Any person serving on active duty at the time of his or her death is eligible for burial at any open (active) national cemetery.
Military honors for interment in national cemeteries are the responsibility of the members service. Honors for services at Arlington National Cemetery are coordinated by the superintendent of the cemetery with the COMNAVMILPERSCOM or the CMC, as appropriate.
A metal, asphalt, or concrete vault may be procured at the NOKs expense if it is preferred. If the vault is privately procured, the superintendent/director must be notified of the outside dimensions to ensure the proper preparation of the grave. The contractor furnishing the vault must also provide necessary equipment and personnel for placing the vault in the grave prior to the funeral service and for placement of the vault lid after the service.
National cemeteries no longer have facilities for viewing remains and as such, if the NOK desires a viewing prior to interment, the remains must be consigned to a local funeral director.
Unless it can be conclusively proven that extraordinary circumstances exist with respect to the condition of remains, interment in national cemeteries will not be made on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays.
With two exceptions, the COMNAVMEDCOM exercises technical direction of naval plots and cemeteries. Individuals eligible for interment in a national cemetery will not be authorized interment in a naval plot or cemetery.
Exceptional or unusual circumstances will be referred to the COMNAVMEDCOM for a determination.
When remains cannot be individually identified, message reports shall be submitted in accordance with BUMEDINST 5360.1. Departmental action will be taken to designate the collective remains for group interment. Group interments will be made in a national cemetery, within the 50 United States, as close to the midpoint of the two most widely separated homes of records of known deceased individuals involved or as otherwise directed by the program managers. The COMNAVMEDCOM will coordinate with the other services as required.
Unidentified remains will be prepared, wrapped, and placed into the minimum number of caskets possible without overcrowding. Partially segregated but unidentifiable remains will be wrapped separately.
One or more escorts will be provided as long as the number of escorts does not exceed the number of deceased persons.
The PNOK and two blood relatives of each deceased member in a group interment are authorized round trip transportation to the place of interment at government expense.
The ceremonies will be conducted with full military honors and be in accordance with the religious preferences applicable to all denominations represented within the group. Photographs will be provided to the PNOK if desired.
The headstone or headstones will be inscribed with the names of all known deceased personnel.
1. NAVMED P-117, Manual of the Medical Department, Chapter 17
2. NAVPERS 15560, Naval Military Personnel Manual
3. BUMEDINST 5360.1, Decedent Affairs Manual