When requested in writing and/or by telegram, cremation is authorized subject to compliance with civil regulations. No overt action by naval authorities should be made to encourage the NOK to elect cremation. Cremation will not be permitted if any question exists concerning an individuals legal right to direct disposition of the remains. Refer to BUMEDINST 5360.1.
Any CO who receives a request for at sea disposition of remains or cremains will forward the request to the appropriate fleet commander in chief (CINC) and to the OMA of the area where the requested port of embarkation is located. Cognizant CINCs are authorized to designate activities to accept remains or cremains on a not to interfere basis. The OMA will coordinate the arrangements. Upon receipt of authorization, the date of committal or dispersion will be determined by the availability of resources. Except under unusual circumstances, civilian personnel will not be authorized to attend services aboard naval ships at sea or aboard naval aircraft. Exceptions that cannot be resolved at the delegated authority level will be referred to the CNO for final determination. Refer to BUMEDINST 5360.1 for eligibility and specifics.
When the mortician is unable to arrest the odor of remains, they will not be accepted for burial at sea. The odor generated from such remains will detract from the dignity of the ceremony and will have a detrimental effect on the officers and men of the vessel. Cremated putrified remains (cremains) may be accepted.
Since civilians are not normally allowed to attend ceremonies aboard naval ships or aircrafts, photographs, a letter describing the ceremonies, and the flag will be provided to the NOK in accordance with BUMEDINST 5360.1.
The activity arranging transportation has the responsibility to provide expeditious transportation and a confirmed schedule as soon as possible by whatever methods meet the requirements. Consideration should be given to any special desires of the NOK, including releasing the remains for transportation that they may wish to provide.
Remains may only be consigned to a funeral director, the director or superintendent of a national cemetery, or the consignee designated by the COMNAVMEDCOM for unclaimed remains. In addition to the above consignees, cremains may be consigned to the PNOK or person designated by the PNOK.
Government air is not authorized within CONUS without approval of the CNO (OP-414). If it is felt circumstances dictate government air, the COMNAVMEDCOM should be contacted for guidance and assistance. Commercial Air Commercial air may be supplemented by either rail or funeral coach transportation. An escort must travel with the remains. If delays en route or changes in schedule occur, the escort must notify the installation arranging the transportation and the consignee.
Chartered air taxi service may be authorized when commercial air is not available to the destination and the use of a funeral vehicle or rail would cause undue delay.
This method may be used:
1. For transfer of the remains from the place of preparation to another funeral home, to a local cemetery, or to a common carrier terminal
2. If common carrier service is not available