Yesterday I learned that my Uncle Vern Lange, my father’s only remaining sibling, passed away. Uncle Vern lived in Taylor, Wayne County, Michigan for most of his life, where he served as a fire fighter for the local fire department, retiring at the rank of Captain after 23 years of service.
Additionally, he served for two years in the U.S. Army during the Suez Crisis (1957-1959).
Uncle Vern had made advanced pre-paid arrangements for his funeral, but in doing so, he hadn’t given the funeral home a copy of his discharge papers (called a DD214) from the Army, showing his eligibility for full military funeral honors.
I assisted his granddaughter in trying to obtain that form, but despite two days of phone calls, faxes and emails to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis; the National Archives in Washington, DC; and the Wayne County Court in Michigan, we were unable to obtain the form in time.
please Please PLEASE – if you are a veteran, or if your loved one is a veteran, insure that you have the DD214 on hand before it’s too late so you won’t have to go through what we did. The veteran can order his/her DD214 online through a simple process that starts here.
Once you have the DD214, file a copy with other end-of-life papers such as a will, an advanced directive, and advanced planning funeral arrangements. so that it’s available when you need it.
Rest in peace, Uncle Vern.