National Cemetery Administration
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed federal holidays except Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
Visitation Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset.
This cemetery has space available to accommodate casketed and cremated remains.
Burial in a national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces who have met a minimum active duty service requirement and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. A Veteran’s spouse, widow or widower, minor dependent children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the Veteran. Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty, or were eligible for retired pay, may also be eligible for burial. For more information visit our eligibility web page.
Cemetery is located in the northeast section of San Antonio. From International Airport, take NE Loop 410. Travel East to Harry Wurzbach Road and then south approximately four miles to the cemetery on your left.
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.
Military Funeral Honors
The Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery Memorial Service Detachment (MSD) is available Monday through Friday to provide military funeral honors for veterans. MSD teams are volunteers. They complement the services provided by the Department of Defense. They ensure that all veterans are provided the rifle salute and taps. All military funeral honors performed by the MSD are provided at no cost to the family. Contact the cemetery office for scheduling information for the MSD.
For educational materials and additional information on this cemetery, please visit the Education section, located below.
Fresh cut flowers are permitted on graves year round. Flowers may be removed to facilitate cemetery operations such as lawn mowing and grounds maintenance.
Flower pick-up dates are posted on “Next Flower Pick-Up” signs posted at cemetery entrances. During flower pick-up dates, all items will be removed from graves and will not be retained. Persons who placed items on graves may recover those items from their loved one’s gravesites prior to the scheduled pick-up dates.
February - no pickup
In order to preserve the dignity of the cemetery, items placed on graves must be floral in nature.
NO GLASS or METAL of any kind is allowed. This includes but not limited to items such as statues, vigil lights, shepherd’s hooks, breakable objects of any nature, and other commemorative items which are not permitted on gravesites. Items NOT PERMITTED on gravesites will be removed.
Fresh cut flowers are permitted on graves year round. Flowers may be removed to facilitate cemetery operations such as lawn mowing and grounds maintenance.
Artificial flowers may be placed on graves but may be removed as soon as they become faded and unsightly or interfere with grounds maintenance operations, particularly during the grass growing season.
All fresh cut and artificial flowers must be in plastic vases - No other containers are allowed. Plastic vases are provided at the cemetery and are located in receptacles throughout the cemetery and should be returned to the receptacles when no longer needed. The Cemetery provides plastic vases and are Federal property and should not be removed from the cemetery. Please limit to two vases per gravesite.
All flowers should be displayed in a manner so as not to completely cover the headstone. Floral items and other types of decorations may not be secured or adhered to headstones, markers or niche covers at any time. If found they will be removed.
Plantings are not permitted at any time. Potted plants are only permitted on gravesites 10 days before and 10 days after Easter.
Christmas wreaths or grave blankets are permitted on graves during the Christmas season from December 1st until January 20th of each year. Grave floral blankets may not be larger than 2 feet by 3 feet. Christmas trees of any kind ARE NOT permitted on the gravesites.
Cemetery trees, shrubs and/or any other plants may not be decorated with any ornaments of any kind at ANY TIME.
Flower Pick-Up is conducted monthly. ALL ITEMS will be picked up and removed from gravesites during flower pickup. Persons who placed items on graves may recover those items from their loved one’s gravesites PRIOR to the scheduled pick-up dates. Flower pick-up dates are posted on several “Next Flower Pick-Up” signs posted at cemetery entrances. The Cemetery Director reserves the right to remove and destroy, without notice, anything left on graves that violates the intent of these policies/regulations, offends the sensibilities of the public, or the dignity of this cemetery, is an eyesore, or threat to the safety of the public or cemetery personnel.
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.
Fort Sam Houston 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. Anyone caught removing items from gravesites not their own will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Questions concerning cemetery floral policy should be directed to cemetery staff at 210-820-3891.
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 Sam Houston National Cemetery is located in San Antonio, Texas, adjoining the Fort Sam Houston Military Post. As early as 1846, the residents of San Antonio attempted to establish a permanent military facility in their town. During the Mexican War, the U.S. Army established a quartermaster depot at San Antonio and a training camp at San Pedro Spring. In 1849, San Antonio was named the headquarters of the U.S. Army, Eighth Military District and the Alamo was leased from the Catholic Church to use as a storage facility.
A formal request for an Army post was made in 1870, but Secretary of War W. W. Belknap opposed it. As a result, funding was delayed until 1875 and construction of the fort on 93 acres donated by the city did not begin until June 1876. In 1885 and 1891, 43 acres and 60 buildings were added, respectively, to what would become the post. In 1890 the military post at San Antonio was re-designated Fort Sam Houston by President Benjamin Harrison. Prominent visitors to the post included Chief Geronimo, who was held there in 1886 before his exile to Florida and Theodore Roosevelt, who stopped with his men at the base to receive provisions before leaving for Cuba in 1898.
