National Cemetery Administration
Rock Island National Cemetery
Visitation Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed federal holidays except Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
Instructions for Visitors to access the National Cemetery: The Rock Island National Cemetery is located on a Department of the Army installation. View installation access.
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.
Cemetery is located on the Rock Island Arsenal. From Quad-City Airport, take Interstate 74 North to 7th Avenue exit (last Illinois exit.) Turn left on 7th Avenue to 17th Street, then right to 2nd Avenue and left to Arsenal Bridge.
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.
For information on scheduled burials in our national cemeteries, please go to the Daily Burial Schedule.
All visitors are required to enter the Rock Island Arsenal over the Moline Bridge, which is accessed from 14th Street, Moline, IL.
Military Funeral Honors
Military Funeral Honors may be obtained through the local funeral director and are provided by various veterans' service organizations in any of the Quad-Cities. Organizations such as The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars generally provide the honors at Rock Island National Cemetery.
For educational materials and additional information on this cemetery, please visit the Education section, located below.
All items placed on gravesites will be removed as soon as they become unsightly or when it becomes necessary to facilitate cemetery operations.
A limit of three (3) floral arrangements may be placed on the grave as the conclusion of the committal service.
Fresh cut flowers may be placed on graves at any time of the year. Plastic floral cones are available for use within the cemetery and are located in containers throughout the cemetery.
One (1) small American flag may be placed on the grave and will be removed when it is damaged, faded or tattered and will be disposed of properly.
No objects or items, such as stickers or balloons shall be attached to a grave marker or protrude above the top of the stone or encroach on an adjacent gravesite.
- Artificial flowers will be permitted on graves during the period of October 10 through April 15 and will be removed as soon as they become unsightly.
- Potted plants may be placed on graves 10 days before to 10 days after Easter and Memorial Day.
- Holiday wreaths and grave blankets are permitted on graves during the holiday season beginning on Thanksgiving. All holiday items will be removed starting March 1st.
- Status, vigil lights, breakable objects of any nature and similar commemorative items are not permitted on graves at any time. These will be removed and stored in a holding area for thirty (30) days prior to disposal.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs does not permit adornments that are offensive, inconsistent with the dignity of the cemetery or may be considered hazardous to cemetery personnel.
- Every Wednesday, cemetery personnel inspect each grave for unsightly or unauthorized items.
- Please exercise caution if placing personal, sentimental or valuable items on graves. Rock Island National Cemetery is not responsible for any items placed on gravesites and cannot replace or reimburse items that have been damaged, lost or stolen. All items placed on graves become the property of the United States Government.
Help us maintain the solemn dignity of our Veterans' final resting place at this national shrine.
- The use of the cemetery grounds for any form of sports or recreation to include but not limited to bicycling, jogging, exercise walking, skating, riding snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicle as well as hunting or fishing are not permitted at any time on federal property.
- Picnicking on cemetery grounds is forbidden. Littering the grounds will not be tolerated.
- Do not cut, break or injure trees, shrubs, grass or other plantings.
- It is against National Cemetery regulations to use the cemetery for public gatherings of a partisan nature, or any activities or boisterous actions that could be viewed as demeaning.
- Pets, such as dogs or other animals, leashed or unleashed shall not be brought upon cemetery grounds.
- Service animals, including those that guide the blind, assist the hearing impaired or act as warning systems for the seizure prone, are welcome.
- Please do not sit on headstones or markers.
- Alcohol is not allowed on the grounds, in any building, or the committal shelter.
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.
Rock Island National Cemetery was established within the confines of the U.S. Arsenal located on Rock Island in the Mississippi River near the cities of Davenport, IA, and Moline, IL. In 1863 an area was set aside to bury Union soldiers who died while serving as guards at the large Confederate prison camp established on Rock Island by the U.S. government.
In 1868, the inspector of national cemeteries reported that the Rock Island cemetery contained 136 remains, including seven unknowns and six women and children. He described it as rectangle of 216 feet by 96 feet, enclosed with a "paling fence." At the time, the arsenal's commanding officer, General Thomas Rodman, indicated that the location of the burial area would ultimately conflict with his plans for extending arsenal-complex buildings. He recommended the remains of individuals currently interred at Rock Island be moved to the upper end of the island; the inspector of national cemeteries further suggested that Civil War decedents interred in Oakdale Cemetery in Davenport, IA, be removed to the new site on Rock Island, as well. Subsequent property transfers from the Rock Island Arsenal reservation brought the national cemetery to its present 66.8 acres, 53.3 which are developed.
Today, Rock Island is the final resting place of soldiers who served in the Civil War, as well as the Mexican War, Indian Wars, Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
Rock Island Confederate Cemetery
Between 1863 and 1865, the federal government established a second cemetery of a little more than two acres for the burial of Confederate prisoners of war. Approximately 1,950 soldiers died at the Rock Island Confederate Prison, founded there in 1863. The first POWs, captured during the battles of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge in Tennessee in November 1863, arrived in December. Throughout the war, Confederates were brought to Rock Island from battle areas throughout the South; eventually, more than 12,000 POWs were confined there. Prisoners died from a variety of causes, including exposure to the cold, harsh winters, malnutrition and diseases such as smallpox.
Medal of Honor Recipients
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force that can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Recipients receive the Medal of Honor from the president on behalf of Congress. It was first awarded during the Civil War and eligibility criteria for the Medal of Honor have changed over time.
Recipients buried or memorialized here:
Private First Class Edward J. Moskala (World War II). He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for service in the U.S. Army, Company C, 383rd Infantry, 96th Infantry Division, in recognition of unfaltering courage and concern for comrades' well-being on Kakazu Ridge, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, April 9, 1945. He died that day and is buried in Section E, Site 293.
Private First Class Frank Peter Witek (World War II). He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for service in the U.S. Marine Corps, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, in recognition of gallantry and self-sacrifice during the Battle of Finegayen at Guam, Mariana Islands, August 3, 1944. Witek is buried in Section E, Site 72.
Ralph Anthony Ignatowski was born in Wisconsin in 1926. Private Ignatowski enlisted in the Marine Corps and in 1944, assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines. He fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima where he was captured and tortured March 4–7, 1945. His body was discovered the next day. Ignatowski's death strongly influenced his friend, John Bradley, who was thought to be one of the six Marines photographed raising the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi; his story is told in the book Flags of Our Fathers by Bradley's son. Ignatowski was buried on Iwo Jima temporarily, and in 1949 his remains were reinterred at Rock Island National Cemetery (Section E, Site 309).
American Indian John Junior Willie was born ca. 1920 in Arizona. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942, and Private First Class Willie was recruited as part of the inaugural Code Talker program in the World War II. He was one of twenty-nine Navajos who developed an unbreakable code based on their native language. PFC Willie and the Code Talkers saw action in the Pacific Theater, and Willie was present at the battles of Tarawa and Saipan. The original twenty-nine Code talkers were recognized with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2000, though only nine were still living at the presentation in 2001. Willie's honor was posthumous. He died July 20, 1962, and is buried in Rock Island National Cemetery (Section L, Site 328).
More than half of VA's national cemeteries originated with the Civil War and many are closed to some burials. Other sites were established to serve World War veterans and they continue to expand. Historic themes related with NCA's cemeteries and soldiers' lots vary, but visitors should understand "Why is it here?" NCA began by installing interpretive signs, or waysides, at more than 100 properties to observe the Civil War Sesquicentennial (2011-2015). Please follow the links below to see the interpretive signs for Rock Island National Cemetery.
Visit the Veterans Legacy Program and NCA History Program for additional information. Thank you for your interest.