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Old August 4, 2013, 07:11 PM   #1
alg460
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Funeral Military Salute - 4 Rules do not apply??

Hi all

First post here but long time reader of these forums.

I was at funeral yesterday which included a military salute and I have seen this before but this time I was shocked. There were four uniformed men standing approx 75 feet behind a group of mourners at the grave site. Three of them had rifles and the other a trumpet (The trumpet had a speaker fitted at the end but that not the point of this story - it was playing a recorded taps)

The funeral director announced that there will be a salute so I turned around to watch three rifles being held, parallel to the ground and pointed directly at the 50 or so mourners and the triggers pulled. The manner in which they held these rifles was with their arms sort of stretched out away from their body's at chest level and certainly not sighting it. I thought I must be mistaken or delirious but they then proceeded to do some fancy, robotic looking manipulation of the rifle for five or ten seconds, then worked the bolt to chamber another round , then leveled their rifle, again parallel to the ground, aimed directly at the crowd and pulled the trigger. They repeated this two more times.

Is there anything wrong with this picture? I realize they are firing blanks, but I'm sure these are real rifles capable of firing live rounds with a bullet on the tip and mistakes happen. Maybe I'm wrong about that. I wanted to confront them but because of my nature I let it slide but now my blood is boiling. Nothing negative meant against are hero's here.

Tony

Last edited by alg460; August 4, 2013 at 07:24 PM.
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Old August 4, 2013, 07:27 PM   #2
PoiDog
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I haven't been to that many military funerals, but I have been to a couple of them.

When my father was buried, the salute was aimed at the sky, and they used M-1 Garands. I have the brass from that day.

The other time was my wife's uncle, and Springfields were used, also pointed at the sky.

What you witnessed must be a new thing, and I agree with you about violating the rules. Hopefully it was an isolated incident.
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Old August 4, 2013, 07:34 PM   #3
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What kind of rifles, specifically, were they? The last time I was at a military funeral, the rifles used for the twenty-one gun salute were M1 Garands. Most, if not all, semi-automatic weapons have to be fitted with some sort of blank firing device to allow them to function with blanks so it's entirely possible that the rifles that you saw were modified so that they could not be used with live ammunition.

That being said, even blanks can be dangerous if used at close range as the pressure created by them can be enough to cause injury or death. At the very least, I hope the mourners were a good distance away from the rifles when they were fired. Finally, pointing the rifles parallel to the ground does seem odd. As I recall from the last time I was at a military funeral (and it has been several years ago) the rifles were pointed up at about a 45-degree angle or so when fired and certainly not pointed directly at anyone.
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Old August 4, 2013, 08:07 PM   #4
Mike38
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Aren’t the shooters in a Military Salute usually from a local VFW? I’d be finding out and have a talk with who ever is in charge of that VFW club.

I’ve been to a couple military funerals. Both times the shooters fired at a 90 degree angle from the group, and pointed the weapons way above head height.
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Old August 4, 2013, 08:31 PM   #5
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I've never seen the guns in a military salute aimed at anyone. They are generally aimed upwards at an angle.
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Old August 4, 2013, 08:41 PM   #6
DAVID NANCARROW
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Things have probably changed since I wore the uniform, but I was on funeral detail while on active duty for a time. We used blanks on M16A1's, did not fire anywhere near the direction of the assembly, and did not use blank adapters...there was a whispered command to rack, load, aim, and fire. The rifles were pointed at least 30 degrees from horizontal IIRC.
We were also graded on our performance, both the rifle section and pallbearers by the funeral director and if at a national cemetery by an official.

The only incident was stopping after a funeral at a diner, which unbeknownst to us, was a "no-tie" place. People used to go in there apparently just to have their ties cut off with a huge set of scissors by the wait staff!

The lady looked at us and put the scissors away, probably one of the few times they did that lol.
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Old August 4, 2013, 08:46 PM   #7
Herr Walther
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Every military funeral I have attended or have participated in had the marksmen firing the rifles in the air at approximately a 45° angle. Including my fathers.

I have never seen anyone point or aim a rifle at an attendee or member of the funeral party.
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Old August 4, 2013, 08:46 PM   #8
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We were at a military funeral Friday, 3 M-14's pointed up ~45 degrees, and about 90 degrees away from the family.

Pointing a rifle at anyone, even with blanks, in many states, is assault. I can think of a couple states that may elicit the drawing of weapons or G forbid, return fire.

And by the way, welcome.
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Old August 4, 2013, 08:50 PM   #9
chriscw81
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Re: Funeral Military Salute - 4 Rules do not apply??

I've attended and performed in multiple military funerals, including burying a friend(fellow service member) at sea and I've never seen guns pointed at the attendees.

Last edited by Vanya; August 4, 2013 at 09:04 PM. Reason: remove reference to deleted post.
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Old August 4, 2013, 11:05 PM   #10
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Not quite parallel to the ground, but close to it in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcOcJ6Pr27Q
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Old August 4, 2013, 11:30 PM   #11
Dashunde
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I know nothing about military salutes...but pointing three rifles at a crowd and pulling the triggers a few times doesnt sound like the ideal choice.
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Old August 5, 2013, 06:42 AM   #12
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The rifles should be pointed over the casket, not at the casket.
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Old August 5, 2013, 07:48 AM   #13
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I've been one of the riflemen on more military funeral details than I can shake a stick at. The guideline is that the volleys should be fired over the casket (not at it). The rifles are normally pointed at a 45 degree angle. If they were parallel to the deck then someone seriously needs to check themselves.
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Old August 5, 2013, 07:54 AM   #14
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That is insane. They need to be reported.
I attend many funerals here in my retirement community. The rifles are always pointed in the air at about a 45 degree angle. Not always possible to aim over the casket.
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Old August 5, 2013, 08:00 AM   #15
Dashunde
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Are these rifles typically functional, or are they fitted with something that wont allow a round longer than a blank to be chambered?
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Old August 5, 2013, 09:01 AM   #16
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I don't believe BFA's are used at a funeral salute, thats why the bolt is racked for each round.