By 1917 the installation had been raised to general depot status and was supplying the Mexican frontier, including troops engaged in General John J. Pershing's pursuit of Francisco “Pancho” Villa. In 1940, it was the largest army post in the United States and it served as a major internment center for prisoners of war during World War II. By 1949, Fort Sam Houston had 1,500 buildings on more than 3,300 acres and was the headquarters for the Fourth U.S. Army.
Although the post was established in 1875, the land upon which Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery is located did not become a burial ground until approximately half a century later. Interments of men from the post were made in a portion of the city cemetery until 1867, when the United States acquired the tract by donation from the city government and designated it San Antonio National Cemetery. Even at that early date, the city completely surrounded the new national cemetery and the possibility for expansion was extremely limited. As the years passed, the number of military personnel grew with a corresponding increase in the number of post deaths. This created a need for more burial facilities.
In recognition of this need, in 1924 a portion of the military reservation was set aside to be used as a post cemetery. The first interment was made two years later in 1926. On Aug. 6, 1931, the War Department announced the transfer of 60 acres, including the post cemetery, from the military reservation and designated the tract an addition to San Antonio National Cemetery. It retained this status until 1937 when the War Department formally renamed it Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. Remains from one-time frontier posts in Texas such as Fort Ringgold, Fort Clark, and Fort McIntosh were reinterred in Fort Sam Houston when those facilities closed in 1947.
Monuments and Memorials
Fort Sam Houston features a memorial pathway lined with a variety of memorials, donated by various organizations, that honor America’s veterans. Most commemorate soldiers of the 20th-century wars.
Medal of Honor Recipients
Roy Perez Benavidez, native of Texas, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1955. Benavidez served with the Detachment B-56, 5th Special Forces Group, Airborne, 1st Special Forces during the Vietnam War. On May 2, 1968, MSgt. Benavidez volunteered to assist in the fourth effort to save a twelve-man reconnaissance team stranded west of Loc Ninh. Benavidez jumped from a hovering helicopter and despite his own wounds Benavidez recovered the wounded soldiers and classified documents. Benavides received the Medal of Honor on February 24, 1981. He died November 29, 1998 (Section AI, Grave 553).
Colonel Cecil Hamilton Bolton (World War II), US Army, Company E, 413th and 104th Infantry. Mark River, Holland, Nov. 2, 1944 (Section PC, Grave 22-J).
Staff Sergeant William J. Bordelon (World War II), US Marine Corps, 1st Battalion, 18th Marines, 2nd Marine Division. Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, Nov. 20, 1943 (Section AI, Grave 558).
Santiago J. Erevia was born in Texas in 1946. He enlisted in the Army in 1968 and served for two years. Specialist 4 Erevia was a radio-telephone operator with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. On May 21, 1969, he neutralized four enemy bunkers, saving lives of wounded U.S. soldiers and rescuing his company from a precarious position. He joined the Texas National Guard after his army tour. Although he received the Distinguished Service Cross among other citations, he had been recommended for the Medal of Honor for bravery in 1969. In March 2014, President Barack Obama awarded Erevia and twenty-three other veterans the Medal of Honor--all men who had been overlooked due to cultural prejudice. Erevia died March 22, 2016 (Section AD, Grave 486).
Macario Garcia, native of Mexico, during World War II enlisted in the U.S. Army on November 11, 1942. He served as staff sergeant with Company B, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, until October 8, 1945. On November 27, 1944, near Grosshau, Germany, a wounded Garcia single-handedly destroyed two enemy machinegun emplacements. SSgt. Garcia received the Medal of Honor on August 23, 1945. Garcia worked as a counselor with the Veterans Administration in Houston from 1946 until his death on December 24, 1972 (Section HA, Grave 1).
Platoon Sergeant William George Harrell (World War II), US Marine Corps, 1st Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division. Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, March 3, 1945 (Section W, Grave 3247).
Second Lieutenant Lloyd H. Hughes (World War II), US Army Air Corps, 564th Bomber Squadron, 389th Bomber Group, 9th Air Force. Ploesti Raid, Rumania, Aug. 1, 1943 (Section U, Grave 53).
Fireman First Class Peter Johnson (Spanish-American War), US Navy, On board U.S.S. Vixen on the night of May 28, 1898 (Section F, Grave 442).
Private First Class Milton A. Lee (Vietnam), US Army, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). Near Phu Bai, Thua Thien Province, Republic of Vietnam, April 26, 1968 (Section X, Grave 2475).
First Lieutenant James E. Robinson, Jr. (World War II), US Army, Battery A, 861st Field Artillery Battalion, 63rd Infantry Division. Near Untergriesheim, Germany, April 6, 1945 (Section T, Grave 98).
Texan Cleto Luna Rodriguez enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 24, 1943. He served in Company B, 148th Infantry, 37th Division, during World War II. On February 9, 1945, MSgt. Rodriguez participated in the attack on the Paco Railroad Station in Manila, Philippine Islands. Rodriguez and a comrade worked to disorganize the defense, then he singlehandedly disabled a 20-mm gun. Rodriguez received the Medal of Honor. Rodriguez died December 7, 1990 (Section AI, Site 700).
