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.
Military Funeral Honors
In addition to the Department of Defense military funeral honors program, "Honoring Those Who Served," the Riverside National Cemetery Memorial Honor Detail (MHD) is generally available Monday through Friday to provide military funeral honors for veterans. MHD teams are strictly volunteers and vary in size and scope, from folding and presenting the flag only, to full honors with a rifle salute and bugler. All military funeral honors performed by the MHD are provided at NO COST to the family. Once a committal service has been scheduled, families and funeral directors can arrange military honors by calling (951) 300-3216.
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Riverside National Cemetery is the third-largest cemetery managed by the National Cemetery Administration, and since 2000 has been the most active in the system based on the number of interments. It was established in 1976 through the transfer of 740 acres from March Air Force Base, which during World War II was called the U.S. Army's Camp William G. Haan. The cemetery was dedicated and opened for burials Nov. 11, 1978. An additional 181 acres was transferred by the Air Force in 2003.
The dramatic, meandering landscape features a central boulevard with memorial circles, lakes, indigenous-styled committal shelters, and a memorial amphitheater.
Monuments and Memorials
Riverside National cemetery is home of the Medal of Honor Memorial and one of four sites recognized as a National Medal of Honor Memorial Site. The Medal of Honor Memorial, whose walls feature the names of all medal recipients, is located at the third traffic circle in the cemetery. It was dedicated in 1999.
The Fallen Soldier/Veterans' Memorial, erected in 2000, is dedicated to all service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. The dramatic bronze structure topped by a lifeless soldier is located near the lake at the entrance to the cemetery.
A carillon was donated by the American Veterans (AMVETS) in 2000.
The Prisoner of War/Missing in Action National Memorial was designated as a national memorial by the U.S. Congress in 2004 through Public Law 108-454. The memorial was dedicated on September 16, 2005. Vietnam veteran Lewis Lee Millett, Jr., sculpted the bronze statue which depicts an American serviceman on his knees with hands bound by his captors. The statue is surrounded by black marble pillars that evoke imprisonment.
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Medal of Honor Recipients
Staff Sergeant Ysmael R. Villegas, (World War II) U.S. Army, Company F, 127th Infantry, 32nd Infantry Division. Villa Verde Trail, Luaon, Philippine Islands, March 20, 1945 (Section 5, Grave 1178).
Commander (then Pharmacist's Mate First Class) John H. Balch, (World War I), U.S. Navy, 6th Regiment, U.S. Marines. Vierzy & Somme-Py, France, July 19, 1918, and Oct. 5, 1918 (Section 2, Grave 1925).
Colonel (then Platoon Sergeant) Mitchell Paige, (World War II and Korea) U.S. Marine Corps, 1st Marine Division, Solomon Islands, Oct. 26, 1942, (Section 20A, Grave 533).
Colonel (then Captain) Lewis L. Millett (World War II, Korea and Vietnam) U.S. Army, Company E, 27th Infantry Regiment, Vicinity of Soam-Ni, Korea, Feb. 7, 1951 (Section 2, Site 1910).
Robert Edward Badham, Lt. j.g., U.S. Navy. U.S. Congressman from California. Served in California assembly, 1963-1976; U.S. House of Representatives 1977-1989. Section 16 Site 914A.
George Baker. Tech Sgt., U.S. Army, World War II. Cartoonist. Baker was a former Disney cartoonist who created the comic strip and comic book character "The Sad Sack,” during World War II. Section 8 Site 3254.
Colonel Aaron Bank, U.S. Army. Founder of the Army’s elite Green Berets. During World War II Bank was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services within the Army’s Special Operations branch. After the war he stayed with the Army, and convinced them to create a permanent Special Forces unit. In 2002, President George W. Bush bestowed Bank with a commendation for creating the techniques used to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan. He died in 2004 at the age of 101. Section 17 Site 421.
Melissa Rose Barnes, Yeoman First Class (YN1), U.S. Navy. Killed during the terrorist attack on the Pentagon, Sept. 11, 2001. Section 56B Site 123.
