National Cemetery Administration
Tahoma 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: Cemetery gates operate automatically, opening at 6:00am and closing between 6:00pm and 9:00pm depending on hours of daylight.
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.
From Sea-Tac Airport, take Interstate-5 southbound to exit 142A (Highway 18 Auburn/North Bend). Stay on Highway 18 for 13 miles. Take the S.E. 256th Street exit. At the stop sign turn left onto 256th Street. At the first traffic light, turn right onto 180th Avenue S.E. proceed straight after three way stop. At the stop sign, turn right onto 240th Street. Tahoma National Cemetery is ¼ mile on 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.
For information on scheduled burials in our national cemeteries, please go to the Daily Burial Schedule.
From the flag assembly area looking southward, Mt. Rainier is ever present. A magnificent setting for the final resting place of our nation's heroes, our veterans.
The Public Information Center is manned totally by volunteers. These volunteers help the visitors that come to Tahoma National Cemetery with many questions and concerns. They also coordinate with cemetery personnel on the funeral corteges and getting the family to the correct shelter for the committal service.
The VA offers the VA Survivors and Burial Benefits Kit as a source of pre-need planning information and record storage for Veterans and their families.
Military Funeral Honors
Tahoma National Cemetery has a Veterans Service Organization Honor Guard Association. These veterans provide honors to 90 percent of the veterans interred here. The Association is made up of The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Elks Club, and other organizations.
For educational materials and additional information on this cemetery, please visit the Education section, located below.
Cemetery policies are conspicuously posted and readily visible to the public.
The cemetery staff will place three floral arrangements, which accompanied the casket or urn at the time of burial, on the completed grave. Natural cut flowers may be placed on graves at any time of the year. They will be removed when they become unsightly or when it becomes necessary to facilitate cemetery operations such as mowing.
Artificial flowers will be permitted on graves during periods when their presence will not interfere with grounds maintenance. As a general rule, artificial flowers will be allowed on graves for a period extending 10 days before through 10 days after Easter Sunday and Memorial Day.
Christmas wreaths, grave blankets and other seasonal adornments may be placed on graves from Dec. 1 through Jan. 20. They may not be secured to headstones or markers.
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.
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.
Tahoma National Cemetery was established Nov. 11, 1993, and opened for interments on Oct. 1, 1997. The cemetery was dedicated on Sept. 26, 1997. A small expansion project was completed in March 2006. The $6 million project included over 12,000 new columbarium niches, more than 5,000 pre-placed crypts, road improvements, new signage, a third committal shelter and a third funeral cortege lane at the Public Information Center. Phase II of the expansion project was completed in June, 2014. The $24 million project included over 14,000 new columbarium niches, more than 9,000 pre-placed crypts, 6,000 in-ground garden cremation sites, two memorial walls and an ossuary. Two new roads for accessing the new burial sections were constructed using permeable asphalt. The three new columbarium complexes contain rain gardens and bio swales to help mitigate the need for storm water runoff and retention ponds.
Monument and Memorials
Tahoma has a Memorial walkway containing 36 memorials that commemorate soldiers of various 20th century wars, donated by various service organizations. At the northeast corner of the walkway is the POW-MIA flag. At the southwest corner of the walkway is a carillon that was donated by the Navy Fleet reserve Association Seattle branch 18 and was installed in 2010, dedicated to the volunteers of Tahoma National Cemetery.
A Blue Star Memorial is located south of the Public Information Center. The marker was originally part of a banner that families displayed in their homes during the 1940s to signify that they had a loved one fighting in World War II. Today, the marker honors all veterans.
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:
Corporal Jesse T. Barrick (Civil War). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company H, 3d Minnesota Infantry, for actions near Duck River, Tennessee, May 26 - June 2, 1863. Barrick received a commission as an officer, Company G, 57th U.S. Colored Troops Infantry Regiment, in July 1864; he mustered out of service that October. Second Lieutenant Barrick died in 1923. His remains were interred with full military honors in February 2000, in Section 8, Site 108.
Sergeant Dexter J. Kerstetter (World War II). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company C, 130th Infantry, 33rd Infantry Division, for actions near Galiano, Luzon, Philippine Islands, April 13, 1945. Kerstetter died in 1972 and is buried in Section 9B, Site 12.
Master Sergeant Wilburn K. Ross (World War II). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company G, 30th Infantry, 3d Division, for actions near St. Jacques, France, October 30, 1944. Ross died in 2017 and is buried in Section 28B, Site 479.
Sergeant First Class Nathan Ross Chapman -- first American serviceman to die from hostile fire in the war in Afghanistan in 2002. Sergeant Chapman was a communications specialist with the 1st Special Forces Group at Fort Lewis, Wash. (Section 6, Site 33).
Francis Agnes -- former POW (1941 to 1945), survivor of the Bataan Death March, founder of the Tahoma National Cemetery Support Group (Section 24, Site 717).
Phillip F. Smith was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1932, and he graduated from high school in California at 16. He enlisted in the Coast Guard in September 1949 with tours on USCG Cutters Rhododendron, Bering Strait, and Staten Island. On-shore assignments took him to California, Alaska, and Washington; in Washington's 13th Coast Guard District, Smith became one of the first Senior Enlisted Advisors. He served as the Second Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard from 1973 to 1977, when he retired. MCPOCG Smith's advocacy for the Coast Guard's Senior Enlisted Leader program continues to influence the service in the changes he made on behalf of enlisted men. He died June 22, 2017, and is buried in Tahoma National Cemetery (Section 30B, Site 126).
Mary Jean Sturdevant was born September 28, 1921, in Oregon. The high school valedictorian then became one of three women to join the civilian pilot program at Southern Oregon University. Upon graduation she became an instructor and trained Army Air Corps cadets. Sturdevant was accepted into the Women Airforce (sic) Service Pilots (WASP) program but her value as an instructor was more important. Stationed at Merced (CA), she flew Army AT-6s and BT-13s and taught male pilots to fly until the WASP program ended in 1945. In 1977 WASPs were recognized as veterans, and in 2009 they were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Pilot Sturdevant died June 24, 2017. She is buried in Tahoma National Cemetery (Section FI, Row B, Niche 3).
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.