Colonel Seth Lathrop Weld (Philippine Insurrection), US Army, Company L, 8th US Infantry. La Paz, Leyte, Philippine Islands, Dec. 5, 1906 (Section AH, Grave 189).
Lucian Adams, native of Texas, enlisted in the U.S. Army on February 25, 1943, during World War II. He served in Company I, 30th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division until September 7, 1945. On October 28, 1944, near Saint Die, France, SSgt. Adams was tasked with reopening supply lines. His lone assault on German forces led to the destruction of three enemy machineguns and reopened the supply lines to his isolated battalion. Adams received the Medal of Honor on March 29, 1945. Adams died March 31, 2003 (Site AI, Grave 555).
Louis Richard Rocco, native of New Mexico, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1956. He served with Advisory Team 162 during the Vietnam War. On May 24, 1970, Warrant Officer Rocco volunteered to accompany a medical evacuation team on a rescue mission. Under fire, their helicopter crash landed. Ignoring his own injuries from the landing, Rocco extracted the survivors from the burning wreckage and sustained further injuries. He administered first aid until he lost consciousness from his own injuries. WO Rocco received the Medal of Honor. WO (then SFC) Rocco retired from service in 1978 after 22 years, only to return when army medics were called back to active duty in 1990. CW2 Rocco died October 31, 2002 (Site AI, Grave 549).
Jose M. Lopez, native of Texas, enlisted in the U.S. Army in April 1942, during World War II. Lopez served in Company K, 23nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. In Krinkelt, Belgium, on December 17, 1944, MSgt. Lopez single-handedly held off a German attack allowing his company to withdraw. Lopez received the Medal of Honor on June 18, 1945. As a Medal of Honor recipient, Lopez was removed from combat duty but continued work as a recruiter until retiring in 1973. At the time of his death on May 16, 2005, Lopez was the oldest-surviving Hispanic Medal of Honor recipient (Section AI, Grave 542).
Harry George Armstrong, native of South Dakota, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in October 1918. Pvt. Armstrong served during World War I and left in March 1919 to attend medical school. He graduated from the University of Louisville in 1925 and joined the U.S. Army Medical Reserves. In 1931 he was attached to the Air Corps as a flight surgeon. He established the Aero-Medical Laboratory in 1935, where his aero-medical research improved flight conditions and pilot safety. His research is credited with saving the lives of more than 2,000 aviators. Armstrong was appointed Command Flight Surgeon of the 8th Air Force (1942), named Air Force Surgeon General (1949), and Surgeon General of the U.S. air forces in Europe (1954). He received the Distinguished Service Medal and Legion of Honor, among other commendations. Gen. Armstrong retired from service in 1957 and died in 1983 (Section 2, Grave 419).
Twenty-seven Buffalo Soldiers from the 9th and 10th Cavalry who served during the Indian Wars are interred in Section PE. Their remains were initially buried in the frontier forts where they were assigned, such as Fort Clark, Fort McIntosh, and Fort Ringgold. As these frontier posts were closed, the remains were disinterred and brought to Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
Captain William Randolph, for whom Randolph Air Force Base was named. He died in a plane crash in 1928. (Section Q, Grave 133)
Raymond Hatfield Gardner, better known as "Arizona Bill," enlisted in the U.S. Army on August 16, 1888. He served as a scout during the Indian Wars. Originally from Logansport, Louisiana, Gardner claimed the Comanche kidnapped him when he was a child and later traded him to members of the Sioux Nation. Gardner’s adventures continued with the Pony Express and Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show before his death in 1940. Surrounded by more lore than fact, Gardner’s military service records were belatedly discovered and his remains were reinterred in Sam Houston National Cemetery on Veterans Day 1976 (Section AC, Grave 287-B).
Frank Mariano Tejeda, Jr., dropped out of high school in Texas and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1963. He served during the Vietnam War when he was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. After leaving the Marines in 1967, Tejeda received his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley. Tejeda served the public in the Texas House of Representatives (1977-1987), Texas State Senate (1987-1992) and as a U.S. Congressman (1993-1997).Tejeda died January 30, 1997. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star (Section AI, Grave 554).
Leon Van Autreve was the fourth Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) and the highest ranking enlisted man. Van Autreve first joined the Army in 1941 and served overseas during World War II. After a break in service from 1949-50, he rejoined the Army serving with the 54th Engineer Battalion in Germany. Over the next 23 years, Van Autreve would serve in positions across the United States from Virginia to Alaska, in addition to assignments in Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam. He was selected as the fourth Sergeant Major of the Army (a position created in 1966) in July 1973, a position he filled until June 1975. As the SMA, he sought to increase the standards of the Army’s noncommissioned officer corps and oversaw the development of the Noncommissioned Officer Education System. (Section AI, Grave 546)
Educational content is being developed for this national cemetery. New materials will be posted when the information becomes available. For additional information on the Veterans Legacy Program or the NCA History Program, please visit the web page for the Veterans Legacy Program and the NCA History page. Thank you for your interest in learning about the National Cemetery Administration.