Edward Grimsley, Department of California commander, and USAR 801st Engineer Co. soldiers are all smiles during the rededication of the Mare Island Naval Cemetery on Veterans Day 2020 in Vallejo, Calif.


Mare Island Naval Cemetery rededicated on Veterans Day

Vallejo, CA

MINC is the oldest naval cemetery on the West Coast. Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies have been held here since 1871 and 1920 respectively. As a National Historic Landmark, MINC has three Congressional Medal of Honor recipients - James Cooney, USMC, William Halford, USN, and Alexander Parker, USN - and over 860 sailors and Marines who served in the War of 1812 to World War I.
Also buried here is Anna Arnold Key Turner, whose husband, Daniel, fought in the War of 1812; she is the daughter of Francis Scott Key, who wrote our beloved national anthem.
In 2017, retired Navy Capt. Ralph Parrott of Virginia visited MINC and was appalled at its dilapidated condition. Parrott and Karnig Ohannessian, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Environment), assisted the City of Vallejo in applying for the DoD Innovative Readiness Training program (https://irt.defense.gov).
Parrott enlisted many volunteers to urge the federal government to re-possess MINC per Public Law 93-43, National Cemeteries Act of 1973. Their (http://chn.ge/2BUHBjI) petition collected over 50,000 signatures in three months and also secured the unwavering support of The American Legion, the VFW and many VSOs.
The U.S. Army Reserve’s 801st Engineer Company based at Mare Island, the City of Vallejo and many volunteers have nearly completed this extensive project to bring MINC back to national-shrine conditions worthy of Pres. Lincoln’s promise “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.”
We are now optimistic that the MINC amendments to the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act “…to require the VA to seek an agreement with Vallejo for the transfer of MINC…” will pass in 2020, so MINC will be another VA national cemetery soon.

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