National Cemetery Administration
Fort Snelling National Cemetery
April–October (during Daylight Savings Time):
- Open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- Open weekends and federal holidays from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- Open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Open weekends and federal holidays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:25 p.m.
- Second Wednesday of the month from 12:30 p.m. to 4:25 p.m.
- Last Wednesday of the month from 10:00 a.m. to 4:25 p.m.
- Closed federal holidays except Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
VA will continue its practice of honoring special requests for weekend burials for religious purposes, in cases of service members killed in action and on at least one day of any three-day Federal holiday weekend at all open VA national cemeteries. NCA will assess adding other options and national cemeteries in the future.
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.
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.
For information on scheduled burials in our national cemeteries, please go to the Daily Burial Schedule.
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 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 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 February 2016, they have rendered the final salute for more than 70,000 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
Air Force & Space Force: 701-747-6162
Coast Guard: 314-606-6792
Marine Corps: 866-826-3628
Navy: 360-315-3275 or 360-315-3273
For educational materials and additional information on this cemetery, please visit the Education section, located below.
Fresh cut flowers may be placed on graves at any time of the year. Portable cone containers for flowers can be found throughout the cemetery in stone containers. Flowers will be disposed of by cemetery personnel when they are withered, faded or otherwise unsightly.
Artificial flowers may only be placed on graves from October 1 through April 1 because the wires from artificial flowers have caused damage to the mowing equipment, and pose a safety hazard to workers and visitors during mowing operations. They will be removed when they are faded or unsightly.
Floral items should only be placed at either side of headstones in line with the headstone row. This allows for equipment operations and prevents damage to floral items. Flower items should be placed at the bottom of a column at the Columbarium.
Floral items and other types of decorations will not be secured to headstones, markers, or niches. NO GLASS or METAL of any kind is allowed.
The 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.
Planting of flowers, shrubs, etc. is prohibited. Potted plants are only allowed 10 days before through 10 days after Easter Sunday and Memorial Day.
Christmas wreaths or grave blankets may be placed on graves from November 1st – January 20th. They will be removed after January 20th or when they become withered, faded or otherwise unsightly. Grave floral blankets cannot be larger in size than 2 x 3 feet. They cannot be secured to headstones or markers.
Permanent plantings, statues, vigil lights, breakable objects, pinwheels, balloons, glass, shepherd's hooks, toys and stuffed animals and similar commemorative items are not permitted on the graves at any time.
Small US, POW/MIA, US Armed Forces Branches, and Medal of Honor gravesite flags are authorized.
Pets are not allowed in the National Cemetery. Working, licensed service dogs are permitted at any time.
Sports or recreational activities of any kind are prohibited.
Smoking 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.
Fort Snelling National Cemetery is located in Minneapolis, MN. It is one of seven national cemeteries created between the world wars, 1934–1939, to increase the size of the national cemetery system. It was the first major expansion since the Civil War, to serve a growing veteran population at a time when burial space at existing national cemeteries was depleting rapidly. The new cemetery locations were based on veterans' residence. The other inter world war national cemeteries are Baltimore, Maryland; Fort Bliss and Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Fort Rosecrans and Golden Gate, California; and Long Island, New York.
The federal government established the first frontier post at the junction of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers near present-day Minneapolis in 1805. In 1820, Colonel Josiah Snelling of the 5th U.S. Army Infantry Regiment oversaw the construction of a permanent post here, named Fort Anthony. General Winfield Scott inspected the fort in 1824 and he was so impressed that he recommended its name be changed to that of its commander.
Fort Snelling served as a permanent frontier post until 1855 when it was demoted to a supply depot. The Civil War (1861–1865) prompted an expansion of the fort into a training center for Minnesota volunteers, and after the war it functioned as headquarters and supply base for the Military Department of the Dakota. Soldiers from Fort Snelling served in western wars against Native Americans and in the Spanish American War (1898–1902). Used for training through the world wars, it was deactivated in 1947.
A small post cemetery served the military and civilians at Fort Snelling during the years when it was active. The first recorded burial was in 1826 and by the 1930s it contained several hundred graves. The growing veteran population — primarily from World War I — in the St. Paul-Minneapolis region spurred veterans' groups through the 1930s to petition Congress to establish a new national cemetery — no national cemetery existed in the region. In 1937, the War Department was authorized to allocate 180 acres in the southwest corner of the Fort Snelling Military Reservation for a new cemetery. Of the interwar cemeteries, Ft. Snelling is the only one constructed entirely because of intent to accommodate the Veteran population. It marked a transformation in cemetery construction policy that emphasized convenience as an element of burial privilege. That summer, New Deal Works Progress Administration (WPA) laborers broke ground, to develop 40 acres into burial sections, and to construct a lodge, utility buildings, and massive gates in a stark Stripped Classicism architectural style.
