National Cemetery Administration
Fort Snelling National Cemetery
Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:25 p.m.
Closed federal holidays except Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
Visitation Hours: April - October (During Daylight Savings Time)
Open Monday thru Friday - 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Open Saturday, Sunday and federal holidays - 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
October - April
Open Monday thru Friday - 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Open Saturday, Sunday and federal holidays - 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
This cemetery has space available to accommodate casketed and cremated remains.
The cemetery is located south of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport on 34th Avenue. From the airport, take Highway 5 West toward Highway 494 west. Take the exit ramp for 34th Avenue and turn right at the stop light. Cemetery main entrance is the first gate on the right.
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.
Fort Snelling National Cemetery is the home of the first all-volunteer Memorial Rifle Squad (MRS) in the National Cemetery Administration. Upon request, the MRS will perform funeral honors daily for as many as 17 Veterans between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (No services are scheduled on Saturday, Sunday or Federal Holidays). Each funeral honor ceremony includes a color guard, a rifle volley, the folding and presentation of the flag, and a live bugler playing "Taps". The MRS normally fields 21+ volunteer members for each service. MRS personnel are all Veterans and members of a local Veteran Service Organizations. As of October, 2014, they have rendered the final salute for more than 66,500+ Veterans. The MRS has never missed a scheduled service during their existence because of inclement Minnesota weather. MRS funeral honor ceremonies are provided at no cost to the family and can be arranged by the funeral director and/or the family through the National Cemetery Scheduling Office, (800) 535-1117. For additional information, please contact the cemetery office at (612) 726-1127.
Military Funeral Honors
Upon request, military funeral honors can be provided by the Department of Defense. At a minimum, the Department of Defense military funeral honors ceremony consists of a two-person uniformed detail folding and presenting the flag and the playing of “Taps”. Taps is played by a ceremonial bugle, or electronic recording (CD or tape) if a live bugler is unavailable. Arrangements for military funeral honors are the responsibility of the funeral director and/or the family. After confirming your service time with the National Cemetery Scheduling Office, (800) 535-1117, please schedule military funeral honors by contacting the following: Department of Defense Honors – (877) 645-4667.
Cemetery policies are conspicuously posted and readily visible to the public.
Floral arrangements accompanying the casket or urn at the time of burial will be placed on the completed grave. Artificial flowers may be placed on graves at the end of the mowing season on October 1 and must be removed when the mowing season resumes on April 1. They will be removed when they become faded and unsightly.
Christmas wreaths or grave blankets may be placed on graves starting Nov. 1 and will be removed starting Jan. 20 of each year, weather permitting. Grave floral blankets may not be larger in size than two by three feet. They may not be secured to headstones or markers.
Permanent plantings, statues, vigil lights, breakable objects, pinwheels, balloons, toys and stuffed animals and similar commemorative items are not permitted on the graves at any time. Unauthorized items removed from gravesites that appear to be of significant value will be held for 30 days and may be reclaimed during this time. Notify the Visitors Center if reclaim is desired of an item that may have been held for 30 days.
Please be aware that small American flags are not considered to be floral items and will be removed from gravesites except during the period of 10 days before to 10 days after Memorial Day.
Floral items should be placed at the side of headstones in line with the headstone row. This allows for equipment operations and prevents damage to floral items. Floral items should not be secured to headstones or markers.
Your cooperation and assistance in helping us to maintain this facility as a national shrine is sincerely appreciated.
VA regulations 38 CFR 1.218 prohibit the carrying of firearms (either openly or concealed), explosives or other dangerous or deadly weapons while on VA property, except for official purposes, such as military funeral honors. Possession of firearms on any property under the charge and control of VA is prohibited. Offenders may be subject to a fine, removal from the premises, or arrest.
Fort Snelling National Cemetery is located in Minneapolis, Minn. The original Fort Snelling was established in 1805 near the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. However, it was not until 1820 that a permanent post named Fort St. Anthony was constructed under the supervision of Col. Josiah Snelling. Gen. Winfield Scott was so impressed with the conditions at Fort St. Anthony during his first inspection in 1824 that he recommended the installation be renamed Fort Snelling.
