American Battle Monuments Commission
|Headquarters||2300 Clarendon Blvd.,
Arlington, Virginia 22201
|Annual budget||$63.2 million USD (2014)|
|Agency executive||Merrill A. McPeak, Chairman|
The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) is a small independent agency of the United States government that ABMC administers, operates, and maintains permanent U.S. military cemeteries, memorials and monuments both inside and outside the United States.
As of 2015, there are 25 sites under the care of the ABMC. There are 124,905 U.S. servicemen and servicewomen interred at these sites, and more than 94,000 missing in action, or lost or buried at sea, whose names are individually carved into monuments. The ABMC also maintains an online database of names associated with each site.
- Commemorate the services of the U.S. armed forces where they have served since April 6, 1917;
- Establish suitable War memorials; designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining permanent U.S. military burial grounds in foreign countries;
- Control the design and construction of U.S. military monuments and markers in foreign countries by other U.S. citizens and organizations, both public and private;
- Encourage the maintenance of such monuments and markers by their sponsors.
The United States Department of War established eight European burial grounds for World War I. The ABMC's first program was landscaping and erecting non-sectarian chapels at each of the eight sites, constructing 11 separate monuments and two tablets at other sites in Europe, and constructing the Allied Expeditionary Forces World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C.
In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order transferring control of the eight cemeteries to the ABMC, and made the commission responsible for the design, construction, maintenance and operation of all future permanent American military burial grounds outside the United States.
The ABMC has been the caretaker of cemeteries, monuments and memorials for World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Mexican–American War. In 2013, Clark Veterans Cemetery in the Philippines became the 25th site under the control of the commission. Clark Veterans Cemetery dates back to the Philippine–American War at the turn of the 20th century.
The authorizing legislation for the American Battle Monuments Commission (36 U.S.C., Chapter 21) specifies that the President will appoint the chairman, up to 10 members to the commission (who serve indefinite terms and who serve without pay) and an officer of the Army to serve as the secretary.
Chairmen of the ABMC
- General of the Armies John J. Pershing (1923–1948)
- General of the Army George C. Marshall (1949–1959)
- General Jacob L. Devers (1960–1969)
- General Mark W. Clark (1969–1984)
- General Andrew Goodpaster (1985–1990)
- General Paul X. Kelley, (1991–1994, 2001–2005)
- General Frederick F. Woerner, Jr. (1994–2001)
- General Frederick M. Franks, Jr. (2005–2009)
- General Merrill McPeak (2010–present)
Board of Commissioners
- Cindy Campbell
- Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel
- Darrell Dorgan
- Larry R. Ellis
- John L. Estrada
- Rolland Kidder
- Richard L. Klass
- Thomas R. Lamont
- Constance Morella
The American Battle Monuments Commission employed a full-time staff of 395 people around the world in 2014. All ABMC sites are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, with the exception of Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Cemeteries are not closed for national holidays. When the sites are open to the public, a commission staff member is available to escort visitors and relatives to grave and memorial sites or to answer questions.
Cemeteries and Memorials of the ABMC
Monuments of the ABMC
- American War Memorials Overseas
- Register of Culturally Significant Property
- National Register of Historic Places
Other national war graves commissions
- Austria – Austrian Black Cross (Austrian War graves on the Vienna Central cemetery are still looked after by German War Graves Commission.)
- France – Ministère de la Défense
- Germany – German War Graves Commission
- Netherlands – Oorlogsgravenstichting (Netherlands Wikipedia)
- Russia – Association of War Memorials
- United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa – Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- "ABMC Annual Report". American Battle Monuments Commission.
- "About". American Battle Monuments Commission. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
- "History". American Battle Monuments Commission. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
- "ABMC to Assume Control of Clark Veterans Cemetery". American Battle Monuments Commission. December 16, 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
- Österreich betreut Kriegsgräberstätten. In: Stimme & Weg, 2/2011, p. 24.
- Ministère de la Défense, SGA Sépultures de guerre (File of French soldiers killed in action)
- Website of the Oorlogsgravenstichting in Netherlands
- Nishiura, Elizabeth, editor (1989). American Battle Monuments: A Guide to Military Cemeteries and Monuments Maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission. Detroit, Michigan: Omnigraphics Inc. ISBN 978-1558888128. OCLC 20504222
- Hallowed Grounds (2009). PBS video of 11 America's overseas military cemeteries in eight different countries.
- American Battle Monuments Commission (1938). American armies and battlefields in Europe: a history, guide, and reference book. U.S.G.P.O.Selected photos available online through the Washington State Library's Classics in Washington History collection
- American Battle Monuments Commission (1938). American armies and battlefields in Europe: a history, guide, and reference book. U.S.G.P.O. Maps available online through the Washington State Office of the Secretary of State's Washington History collection
- Sledge, Michael (2005). Soldier Dead: How We Recover, Identify, Bury, and Honor Our Military Fallen. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-13514-9. OCLC 81452881.
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