Military Cutbacks Bury Funeral Honors
Posted May 19, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
FAYETTEVILLE — When veterans pass away, surviving family members often expect a military funeral. However, with continuing military cutbacks the formal honors are no longer guaranteed.
Budget decreases prevent the military from conducting full military funerals for everyone.
In Fayetteville Wednesday Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel William Jobson Jr. was honored with a full military funeral.
"You know he gave his life to his ministry and to the military," Military Personnel Officer Ron Mansfield said.
Military downsizing means that there are fewer soldiers to provide funeral honors for old warriors.
"Just physically, financially not possible...in North Carolina," Mansfield said.
Not possible because North Carolina has the seventh highest amount of retirees, and even more veterans.
"There is just no way an installation like Fort Bragg can possibly send a full funeral honor team for every veteran, retiree as well as active duty soldiers," Mansfield said.
So now the Department of the Army has set up guidelines. Two soldiers will attend veteran funerals to present the flag. Full burial honors will be offered to retirees based on the distance of the funeral.
The guidelines have forced Fort Bragg to turn down an average of three funerals a month.
William Jobson, who is the son of the honored soldier buried Wednesday, hopes that he will be provided the same honor as his father.
"You deserve as much of the benefits that anybody else has gotten in the past," Jobson said.
The cutbacks have sparked several complaints not only in North Carolina, but across the country.
Congress is considering two options that would ensure at least three honor guard soldiers at every military funeral.