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National Cemetery Administration

 

Eligibility for a Headstone or Marker

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a Government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible Veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death. VA may also furnish a headstone or marker for graves marked with a private headstone or marker, for Veterans who died on or after Nov. 1, 1990.

Any deceased Veteran discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who dies on active duty may be eligible. Service after Sep. 7, 1980, as an enlisted person, and service after Oct. 16, 1981, as an officer, must be for a minimum of 24 months continuous active duty or be completed under special circumstances (e.g., death on active duty). Persons who have only limited active duty service for training while in the National Guard or Reserves are not eligible unless there are special circumstances (e.g., death while on active duty or as a result of training). Reservists and National Guard members who, at the time of death, were entitled to retired pay, or would have been entitled, but for being under the age of 60 are eligible. Reservists called to active duty other than training and National Guard members who Federalized and who serve for the period are called are eligible. Service prior to World War I requires detailed documentation (e.g., muster rolls, extracts from State files, military or State organization where served, pension or land warrant, etc.).

Spouses and dependents are not eligible for a Government-furnished headstone or marker unless they are buried in a national, state Veterans', or military post/base cemetery.

Eligibility for a Medallion

VA furnishes a medallion, upon request, to be affixed to an existing, privately purchased headstone or marker to signify the deceased status as a Veteran. This device is furnished in lieu of a traditional Government headstone or marker for Veterans who served on or after Apr. 6, 1917, and whose grave in a private cemetery is marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker.

Any deceased Veteran discharged under conditions other than dishonorable who served in the Armed Forces on or after Apr. 6, 1917 or any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who dies on active duty, and is buried in a private cemetery in a grave marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker may be eligible. Service after Sep. 7, 1980 must be for a minimum of 24 months continuous active duty or be completed under special circumstances (e.g., death on active duty). Persons who have only limited active duty service for training while in the National Guard or Reserves are not eligible unless there are special circumstances (e.g., death while on active duty or as a result of training). Reservists and National Guard members who, at the time of death, were entitled to retired pay, or would have been entitled, but for being under the age of 60 are eligible. Reservists called to active duty other than training and National Guard members who are Federalized and who serve for the period called are eligible.

Spouses and dependents are not eligible for a medallion.