Proposed rule change would bar training accident deaths from Arlington burial

Julia LeDoux
September 21, 2020 - 11:06 am

Arlington National Cemetery

The public is being asked to weigh in on proposed changes that would restrict interments at Arlington National Cemetery. 

The Sept. 15 edition of the Federal Register states that “service members who die on active duty, but neither as the result of armed conflict service nor from preparations or operations related to combat, both defined in § 553.1, are no longer eligible for in-ground interment or above-ground inurnment at Arlington National Cemetery."

Arlington National Cemetery considers new burial rules

“We are asking our veterans, families, stakeholders and the public to review our website information, read the Federal Register and engage in this deliberate process. All of us have a voice into the future of Arlington National Cemetery,” said ANC Superintendent Charles “Ray” Alexander Jr., in a statement. 

Most veterans no longer eligible for in-ground interment at ANC will remain eligible for above-ground inurnment, according to the Federal Register.

Executive Director of Army National Military Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery Karen Durham-Aguilera said in a release that ANC began the process when the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act directed the Secretary of the Army to establish revised eligibility criteria to keep Arlington open well into the future. 

“The Secretary of the Army established imperatives to recognize the individual’s sacrifice, service and impact to the nation’s security,” she said. “The proposed eligibility criteria honors commitment to military service and is equitable across branches and eras of service.” 

In addition to preserving 1,000 gravesites for current and future Medal of Honor recipients, the proposed revised eligibility criteria are as follows:

For below-ground interment:

  • Killed in action, to include repatriated remains of service members
  • Award recipients of the Silver Star and above who also served in combat
  • Recipients of the Purple Heart
  • Combat-related service deaths while conducting uniquely military activities
  • Former prisoners of war
  • Presidents and vice presidents of the United States
  • Veterans with combat service who also served out of uniform as a government official and made significant contributions to the nation's security at the highest levels of public service.

For above-ground inurnment:

  • World War II-era veterans, to include legislated active duty designees
  • Retirees from the armed forces who are eligible to receive retired pay but are not otherwise eligible for interment
  • Veterans who have served a minimum of two years on active duty and who have served in combat
  • Veterans without combat service who also served out of uniform as a government official and made significant contributions to the nation’s security at the highest levels of public service.

ANC is expected to run out of space for new burials in 25 years, but with an expansion, its life could be extended to 2055.

The public comment period ends on Nov.16. To make an official public comment visit here.

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