The first interment at Fort Snelling National Cemetery was World War I Captain George H. Mallon, a Medal of Honor recipient, on July 5, 1939 — just a few days before the cemetery was formally dedicated on July 14, 1939. Soon after, 680 remains were removed from the Fort Snelling Post Cemetery and reinterred in Section A, Block 23; of these, 282 are unknowns.
A second phase of cemetery development began in summer 1941, but it was put on hold due to World War II (1941–1945). Work resumed in 1948 and would continue for several decades. The overall cemetery size increased to approximately 436 acres by 1960, of which 137 acres were prepared for interments by 1972. Earthen berms were added along the cemetery's northern border in 1977 to reduce noise from the nearby international airport. Expansion continued in the 21st century to include additional in-ground gravesites and columbaria for cremated remains, as well as committal shelters.
Fort Snelling is one of more than eighty VA national cemeteries that use upright General headstones and flat markers, in separate burial sections. The cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.
Monuments and Memorials
Fort Snelling National Cemetery contains more than seventy-five standard monuments that have been donated by veterans' and patriotic organizations — most honor service in twentieth-century conflicts. The monuments are grouped in three locations: around the flagpole at Wold Circle, the alignment of Mallon Road beginning at the U.S. flagpole, and the culmination of the Assembly Areas along Kraus Avenue.
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:
Captain Richard E. Fleming (World War II). He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for service in the U.S. Marine Corps, Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron 241, in recognition of perseverance and intrepidity in action during the Battle of Midway, June 4–5, 1942. On June 5, Captain Fleming's plane was struck during an approach glide, and he crashed into the sea in flames. He is memorialized in Section F-1, Site 111.
Private First Class Richard E. Kraus (World War II). He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for service in the U.S. Marine Corps, 8th Amphibious Tractor Battalion, in recognition of prompt action and great personal valor that saved the lives of his companions, at the cost of his own, in Pelelie, Palau Islands, October 5, 1944. Kraus is buried in Section DS, Site 61N.
Private First Class James D. LaBelle (World War II). He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for service with the U.S. Marine Corps, 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in recognition of dauntless courage and self-sacrifice that saved the lives of others during the seizure of Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, March 8, 1945. LaBelle is buried in Section B-1, Site 422S.
Captain George H. Mallon (World War I). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, 132rd Infantry, 33rd Division, for actions in the Bois-de-Forges, France, September 26, 1918. Mallon died in 1934 and is buried in Section DS, Site 1-S.
Commander Oscar F. Nelson. He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy on board the USS Bennington for extraordinary heroism when a boiler exploded on the vessel at San Diego, California, July 21, 1905. Nelson died in 1951 and is buried in Section DS, Site 64-N.
Captain Arlo Olson (World War II). He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for service in the U.S. Army, 15th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division, in recognition of actions during the crossing of the Volturno River, Italy, October 13, 1943. Captain Olson led the advance for thirteen days that October and reached the summit of Monte San Nicola, where he was mortally wounded. He died October 28, 1943, and is buried in Section C-24, Site 13787.
Staff Sergeant Robert J. Pruden (Vietnam). He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for service in the U.S. Army, Company G, 75th Infantry, in recognition of selfless concern for the welfare of his men and intrepidity in action at the cost of his life in the Quang Ngai Province, Republic of Vietnam, November 29, 1969. Pruden is buried in Section M, Site 5710.
Second Lieutenant Donald E. Rudolph, Sr. (World War II). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company E, 20th Infantry, 6th Infantry Battalion, for actions in Munoz, Luzon, Philippine Islands, February 5, 1945. Rudolph died in 2006 and is buried in Section DS, Site 22-S.
First Lieutenant Richard Keith Sorenson (World War II). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, 4th Marine Division, for actions at Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, February 1–2, 1944. Sorenson died in 2004 and is buried in Section B, Site 149-1.
Born in New York, Halsey L. Hall (1898–1977) grew up in Minnesota. From his father, he learned baseball as well as the news business. Hall landed his first newspaper job in 1919, following World War I. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and the Yeoman Third Class served from 1918 to 1919. Lore has it that Hall was in uniform when his storied journalism career began. He added sports broadcasting to his newspaper columns and radio shows, calling games for the University of Minnesota Gophers (football) and Minnesota's minor league baseball team, before moving to television in 1961 when Major League Baseball's Minnesota Twins came to town. Hall received many awards during his career, and his excitable expression, "Holy Cow!," during a baseball game known throughout the Upper Midwest. Minnesota's Ambassador of Baseball died December 31, at age 79, and is buried in Section L, Site 4058.
