WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today introduced legislation to ensure that Memorial Rifle Squads can keep their preferred ceremonial rifles for use in military burials. The bill comes after the U.S. Army sought to limit the number and type of ceremonial rifles the Fort Snelling Memorial Rifle Squad uses at veterans’ burials. In December, Klobuchar sent an inquiry to the U.S. Army regarding its intentions to remove or replace most of Fort Snelling’s ceremonial rifles. The Army has since reversed its decision. Klobuchar’s legislation is similar to a bill Congressman John Kline introduced in the House of Representatives.
“Memorial Rifle Squads like our squad at Fort Snelling exemplify what makes our country great, dedicating their time and resources to honoring our nation’s heroes,” Klobuchar said.“This legislation will help Memorial Rifle Squads preserve their traditions and continue this important service for years to come.”
“Dedicated Minnesotans on the Fort Snelling Memorial Rifle Squad provide valuable services and bring peace to the families of the fallen, and I am pleased Sen. Klobuchar is joining me in this effort,”said Kline, a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. “I look forward to ensuring our veterans with the American Legion, VFW, and other ceremonial rifle squads can fulfill their mission.”
The Honoring Our Nation’s Outstanding Rifle Squads (HONOR) Act would authorize organizations to keep their current preferred Springfield ceremonial rifles, and would also allow the Secretary of the Army to loan or donate more than 15 excess rifles to eligible organizations to help them meet their ceremonial duties. The bill would also authorize the Secretary to create a rotational loan program to allow organizations with low need for ceremonial rifles to lend them to organizations with high need for ceremonial rifles to fill critical shortages in high-need locations like Fort Snelling.
Memorial Rifle Squads provide military ceremonial burial services at no charge for the families of honorably discharged veterans. Memorial Rifle Squads rely on the Army to provide excess ceremonial rifles and blank ammunition to help them perform these important duties. The Fort Snelling Memorial Rifle Squad is the first and only all-volunteer military rifle squad to serve continuously for over 31 years.