DATE: October 22, 2002
TO: Board of Supervisors
SUBJECT: Support for the Department of Veterans Affairs application to withdraw acreage adjacent to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
Fort Rosecrans is the only national cemetery in San Diego County and is also the nation’s ninth busiest national cemetery.
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery reached capacity in July 2001 and is no longer able to accommodate burials. On November 14, 2001 (27) the Board of Supervisors directed the Chief Administrative Officer to draft a letter for the Chairman’s signature to President George W. Bush, the San Diego Congressional delegation and the U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs supporting the concept of a pilot program establishing satellite national cemeteries to serve veterans in the greater San Diego area. On July 23, 2002 (21) the Board of Supervisors directed the Chief Administrative Officer to draft a letter for Chairman’s signature to Assembly Member Howard Wayne and the county’s State Legislative Delegation in Support of AB 2893 (Wayne), a bill to establish a state-owned and operated veterans cemetery in San Diego.
Support for the Department of Veterans Affairs application will open seven acres of space for burials at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, dramatically reducing the current stress on the facility.
SUPERVISOR GREG COX
- Direct the Chief Administrative Officer to draft a letter for the Chairman’s signature to the United States Department of the Interior in support of the Department of Veterans Affairs application to withdraw seven acres of public lands just east of Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
There is no fiscal impact associated with this recommendation.
Fort Rosecrans is the only national cemetery in San Diego County and is also the nation’s ninth busiest national cemetery. Fort Rosecrans reached capacity in July 2001 for both cremated remains and casket burials. Recent expansion efforts at Fort Rosecrans include a new columbarium wall with nearly 2,000 spaces for cremated remains, but that still does not allow for burials.
In San Diego, the total military population including active duty as well as retired military and Department of Defense employees is approximately 293,000, which accounts for over 10 percent of the total San Diego population.
The veterans’ community has expressed a strong interest in having an option for both cremation and casket burials here in San Diego. The current situation at Fort Rosecrans does not allow veterans any options other than cremation. There is a national cemetery in Riverside that still has the capacity for casket burials, but the cemetery is 90 miles from San Diego, making it much more difficult for family members to visit their loved ones who have passed away.
The Department of Navy currently is withdrawing seven acres of land located just east of Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery that is no longer needed for military purposes. The Department of Veterans Affairs is requesting to withdraw the acreage for a much-needed expansion of Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, permitting the addition of burial facilities to serve veterans in the San Diego County area.
I urge your support!
Supervisor, First District