George W. and Bernice M. Janos, parents of former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, (Section Y, Site 868).
Iowa-born George Emerson Leach was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Minnesota National Guard in 1905 and he graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. In 1916–1917 he served at Mexico border during the Pancho Villa Expedition. Leach served in the U.S. Army during World War I and II, retiring with the rank of major general. Between the wars he was elected mayor of Minneapolis four times between 1921 and 1939. He ran unsuccessfully as the Republican candidate for governor in 1926 and 1938. Leach was an avid skier who managed the U.S. Olympic Ski Team in 1924 and is a member of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. He died in 1955 and is buried in (Section DS, Site 65N).
C. Walton Lillehei, pioneer in heart surgery (Section 6-B, Site 182).
Henry Mack (ca. 1840–1945) was born into slavery in Alabama. He and his mother, Phoebe, escaped bondage as the Civil War began. In December 1863 Mack enlisted in the U.S. Army. Private Mack was initially assigned to the 4th Arkansas, then to the 57th U.S. Colored Troops Infantry. He served primarily in Arkansas and completed his tour at Fort Smith, mustering out with the rank of corporal in 1866. Mack moved to Oklahoma Territory before settling in Omaha, Nebraska, where he lived and worked until racial tensions culminated in the riots of 1919, which prompted his move to Minneapolis. He became a leader in the Grand Army of the Republic and, by World War II, Mack was known as the oldest living Civil War veteran. At his death on April 8, he was just shy of his 109th birthday. He is buried in Section A-3, Site 384.
Minnesotan John Mariucci (1916–1987) was one of the few American-born ice hockey players of his day and he is credited with developing the sport in the state over forty years. He played football and ice hockey for the University of Minnesota. After graduation in 1940, he joined the professional league, signing with the Chicago Blackhawks for five seasons. During World War II, Boatswain's Mate Mariucci served in the U.S. Coast Guard (1942–1945) and, never far from the sport, he led the Coast Guard's hockey squad. He coached the team at his alma mater (1952–1966) and, in 1956, Team USA to win silver in the Olympic Games. He was honored for his contributions to the sport in 1977, with the Lester Patrick Award, and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985. When he died on March 23, Mariucci was buried in Section R, Site 1569.
William D. Napton, former director of Fort Snelling National Cemetery, 1984–1995, is buried in Section DS, Site 83-S.
Lyle E. Norby, former director of Ft. Smith National Cemetery, (Section DS, Site 63-S).
Minnesota native Bruce P. Smith (1920–1967) grew up in Faribault and attended the University of Minnesota. He graduated in 1942 and was a national hero for his accomplishments on the football field. Smith led the Minnesota Gophers to undefeated seasons and two national championships in 1940 and 1941. The All-American halfback received the Heisman Trophy two days after Pearl Harbor, and the start of World War II. After graduation, he joined the U.S. Navy and trained at the Great Lakes Naval Academy in Illinois. Ensign Smith met his wife, Gloria, while stationed in Philadelphia; they had four children. Smith played football professionally for the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams in the late 1940s, before retiring from the sport. Smith was posthumously inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1972 and his Gophers' jersey was retired in 1977. He died of cancer at 47 and is buried in Section O, Site 1474.
Calvin C. Stoll (1923–2000) was born in North Dakota and grew up in the Upper Midwest. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1941 and served through World War II until January 1947 as an aviation machinist mate. Stoll played football in the service league in Memphis and Seattle; more is known of his collegiate career as a player and coach for the University of Minnesota Gophers. He graduated from the university and lettered as a defensive end in 1949. In the 1950s and 1960s, Stoll held line-, end-, and assistant- coaching positions, before becoming head coach at Wake Forest and then at Minnesota. Stoll led the Gophers football team from 1972–1978 with a split record. After he had a heart transplant in the 1980s, he supported the Second Chance at Life Foundation. Stoll died August 30, and is buried in Section 7, Site 1076.
There are twenty-eight group burials in Section C that hold the remains of ninety-seven decedents, all but one are from World War II. The circumstances of death — such as airplane crashes — preclude the separation of the remains and therefore the comrades-in-arms share a common grave. Larger marble government headstones with names, ranks, and dates note the decedents in each group. The largest group burial here is of nine WWII officers and enlisted men who died together on May 18, 1945.
We are developing educational content for this national cemetery, and will post new materials as they become available. Visit the Veterans Legacy Program and NCA History Program for additional information. Thank you for your interest.