Families of veterans are often aware of some of the funeral benefits that are available to veterans, including an American flag, burial funds, and military graveside rites. Those who choose to be cremated may not know that their ashes can be scattered at sea free of charge by the United States Navy.
In order to qualify for this service, veterans should be currently serving in a branch of the armed forces or be a retiree. Those who have previously served and received an honorable discharge are also eligible. Dependants of veterans, retirees, or active duty service members can also elect ash scattering at sea. Eligible individuals do not have to be affiliated with the U.S. Navy, as service in any branch of the armed forces will allow them to qualify.
The Navy also provides burial at sea for intact remains. This service has specific guidelines concerning the type of casket required and the shipment of the body. A funeral home near the point of embarkment will receive the body, and the cost of transporting their loved one must be paid for by the next of kin.
The services are conducted by a Navy chaplain on a ship that is deployed at sea. During the ceremony, the burial flag of the deceased will be flown over the ship. Family members are not permitted to attend this ceremony for security reasons; however, they will be notified as to the date, time, and location of the event after it is completed.
The Navy’s Mortuary Affairs Office is responsible for coordinating at-sea burials or ash scatterings. A few ports where ash scattering is provided include naval bases in Honolulu, HI; Jacksonville, FL; San Diego, CA; Norfolk, VA; and Bremerton, WA. Norfolk and San Diego are the only two locations that accept intact remains for burial at sea.
At Heartland Cremation, we know you are proud of your loved one’s service, and want to make that a part of his or her legacy. Contact us to find out more about the benefits that are available to veterans including at-sea burial or ash scattering.