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US soldiers hold ‘modified’ military funerals at Arlington Cemetery

Soldiers are holding modified funeral honors at Arlington National Cemetery so they can continue to honor war heroes during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Guards were seen wearing masks during a military funeral for Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Belch at the cemetery in Virginia on Tuesday. Mourners observed social distancing at the service.

US Army soldiers assigned to the 1st Battalion of the Old Guard or 3rd US Infantry Regiment were responsible for the rendering of honors at the funeral. 

A firing party assigned to 1st Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) fires three volleys as part of modified military funeral honors for U.S. Army Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Robert M. Belch at the Arlington National Cemetery, April 14

A firing party assigned to 1st Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) fires three volleys as part of modified military funeral honors for U.S. Army Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Robert M. Belch at the Arlington National Cemetery, April 14

A firing party assigned to 1st Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) fires three volleys as part of modified military funeral honors for U.S. Army Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Robert M. Belch at the Arlington National Cemetery, April 14

US Army soldiers assigned to the 1st Battalion of the Old Guard or 3rd US Infantry Regiment were responsible for the rendering of honors at the funeral

US Army soldiers assigned to the 1st Battalion of the Old Guard or 3rd US Infantry Regiment were responsible for the rendering of honors at the funeral

US Army soldiers assigned to the 1st Battalion of the Old Guard or 3rd US Infantry Regiment were responsible for the rendering of honors at the funeral

The Old Guard soldiers wore face masks while carrying out the Memorial Affairs mission which is required at all the funerals of the nation's army veterans

The Old Guard soldiers wore face masks while carrying out the Memorial Affairs mission which is required at all the funerals of the nation's army veterans

The Old Guard soldiers wore face masks while carrying out the Memorial Affairs mission which is required at all the funerals of the nation’s army veterans

The Old Guard soldiers wore face masks while carrying out the Memorial Affairs mission which is required at all the funerals of the nation’s army veterans. 

Attendees of the funeral also wore face masks and complied with social distancing rules.  

A soldier assigned to 1st Battalion presented the U.S. flag to Sgt. Maj. Belch’s son, Robert Belch. 

The soldiers were then pictured carrying the casket and draping it in the US flag while wearing the protecting facial coverings.  

The modified funeral proceedings followed the health protection guidance from the Secretary of Defense to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

A soldier assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment presents the U.S. flag to Robert Belch (third from left seated) during the funeral of his father

A soldier assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment presents the U.S. flag to Robert Belch (third from left seated) during the funeral of his father

A soldier assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment presents the U.S. flag to Robert Belch (third from left seated) during the funeral of his father

Soldiers drape the US flag over the casket of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Belch during the funeral on Tuesday

Soldiers drape the US flag over the casket of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Belch during the funeral on Tuesday

Soldiers drape the US flag over the casket of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Belch during the funeral on Tuesday 

The Old Guard soldiers wore face masks while carrying out the Memorial Affairs mission which is required at all the funerals of the nation's army veterans

The Old Guard soldiers wore face masks while carrying out the Memorial Affairs mission which is required at all the funerals of the nation's army veterans

The Old Guard soldiers wore face masks while carrying out the Memorial Affairs mission which is required at all the funerals of the nation’s army veterans

Command Sgt. Maj. Belch served in the army for 26 years, where he was a Combat Engineer with the 42nd Infantry, 142nd Combat Engineer Battalion, Rainbow Division. 

He was among the first 192 soldiers to wear the rank of Sergeant Major when it was created. 

As a decorated World War II veteran, he earned several commendations that included the Legion of Merit. 

US Army soldiers lower the US flag over the casket at the funeral for Command Sgt. Maj. Belch, who served in the army for 26 years

US Army soldiers lower the US flag over the casket at the funeral for Command Sgt. Maj. Belch, who served in the army for 26 years

US Army soldiers lower the US flag over the casket at the funeral for Command Sgt. Maj. Belch, who served in the army for 26 years

He was among the first 192 soldiers to wear the rank of Sergeant Major when it was created

He was among the first 192 soldiers to wear the rank of Sergeant Major when it was created

He was among the first 192 soldiers to wear the rank of Sergeant Major when it was created 

US Army soldiers carry the casket draped in the US flag during the funeral ceremony

US Army soldiers carry the casket draped in the US flag during the funeral ceremony

US Army soldiers carry the casket draped in the US flag during the funeral ceremony 

  

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