To schedule a burial: Fax all discharge documentation to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-866-900-6417 and follow-up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117.
The 500-acre national cemetery near Bakersfield, California will serve veterans' needs well into the next century. It is located about 25 miles east of SR 99 near Arvin along SR 223 in Kern County.
In July 2009, VA opened a 20-acre early burial area with temporary facilities (Phase 1A) followed by the completion of a second construction stage of the project (Phase 1B) in May 2011. The 50-acre Phase 1 development will provide approximately 4,800 full-casket gravesites, 4,000 pre-placed crypts, 4,000 in-ground cremation sites, 3,000 columbarium niches, an ossuary and Memorial Wall. Phase 1 consists of roadways, an entrance area, an administration and public information center, a maintenance complex, a flag assembly area, a committal service shelter, as well as interment areas.
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Set in a beautiful, natural landscape, Bakersfield National Cemetery in the White Wolf area of the Tehachapi Mountains is nestled amidst wide-open stretches, mountain vistas and rolling grazing land where both cattle and camels once roamed. Dating to the days of the land grants when California was still part of Mexico, the land has hosted vaqueros and cowboys, as well as the short-lived U.S. Army Camel Corps that was based in nearby Fort Tejon from 1857 to 1863.
The cemetery land was originally part of a Mexican grant that dates to Nov. 24, 1843, when Mexican Governor Manuel Micheltorena gave the land to the original owners, Jose Antonio Aguirre and Ignacio del Valle. They called the property Rancho el Tejon.
In the 1850s and 1860s, General Edward Fitzgerald Beale, hero of the Battle of San Pasqual and former superintendent of Indian affairs and surveyor-general of California, purchased Rancho el Tejon and three other land grants and assembled them into what he called the Ranchos el Tejon, now known simply as Tejon Ranch. Rancho el Tejon was the largest of the four land grants. The White Wolf area, where the cemetery is located, was historically used for grazing and that practice continues today. It was so named because of the packs of white wolves that roamed the area. The vaqueros reported seeing them as late as 1875.
Through the National Cemetery Expansion Act of 2003, Congress authorized the addition of six new national cemeteries, including one in the Bakersfield area. The Tejon Ranch Company, which owns the largest contiguous tract of private property in California—between Los Angeles and Bakersfield—quickly offered to donate land for use as a cemetery. It offered a choice of several locations in the White Wolf area and the National Cemetery Administration chose the 500-acre site located just south of Highway 58 and west of Highway 223. The cemetery is surrounded by the 422-square-mile Tejon Ranch.
The final transfer of land took place in 2008. The first interment of cremated remains occurred on July 1, 2009, and the first casketed interment the following day.
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Charles Napier, a veteran character actor of both TV and film, his granite jaw and toothy grin often earned him roles as tough-guys and heavies. By the time Napier found his niche, he had been a high school art teacher, parking lot attendant, typist and truck driver. Born April 12, 1936, in Mount Union, Ky., he served in the Army before earning a bachelor's degree in art in 1961 from what is now Western Kentucky University. He died at the age of 75 and was interred at the Bakersfield National Cemetery on Oct 13, 2011; Section A, Row D, Site 13.
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Fresh cut flowers are welcomed and encouraged to be placed on graves all year round. Once the blooms are spent they will be removed. Temporary flower containers are available in designated bins.
Artificial flowers may be placed on graves only during the period of April 1 thru Nov. 15. Due to ground maintenance requirements and cemetery operations, placement should not be considered permanent. All items will be picked up and disposed of immediately, on the first and third Tuesday of each month to facilitate grounds maintenance.
Permanent plantings of any kind are not permitted on graves. Potted plants are only allowed one week prior to and one week after Easter and Memorial Day.
Christmas wreaths, potted plants and floral grave blankets are permitted on graves from Dec. 15 through Jan. 15. Arrangements may not be more than 24” high. Cemetery trees, shrubs and/or any other plants may not be decorated with any ornaments of any kind at any time.
To preserve the dignity of the cemetery, items placed on graves must be floral in nature. Commemorative items, balloons, pinwheels, glass items, votive or vigil lights, candles, statues, shepherd’s hooks and stuffed animals are not allowed. Any item that violates the intent of the floral regulations, compromises the dignity of the cemetery, or is a threat to safety will be removed.
No item or object may be attached to the headstone, marker or niche cover. No item may stand taller than the headstone. Headstones are federal property, altering or marking by paint, marker, lipstick or any other means is considered vandalism and may be subject to penalty as defined in Title 38 U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Sec. 1.218 Security and law enforcement at VA facilities.
Metal and/or plastic vases are provided by the cemetery. They are federal property and are not allowed to be removed from the cemetery. Glass vases are not permitted on graves at any time.
Bakersfield National Cemetery assumes no responsibility for items left on gravesites. Due to the open nature of the grounds, we cannot guarantee against theft, vandalism or the effects of nature.
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