Over is correct, someone messed up.
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Old August 5, 2013, 10:37 AM   #17
alg460
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A few posts back someone posted a youtube video. The manner in which the rifles were held, handled and aimed was totally different at this funeral. Had a bullet left one of those rifles (I have no clue what kind of rifles they were) the bullet would have passed directly to the center of the crowd at a height of about 4 feet. Afterwards I asked a couple of people there if they observed what I saw and they agreed but it did not seem a big deal to them and they quickly changed the subject. They are not gun enthusiasts and know nothing of the 4 rules:

All guns are always loaded.
Never let the muzzle cross anything you are not willing to destroy.
Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target and ready to fire.
Be sure of your target and beyond.

The first two were clearly broken. I guess rules 3 and 4 were not broken because we were the target.
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Old August 5, 2013, 10:53 AM   #18
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Doesn't sound right...
The video shows fairly accurate depiction, but seems low.

When stationed at ft hood units were placed on funeral detail for a month at a time and traveled throughout the region to perform funeral ceremonies. We practiced every day during those months... Even using a mock casket. I was never on a firing squad but it was alot like the video... But never ever parallel to the ground. Those were garands in the video. I don't know about any adaptation to them.
We used m16s for ceremonies, but regardless of weapons used, or any adapted weapons.... I am most positive that they were thoroughly inspected throughout and after the process to ensure no live rounds were fired.
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Old August 5, 2013, 04:42 PM   #19
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PolDog
When my father was buried, the salute was aimed at the sky, and they used M-1 Garands.
That was also the drill at my former father-in-law's funeral. No fancy gun handling, just a straightforward salute. Rifles aimed skyward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
What kind of rifles, specifically, were they? The last time I was at a military funeral, the rifles used for the twenty-one gun salute were M1 Garands.
The salute at any military funeral is not a "twenty-one gun" salute. A twenty-one gun salute is rendered only for heads of state, and only by cannon -- not rifles.

http://www.pearlharborsurvivorsonlin...Salute.wps.htm
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Old August 5, 2013, 06:05 PM   #20
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Like everyone else, it seems horribly wrong to me. I've played the bagpipes at dozens of military and LEO funerals. Never seen the M1s or bolt actions pointed anywhere but skyward.


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Old August 5, 2013, 06:42 PM   #21
alg460
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I dont know why there is not a "quote" function on the boards but
Sgt Lumpy wrote:::::::::

Like everyone else, it seems horribly wrong to me. I've played the bagpipes at dozens of military and LEO funerals. Never seen the M1s or bolt actions pointed anywhere but skyward.

Sgt Lumpy

Even though nobody has said so I would assume that some members here are thinking there's a remote possibility that I am making this up. Not so. I have owned guns for over thirty - five years and could not believe what I witnessed. Furthermore I thought that the fact that the trumpet player doing taps was not really playing taps but it was a recording device stuffed down the trumpets mouth, showed things were not what they used to be. Probably not to many left that can play Taps or are interested in learning. As far as safe gun handling by our best, I would think that would never change. I'm stumped by what I seen.
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Old August 5, 2013, 06:48 PM   #22
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Same here, in the air away from the crowd. Must have been boy scouts, no they know gun safety.
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Old August 5, 2013, 06:56 PM   #23
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Quote:
Even though nobody has said so I would assume that some members here are thinking there's a remote possibility that I am making this up. Not so. I have owned guns for over thirty - five years and could not believe what I witnessed. Furthermore I thought that the fact that the trumpet player doing taps was not really playing taps but it was a recording device stuffed down the trumpets mouth, showed things were not what they used to be. Probably not to many left that can play Taps or are interested in learning. As far as safe gun handling by our best, I would think that would never change. I'm stumped by what I seen.
I'm skeptical. But it shouldn't be too hard to find out who the NCO in charge was and give him a proper chewing-out. (not for the fake bugle but for the unsafe rifle handling)
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Old August 5, 2013, 07:45 PM   #24
Dwight55
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I can guarantee that if it were I or any of my Veteran Ass. members, . . . there would have been one butt chewing the likes of which is only given by a Gunny, MSgt, or MCPO.

It would have been privately done, . . . not disturb the funeral goers, . . . but that would have been dealt with then and there.

No call, no reason, no excuse other than some wannabe's trying to impress somebody.

Proper decorum (I have done them for years) is an odd number of shooters (cannot always get 7), . . . firing at roughly a 45 degree angle upwards, . . . and over or in the general direction of the deceased.

Please do the Veteran Orgs a favor, . . . find out who those clowns were, . . . and get them straightened out.

May God bless,
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Old August 6, 2013, 12:33 AM   #25
DaleA
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Quote:
Even though nobody has said so I would assume that some members here are thinking there's a remote possibility that I am making this up.
Well if you feel this might be an issue post the city and the group doing the salute at the funeral.

(And the board does have a quotes button. )

Also, I am not accusing you of anything...just curious.
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