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 Naval Air Station is the home of the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Team, "THE BLUE ANGELS" and their practices during the show season can be observed from the cemetery during the week.
Military Funeral Honors
Arrangements for military honors are the responsibility of the funeral director or the family. The Barrancas Cemetery staff will provide the contact telephone numbers upon request.
Local Military and Chaplain Telephone Numbers:
US Air Force - (850) 882-2156 - Chaplain and honors
US Army - (334) 255-9081 or 9311 - Chaplain and honors
US Marine Corps - (866) 826-3628 for honors - (850) 452-2341 for Chaplain
US Navy - (904) 452-1536 or (904) 452-9807 for honors - (850) 452-2341 for Chaplain
US Coast Guard - (251) 441-6014 or (305) 335-4591 for honors - (850) 452-2341 for Chaplain
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Barrancas National Cemetery is located within the boundaries of the U.S. Naval Air Station, eight miles southwest of downtown Pensacola, Fla. The Pensacola Naval Air Station is home to the U.S. Naval Air Training Command and encompasses almost 12,000 acres. It was established in 1914 on the site of the old U.S. Navy Yard at Pensacola. A small cemetery had been maintained here in conjunction with the Marine Hospital that was located near Fort Barrancas. In 1838, the cemetery was expanded and established as a naval cemetery. During the Civil War years, many casualties were interred in gravesites initially set aside for personnel on duty at the Navy Yard.
Following the election of President Abraham Lincoln in 1861, Florida seceded from the Union despite its entry only 16 years before. As it provided the best harbor along the Gulf of Mexico, possession of Pensacola Bay was a key mission for both the Union and Confederate forces. The Army guarded the entrance to Pensacola Bay with three fortifications: Fort McRae and Fort Barrancas on the land side, and Fort Pickens at the western tip of Santa Rosa Island. Army Lieutenant Adam J. Slemmer, commander of the 1st U.S. Artillery at Fort Barrancas, realized that if war proved inevitable and Southern forces attacked, his small force of 51 men could not possibly defend all four garrisons. On Jan. 10, 1861, the same day Florida seceded from the Union, Slemmer spiked the guns at Fort Barrancas, blew up ammunition at Fort McRae and concentrated all his troops at Fort Pickens, which he believed was the key to the defense of Pensacola Harbor. Two days later, Slemmer’s men watched as Southern soldiers moved into the other forts across the channel. When, on Jan. 15, soldiers from Florida and Alabama demanded the surrender of Fort Pickens, Lieutenant Slemmer refused. Within days the two sides reached a truce in which the South agreed not to attack Fort Pickens and the North would not reinforce the fort.
By the time Lincoln took office in March, both Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, S.C., and Fort Pickens needed supplies. Lincoln had pledged to continue federal occupation of both forts. If he withdrew the garrisons it would mean he recognized the legitimacy of the Confederacy; if he supplied the forts he risked war. The Union eventually did send ships from Fort Monroe but, under the terms of the truce, they dared not land. For 10 weeks, the Union ships waited, while inside the fort Slemmer and his men prepared for the inevitable strike. After ten weeks without an attack, Slemmer and his men learned of the firing on Fort Sumter and the beginning of the Civil War.
On the mainland, the Navy Yard was surrendered intact to Confederate forces on April 12, 1861, but Fort Pickens remained under control of the Union forces throughout the Civil War. For the next year, Confederate and Union forces engaged in a number of skirmishes. In May 1862, Confederate forces abandoned the Navy yard, Fort Barrancas, and Fort McRae. The continuing presence of a strong federal force at Fort Pickens no doubt was a significant factor in the Confederate decision to abandon the Pensacola Bay area.
Many Union and Confederate dead were interred in the Barrancas cemetery. As the war continued, the remains of other casualties were brought here for burial. By agreement between the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of War, on Jan. 30, 1868, the cemetery was transferred to the War Department to become Barrancas National Cemetery.
