Burials at sea explained

Q: I read that Neil Armstrong was buried at sea, and 900 people request burial at sea by the U.S. Navy each year. How much information can you provide on being buried at sea by the U.S. Navy?

—David Hackney, Gainesville

A: Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, was a former U.S. Navy pilot, so he was eligible to be buried at sea by the Navy. He was buried at sea after a ceremony aboard the USS Philippine Sea on Sept. 14. According to public.navy.mil, active duty members of the uniformed services, retirees and veterans who were honorably discharged, U.S. civilian marine personnel of the Military Sealift Command, and independent family members of active duty personnel, retirees and veterans of the uniformed services are eligible. Requests for burial at sea must include a Burial at Sea Request Form, a copy of the death certificate, the burial transit permit or cremation certificate and a copy of the DD Form 214, discharge certificate or retirement order. Five ports — Norfolk, Va.; Jacksonville; San Diego; Bremerton, Wash.; and Honolulu — accept remains to be buried at sea. Family members aren’t allowed to be present because the ceremony is performed while the ship is on deployment. The ship’s commanding officer notifies the family of the date and time, the longitude and latitude of the “final disposition of remains.” For more information, call 1-866-787-0081 or go to www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/support/casualty/mortuary/Pages/BurialAtSea.aspx.

Andy Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).

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