reservists, and National Guard. Sign up and verify your status online or bring your military ID when you shop at your nearest Bass Pro store (source).
BJs Wholesale – Reduced membership fee. BJ’s offers all military personnel over 25% off their Membership. Last verified 07/28/2021
Lowes – Enroll in the Lowe’s Military Discount Program to activate your 10% discount. “Our way of saying Thank You” to our active duty, retired and military veterans and their spouses with a 10% discount on eligible items. Verification of your military status is fast and easy through our partner, ID.me.
ID.me is our trusted technology partner in helping to keep your personal information safe.
GameStop – is offering a 10% in-store military discount on all pre-owned products, collectibles, and select new products. Available to current and former military members who bring any valid proof of service or when they verify through ID.me
Home Depot – Offers a 10% off military discount on regularly priced merchandise for in-store purchases for active duty, retired military, and reservists at participating locations. Customers are required to show a valid government-issued military ID card to redeem this offer.
Kohls – 15% discount offers for active military, veterans, retirees, and their immediate family members a 15% discount on purchases made on Mondays, in store only. In order to receive the military discount, eligible customers must present proper identification along with any tender type.
Jiffy Lube – HONORING VETERANS ALL DAY EVERY DAY! We didn’t want to wait for Veteran’s Day to express our appreciation and gratitude for your service. That’s why every Team Car Care owned and operated Jiffy Lube® service center is offering our BEST discount of 15% OFF as a “Thank You” to the men and women of our Armed Forces for their service to our country. *Disclaimer*- I.D. required. No coupon is required. Excludes batteries and brakes, alignment, and diagnostic services. Available only at select locations listed below:
Tiogue Ave, Coventry RI
Bald Hill Road, Warwick RI
Park Ave, Cranston RI
Michaels – offers a 15% off military discount on the entire in-store purchase including sale items for active duty, retired military, guard, reservists, veterans, and family members. How to get –
1. Create an Account. Log in or create a Michaels Rewards account.
2. Get Verified. Provide your military information to get verified instantly.
3. Go Shopping! To use your discount online and in store, just sign into your account or provide your Michaels Rewards phone number at checkout.
O’Reilly Auto Parts – 10% discount on in store items for Active Duty, Veterans and families. Last verified 3/4/21.
If you are a retailer and or a veteran aware of a business not listed above, please forward ,email@example.com: the business’s name , location, and military and veteran discount offered.
If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci, firstname.lastname@example.org, ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838)
To read all columns in this series go to: https://rinewstoday.com/john-a-cianci/
John A. Cianci is a Veteran Service Officer. Retired, U.S. Army MSgt., Persian Gulf War and Iraq War combat theater.
Cianci, a combat disabled Veteran, served in Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct, and others.
Cianci belongs to numerous veterans organizations – Italian American War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, United Veterans Council of Rhode Island, and many more organizations. He is an active volunteer assisting veterans to navigate federal and state benefits they have earned. He is Department of Rhode Island Department Commander Italian American War Veterans and Veteran Service Officer.
He is a graduate of Roger Williams University (BS Finance), UCONN business school* (Entrepreneur Bootcamp For Veterans), Solar Energy International Residential, Commercial and Battery Based Photovoltaic Systems certificate programs, numerous certificates from the Department of Defense renewable energy programs, including graduate of the Solar Ready Vets Program.