National Cemetery Administration
Three Army Cemeteries Transferred to VA
September 11, 2020
WASHINGTON — The VA's National Cemetery Administration (NCA) today took over operation of three Army cemeteries located in Washington, Oregon and California.
Ft. Worden Post Cemetery in Port Townsend, WA, Ft. Stevens National Cemetery in Hammond, OR, and Benicia Arsenal Post Cemetery in Benicia, CA, were transferred to NCA by the Department of the Army in fulfillment of Executive Order 13781 and the VA's own Agency Reform plan.
"These three cemeteries will all be maintained as national shrines that honor the service and sacrifice of our Veterans," said Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Randy Reeves. "Each of us at the National Cemetery Administration consider this a sacred duty, one which we proudly conduct on behalf of a grateful nation."
Two of the three cemeteries being transferred are open for interments, while one is closed to all but subsequent interments in the gravesites of family members who are already interred there. Ft. Stevens National Cemetery is open to new casket and in-ground cremains interments while Ft Worden Post Cemetery offers only new in-ground cremains interments. Both cemeteries will accommodate subsequent casket interments in existing gravesites. Starting today, the VA's eligibility criteria – which is more expansive than the Army's - will apply to those wishing to be buried in those cemeteries.
Fort Worden was an active Army base guarding the entrance to the Puget Sound from 1902 to 1953, after which the land was converted to a state park and subsequently declared a national historic landmark. The first burial at the post cemetery was in 1902, with over 440 gravesites including U.S. military personnel, civilians, and unknowns now interred there. It will be administered by Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Washington.
Ft. Stevens was established during the Civil War to guard the mouth of the Columbia River. The post cemetery there was established in 1866 and conducted its first interment in 1869. The fort closed as an active post in 1947, with much of the land being converted to a state park. The cemetery contains more than 150 occupied gravesites, including U.S. military personnel, civilians, and unknowns. It will be administered by Willamette National Cemetery located in Portland, Oregon.
Benicia Arsenal was established in in the late 1840s and became the primary arsenal for U.S. forces on the Pacific coast for over a century. The post cemetery contains 212 gravesites including U.S. military personnel, civilians, foreign personnel, foreign military POWs, and unknowns. The arsenal was closed in 1964 and subsequently it and the surrounding facilities, including the cemetery, were placed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Benicia Arsenal-Benicia Barracks Historic District. The cemetery will be administered by Sacramento Valley National Cemetery located in Dixon, California.
Since June 2019 the Army has transferred nine cemeteries to the NCA. Prior to today, Ft. Lawton Post Cemetery in Washington and Ft. Missoula Post Cemetery in Montana were transferred to NCA in June and October 2019, respectively. Ft. Sheridan National Cemetery in Illinois and Ft. Douglas Post Cemetery in Utah were transferred in December 2019, and Vancouver Barracks National Cemetery in Washington was transferred in March 2020. Three more Army cemeteries, Ft. Devens Post Cemetery in Massachusetts, Ft. McClellan Post Cemetery in Alabama and the Enemy Prisoner of War Cemetery located at Ft. McClellan, are scheduled to be transferred later this year.
For more information about Ft. Stevens National Cemetery, contact Willamette National Cemetery at (503) 273-5250. For more information about Ft. Worden Post Cemetery, contact Tahoma National Cemetery at (425) 413-9614. For more information about Benicia Arsenal Post Cemetery, contact Sacramento Valley National Cemetery at (707) 693-2460. For more information about the transfer of other Army Cemeteries, contact NCA Public Affairs at (202) 632-8035. To make burial arrangements at a VA national cemetery, call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at (800) 535-1117.