execute passing honors, ships sound Attention
and all persons in view on deck and not in ranks
render the hand salute.
If no chaplain or clergy is available, the com-
manding officer (CO) or the COs representative
conducts the funeral service of a Navy member.
Six pallbearers and six body bearers escort the
body of a Navy member during a military funeral.
The pallbearers are usually of the same grade or
rating as the deceased. If a sufficient number of
foreign officers of appropriate grade attend the
funeral, they may be invited to serve as additional
Those attending a military funeral may wear
the mourning badge at their discretion. Escorts
for a military funeral wear the mourning badge
as prescribed in the U.S. Navy Uniform
Regulations for their own command.
Boats taking part in a funeral procession
display the national ensign at half-mast. If the
deceased was a flag or general officer; or at the
time of death, a unit commander; or a com-
manding officer of a ship, that officers flag or
command pennant, or a commission pennant, is
draped in mourning. It is then displayed at half-
mast from a staff in the bow of the boat carrying
The casket is covered with the national ensign.
The ensign is placed on the casket so that the
union is at the head and over the left shoulder of
the deceased. The ensign is removed from the
casket before it is lowered into the grave or
committed to the deep.
Persons in the naval service salute when the
body is carried past them, while the body is
being lowered into the grave or committed to the
deep, and during the firing of volleys and the
sounding of Taps.
Three rifle volleys are fired after the body has
been lowered into the grave or committed to the
deep, following which Taps is sounded by the
bugle. In a foreign port, when a ship has not
obtained permission to land an armed escort, the
volleys are fired over the body after it has been
lowered into the boat alongside.
During burial at sea, the ship is stopped, if
possible, and the ensign is displayed at half-mast
from the beginning of the funeral service until
the body has been committed to the deep.
Further display of the ensign at half-mast maybe
prescribed, depending on the circumstances, by
the senior officer present.
Funeral honors are not rendered between
sunset and sunrise. When circumstances require
burial of the dead at night, such funeral services
as are feasible are conducted.
SHIP COMMISSIONING CEREMONY
Although Navy Regulations does not specif-
ically prescribe the ceremony for commissioning
a Navy ship, custom has established a formal and
impressive routine. The crew of the ship being
commissioned assembles and stands in formation,
headed by the division officer or department
heads. Other ships officers assemble facing the
ceremony, usually behind the executive officer.
Distinguished guests and participants in the
ceremony are seated. The first watch and the
officer of the deck (OOD) take their stations on
the quarterdeck. Crew members station them-
selves at the ready, standing by the national
ensign, union jack, and commission pennant or
personal flag halyards.
The officer making the transfer (usually an
officer of flag rank) opens the ceremony by
reading the orders for delivery of the ship to the
U.S. Navy. Attention is sounded by the bugle,
the national anthem is played, and all flags,
including the personal flag of the officer making
the transfer, are hoisted simultaneously. With this
act the ship is officially commissioned.
The officer effecting the transfer delivers the
ship to the new commanding officer by saying,
I hereby deliver the USS [name of ship]." The
new commanding officer reads his or her orders
and states, I hereby assume command of the
USS [name of ship], and orders the executive
officer to set the watch. The executive officer,
in turn, directs the OOD to set the watch, and the
ships boatswain (or chief boatswains mate in
small ships) pipes the watch. The OOD and the
other members of the watch take their assigned