Its original purpose was to keep peace on the western frontier, but in 1855 as the frontier moved further west, troops were withdrawn from Fort Snelling. With the outbreak of the Civil War, the fort was reopened and functioned as both an assembly ground and training camp for Minnesota volunteers. It remained open at the end of the Civil War and continued to be used as a training center. In 1947, the Fort Snelling Military Reservation was deactivated as a post, although it continues to function today as the headquarters for the 88th Army Reserve Command.
The Fort Snelling cemetery was established in 1870 to serve as a burial ground for the soldiers who died while stationed at the post. Following World War I, as new legislation expanded the eligibility requirements for burial in a national cemetery, the citizens of St. Paul organized a petition to designate a national cemetery in their area. In 1937, Congress responded with legislation that authorized a portion of land at Fort Snelling Military Reservation for this purpose. Fort Snelling National Cemetery was established in 1939 with the first burial on July 5, of Capt. George H. Mallon, whose acts of heroism at Meuse-Argonne in France were recognized with the Congressional Medal of Honor. Following the dedication of the new cemetery, arrangements were made for the exhumation of the remains of those buried at the older post cemetery and the reinterment of the 680 soldiers who served from 1820-1939 buried in Fort Snelling National Cemetery. The 1930s were also a major boom era for national cemetery growth. Ft. Snelling is one of a dozen or so very large cemeteries conceived between World War I and World War II to serve large veteran populations in some cities.
In May 1960, Fort Snelling Air Force Station transferred 146 acres of land to the national cemetery. One more land transfer of 177 acres followed in 1961, bringing the cemetery to its present size. Because of the frigid winters, about 1,000 graves are dug each fall to be used for winter interments.
Monuments and Memorials
Fort Snelling contains a memorial pathway that is lined with a variety of veteran’s memorials from various organizations. As of Aug. 2006, there are 64 memorials at Fort Snelling National Cemetery — most commemorating soldiers of the 20th-century wars.
Medal of Honor Recipients
Staff Sergeant Robert J. Pruden, (Vietnam), 75th Infantry, U.S. Army. Quang Ngai Province, Republic of Vietnam, Nov. 29, 1969 (Section M, Grave 5710).
Private First Class Richard E. Kraus, (World War II), 8th Amphibious Tractor Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps. Pelelie, Palau Islands, Oct. 5, 1944 (Section DS, Grave 61A).
Private First Class James D. LaBelle, (World War II), 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division, U.S. Marine Corps. Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, March 8, 1945 (Section B-1, Grave 422S).
Captain Arlo Olson, (World War II), 15th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division, U.S. Army. Crossing of the Volturno River, Italy, Aug. 31, 1944 (Section C-24, Grave 13787).
Machinist Mate First Class Oscar F. Nelson, U.S. Navy. On board the USS Bennington, July 21, 1905 (Section DS, Grave 64-N).
Captain George H. Mallon, (World War I), 132rd Infantry, 33rd Division, U.S. Army. Bois-de-Forges, France, Sept. 26, 1918 (Section DS, Grave 1-S).
Captain Richard E. Fleming, (World War II), Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron 241, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. June 4 & 5, 1942 (Memorialized in Section F-1).
First Lieutenant Richard Keith Sorenson, (World War II), U.S. Marine Corps, Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, Feb. 1-2, 1944, (Section B, Grave 149-1).
Bruce P. Smith, 1941 Heisman Trophy Winner, (Section O, Grave 1474).
C. Walton Lillehei, pioneer in heart surgery, (Section 6-B, Grave 182).
Calvin C. Stoll, former player and football coach for Minnesota Gophers football team, (Section 7, Grave 1076).
George W. and Bernice M. Janos, parents of former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, (Section Y, Grave 868).
Halsey L. Hall, sportscaster, first to say "Holy Cow" during a radio broadcast, (Section L, Grave 4058).
John Mariucci, hockey coach, University of Minnesota, founder of U.S. Hockey, Member of U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, (Section R, Grave 1569).
George Emerson Leach, Mayor, Minneapolis, MN 1921-1929, (Section DS, Grave 65N).
Lyle E. Norby, former director of Ft. Smith National Cemetery, (Section DS, Grave 63-S).
William D. Napton, former director of Ft. Snelling National Cemetery, 1984-1995, (Section DS, Grave 83-S).