Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Arlington National Cemetery To Add 50,000 More Burial Plots
Arlington National Cemetery is the most sacred resting place for American service members. But after more than 150 years in service, the hallowed cemetery is running out of room.
After years of grappling with the shrinking capacity of 624-acres of burial plots, the Army, which is charged with maintaining the hallowed grounds, will add 50,000 more burial plots to hopefully keep the cemetery operating through 2050.
For the last four years, the Army and Arlington County discussed a land swap plan in which the Army would give the county a portion of the cemetery’s Navy Annex land south of the realigned Columbia Pike, where the country had hoped to build an Arlington Heritage Center and Freedman’s Village Museum.
Brian Stout, Arlington’s county spokesman, told the Associated Press on June 15 that the Army backed out and will now move ahead without exchanging any land thanks to congressional legislation passed in 2016, which gives the Army the leverage to move ahead without giving up any land.
Instead the Army will expand the cemetery, which was previously projected to run out of burial space in by 2041, across the entirety of the Navy Annex, located along the southern border of the current grounds, around the Air Force Memorial. The cemetery will also acquire five additional acres from Arlington County, for which county officials are now focusing on getting a fair price from the Army.
Throughout its history, more than 400,000 people — veterans and their family members — have been interred in Arlington National Cemetery, and an estimated 4 million Americans visit the grounds every year. The southern expansion, in addition to the completion the Millennium Project designed to add 28,000 new plots by the end of 2017, will only extend the life of the cemetery by an additional nine years.
“Arlington National Cemetery will not be a burial option for those service members who served in the Gulf War and any conflict afterwards,” Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director of the Army National Military Cemeteries, said during a Senate hearing March 29.
In her testimony, Durham-Aguilera added that that the cemetery will either require more space or to reconsider its eligibility policies in order to remain open. However, there are alternative veteran cemeteries.
“Veterans deemed eligible for burial in Arlington National Cemetery are more than likely also eligible for burial in any of VA’s 135 national cemeteries across the country,” Jessica Schiefer, who works for the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration, told Task & Purpose in April.
So the cemetery has a nine-year stop-gap plan, but there’s no telling what will happen to Arlington after 2050 — or what that means for veterans of America's 21st century wars.
A U.S. Air Force combat controller will receive the nation's third highest award for valor this week for playing an essential role in two intense firefight missions against the Taliban in Afghanistan last year.
Tech. Sgt. Cody Smith, an airman with the 26th Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing at Air Force Special Operations Command, will receive the Silver Star at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico on Nov. 22, the service announced Monday.
SARASOTA, Fla. — With data continuing to roll in that underscores the health benefits of cannabis, two Florida legislators aren't waiting for clarity in the national policy debates and are sponsoring bills designed to give medical marijuana cards to military veterans free of charge.
Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.
The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.
During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.
"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."
"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."
Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.
Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed confidence on Sunday in the U.S. military justice system's ability to hold troops to account, two days after President Donald Trump pardoned two Army officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.
Trump also restored the rank of a Navy SEAL platoon commander who was demoted for actions in Iraq.
Asked how he would reassure countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of the pardons, Esper said: "We have a very effective military justice system."
"I have great faith in the military justice system," Esper told reporters during a trip to Bangkok, in his first remarks about the issue since Trump issued the pardons.