Vets pissed off after gun salutes cut from Air Force funerals

The U.S. Air Force says it can no longer provide the gun salute — an honor earned by everyone who has served our country– during funeral services.

When a military service member is laid to rest, he or she is entitled to the full honor guard ceremony which includes: folding of the U.S. flag, the traditional tune of Taps, and a gun salute.

While other branches of the military will continue this tradition, Air Force officials say lack of funding and personnel are forcing them to discontinue the honor of a gun salute. The gun salute consists of seven service members firing three volleys.

Some vets are blaming it on sequestration in Washington. When KHON2 reached out to two members of Congress from Hawaii, the lawmakers said they would look into the matter to see what can be done.

Meantime, a memo has been sent out to funeral homes across the country saying the Air Force will go from a seven -person detail to a 3-person team . Two of the team members will fold and present the internment flag and one will play Taps.

“To me, without the 21-gun salute, it just does not make it complete a proper military burial,” said veteran Wayne Wakeman — who served in the Air Force and Air National Guard for more than three decades.

According to the KHON report, if volunteers from the other military branches are willing to help, then Air Force veterans can still get a gun salute.

“Once a veteran passes away, it’s for the family. It shows respect for the veteran to pass it on to the family,” Wakeman said. “My family suffered through a lot of the times I was away, when I was deployed, when I was somewhere else. They lived through it so to me, I think they’re the ones that earn it.”

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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