Lillian Kinkela Keil, Captain, U.S. Air Force. Air Force Flight Nurse Pioneer. She flew on 425 combat missions and took part in 11 major campaigns that included the D-Day invasion and Battle of the Bulge in World War II and the Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korea War. One of the most decorated women in American military history, she was awarded 19 medals, including a European Theater medal with four battle stars, a Korean service medal with seven battle stars, four air medals and a Presidential Citation from the Republic of Korea. Section 20A Site 1235.
John D. McKeel, Jr., Staff Sgt., U.S. Marine Corps. One of the 52 Americans held hostage by Iran from 1979 to 1981. Shot to death while trying to help a woman who was being robbed. Section 43 Site 1528.
Patrick Henry McMahon, Motor Machinist Mate First Class (MOMM1), U.S. Navy. During World War II, McMahon was rescued near the Solomon Islands from the wreckage of patrol boat PT-109 by Lt. John F. Kennedy. The boat had been rammed by a Japanese destroyer on August 2, 1943. Badly injured and burned, McMahon was towed for several miles to safety by the future U.S. president. Section 43 Site 1411.
Seven Tuskegee Airmen are buried at Riverside National Cemetery: 1) Dr. Hackley E. Woodford, M.D., a Tuskegee Airmen flight surgeon who served during World War II, is buried at Section 49A Site 1149. 2) Pilot Perry Willis Lindsey, who served during World War II and the Korean War, is buried at Section 63A Site 768. 3) John Allen Pulliams Jr., served during World War II and went on to serve 30 years in the U.S. Air Force. He retired as a Chief Warrant Officer and is buried at Section 47 Site 1603. 4) Pilot Charles F. Jamerson is buried at Section 56A Site 668. Major Jamerson retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1977 after more than 32 years of service. 5) Pilot Kenneth R. Hawkins is buried in Section 57A Site 2204. 6) Pilot John L. Hamilton is buried in Section 6 Site 270. 7) Charles W. Ledbetter, who served during World II and Korea, retiring after 30 years as an Air Forces Master Sergeant, is buried at Section 26 Site 1426.
Woodrow "Woody" Strode, Section 46, Grave 283. Woody Strode starred as 1st Sergeant Braxton Rutledge, a Buffalo soldier, in the 1960 John Ford movie "Sergeant Rutledge.” He starred in over 80 domestic and foreign films in a career that spanned nearly 55 years. Strode was also one of the first four blacks to integrate Major League football in 1946 when he played for the Cleveland Rams.
Joe Morris, Sr., Section 52A, Grave 2818. Joe Morris Sr., was inducted into the U.S. Marine Corps after lying about his age in April 1944; he was assigned to the 22nd Regiment, 6th Division, where he served as a Navajo code talker. Navajo code talkers took part in every assault the U.S. Marines conducted in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945. They served in all six Marine divisions, Marine Raider battalions and Marine parachute units, transmitting messages by telephone and radio in their native language, a code that the Japanese never broke. The role that code talkers played in World War II was declassified in 1968; however, it was not until the last 20 years that code talkers such as Mr. Morris were recognized for their role in ending the war with Japan.
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Cemetery policies are conspicuously posted and readily visible to the public.
Floral arrangements accompanying the casket or urn at the time of burial are limited to five arrangements and will be placed on the completed grave. They will be removed when they become unsightly or within three days of the burial.
Natural cut flowers may be placed on graves at any time of the year. They will be removed and disposed of when they become unsightly or when it becomes necessary to facilitate cemetery operations. Visitors may contact the office staff to learn when upcoming grounds maintenance activities will require removal of floral tributes. Regular floral removal schedules are posted at the temporary floral vase trees located throughout the cemetery.
Artificial flowers and potted plants are not permitted on graves at any time.
Privately owned, permanent in-ground flower containers are not permitted on gravesites.
The cemetery will provide temporary metal containers to the public for displaying floral arrangements.
When placing floral items, please do not use glass containers, rocks, wire or other objects that could cause injury to cemetery staff or visitors. Mowers and trimmers can cause unseen items to become dangerous projectiles.
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. They will not be sold, collected for sale or recycling, or removed.
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