In 1869, Gen. Lorenzo Thomas, inspector of national cemeteries, reported that about 1,310 burials had been made in the cemetery. In addition to the troops stationed at Forts Barrancas and Pickens, remains had been reinterred here from the surrounding area, including Santa Rosa Island and Apalachicola in Franklin County. This total included the remains of 673 unknown Union soldiers.
In 1944, 1950, 1986, and 1990 additional acreage was transferred from the Naval Air Station to expand the cemetery.
Monuments and Memorials
Barrancas National Cemetery contains a monument honoring those who died from yellow fever. It was erected in 1884 by the Marine Guard of the Navy Yard in memory of eight comrades who died in an epidemic during late August and early September 1883. The names of the fever victims are inscribed on the four faces of the monuments.
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Medal of Honor Recipients
Commander (then Lieutenant), Clyde E. Lassen, (Vietnam) U.S. Navy, Helicopter Support Squadron 7, Detachment 104. Republic of Vietnam June 19, 1968, (Section 38, Grave 113).
Major (then Capt.), Stephen W. Pless, (Vietnam) U.S. Marine Corps, VMD-6, Mag-36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Quang Nai, Republic of Vietnam, August 19, 1967 (Section 21, Grave 929-A).
Staff Sergeant Clifford Chester Sims, (Vietnam) U.S. Army, Company D, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. Near Hue, Republic of Vietnam, February 21, 1968 (Section 29, Grave 546).
"GA-AH," the wife of Apache Indian Geronimo died of Bright's disease on September 28, 1887, while being held prisoner at Fort Pickens (Section 18, Grave 1496).
Seven of the fourteen crewmembers of the C-130 Hercules Gun-Ship shot down during the Persian Gulf War are buried alongside each other in Section 38.
Two aircrew members, who were in direct support of Somalia, died when their USAF C-130 "JOCKEY 14" Hercules aircraft crashed during takeoff from the coast of Kenya. The are interred next to each other in Section 38.
Seventeen casualities of the 2nd Seminole War from Ft. Myers were reinterred in Section 3 in 1996.
Two local airmen killed by terrorists at the Saudi Arabia U.S. Housing Compound in Dhahran, June 25, 1996, are buried in Section 40, Graves 81 & 82.
The remains of three repatriated aviators from Vietnam are interred in Section 38 and 41.
Ten British aviators killed during training at a naval air station during World War II are buried in Section 23, Graves 1923, 1931, 1955, 1956, 1972, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998 & 1999.
Sections 1 thru 12 contain the remains of Civil War casualties and include:
White Union Soldiers -- known: 379, unknown: 271
U.S. Colored Troops -- known: 154, unknown: 98
Citizens -- known: 21, unknown: 47
Confederate Soldiers -- known: 60, unknown: 12
Officers and Sailors of the U.S. Navy -- known:112, unknown: 225
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Cemetery policies are conspicuously posted and readily visible to the public.
Floral arrangements (limit of three) accompanying the casket or urn at the time of burial will be placed on the completed grave. Natural cut flowers may be placed on graves at any time of the year. They will be removed when they become unsightly or when it becomes necessary to facilitate cemetery operations such as mowing.
Artificial flowers will be permitted on graves only during the period from Nov. 10 through March 1.
Potted plants will be permitted on graves only during the period extending 10 days before through 10 days after Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Christmas.
Christmas wreaths, grave blankets and other seasonal adornments may be placed on graves from Dec. 15 through Jan. 10. They may not be secured to headstones or markers.
Permanent plantings, statues, vigil lights, breakable objects and similar items are not permitted on the graves. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not permit adornments that are considered offensive, inconsistent with the dignity of the cemetery or considered hazardous to cemetery personnel. For example, items incorporating beads or wires may become entangled in mowers or other equipment and cause injury.
Permanent items removed from graves will be placed in an inconspicuous holding area for one month prior to disposal. Decorative items removed from graves remain the property of the donor but are under the custodianship of the cemetery. If not retrieved by the donor, they are then governed by the rules for disposal of federal property.
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