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Wednesday, December 30, 2015
New York Army National Guard Soldiers provide military funeral services for World War II veteran Leo P. Dean on Dec. 17, in Waterford, ( PHOTO CONTRIBUTED / Master Sgt. Raymond Drumsta)


LATHAM -- New York Army and Air National Guard honor guards conducted military funerals for 10,692 families across New York as of Dec. 21, and expected to perform about 218 more military funerals-more than 10,900--before 2016 begins.

The bulk of the military funerals -- 8,725 -- were performed by the New York Army National Guard's eight area honor guard teams. The Army National Guard has 35 Soldiers serving full time on funeral honors details, with another 107 Soldiers who support the program on a part-time basis.

New York Army National Guard Soldiers go through a week-long training process to become fully certified in providing military funerals.

Members of the New York Air National Guard's 106th Rescue Wing fire a 
salute during a military funeral at Calverton National Cemetery on April 10. 
(PHOTO CONTRIBUTED / Staff Sgt. Christopher Muncy)
The New York Air National Guard's six Base Honor Guard Teams provided military funeral honors for the families of 1,967 Air Force veterans.

New York Air National Guard honor guard details are provided by the 106th Rescue Wing at F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach; the 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh; the 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia; 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse; the 107th Airlift Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station in Niagara Falls; and the Eastern Air Defense Sector at Griffiss Technology Park in Rome.

National Guard Airman who volunteer to participate in honor guards as an additional duty also got through a training process.

In 2014 New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen conducted military funerals for 11,365 families.

The New York Army National Guard provided services at 9,567 funerals in 2014, while the New York Air National Guard conducted military funerals on 1,798 occasions in 2014.

The number of military funerals provided by the New York Army National Guard declined due to reductions in funding, according to Peter Moran, military funeral honors coordinator for New York.

The New York honor guard passed 656 requests for funeral honors to the Active Army at Fort Drum and Fort Dix when personnel were not available to handle those funerals, he said. Additional funds have been provided for 2016, so the honor guard will be able to take more funerals, Moran said.

Since 2000, federal law has mandated that any military veteran who did not receive a dishonorable discharge from the armed forces is eligible for military honors at his or her funeral. The ceremony must include the folding and presenting of the flag of the United States to the veteran's survivors and the playing of Taps.

The size of the detail varies from a minimum of two service members to nine or more personnel for deceased service members who retired from the military after a full career or were awarded medals for valor. At least one of the honor guard members must belong to the service the deceased service member had served in.

The regional breakdown for New York Army National Guard funerals in 2015 is:
  • Long Island- 3,317
  • New York City- 1,464
  • Buffalo-990
  • Rochester -776
  • Albany- 596
  • Syracuse-592
  • Kingston- 517
  • Horseheads-473
The regional breakdown for Air National Guard honor guard funerals is:
  • 105th Airlift Wing ( Hudson Valley)- 222
  • 106th Rescue Wing (Long Island)- 722
  • 107th Airlift Wing ( Buffalo/Niagara)- 417
  • 109th Airlift Wing ( Albany/Schenectady)-276
  • 174th Attack Wing (Syracuse)- 277
  • Eastern Air Defense Sector ( Utica/Rome)-53

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