Calverton National Cemetery
|Location||Calverton, New York|
|Owned by||United States Department of Veterans Affairs|
|Size||1,045 acres (422.9 ha)|
|Number of graves||207,719 through FY 2008|
|Website||VA Official Site|
|Find a Grave||Findagrave|
|The Political Graveyard||Political graveyard|
Calverton National Cemetery is a United States National Cemetery located in eastern Long Island, the hamlet of Wading River, the Town of Riverhead in Suffolk County, New York. It encompasses 1,045 acres (422.9 ha) and as of the end of 2008 had 212,000 interments.
When the National Cemetery System constructed Calverton National Cemetery in 1978, the cemetery became the third national cemetery to be located on Long Island. The other national cemeteries situated on Long Island are Cypress Hills National Cemetery, in Brooklyn, New York, which was established in 1862 and Long Island National Cemetery, in Farmingdale, New York, established in 1936.
In 1974, Long Island National Cemetery was the only national cemetery on Long Island with available space for burials—but its maximum burial capacity was soon to be exhausted. As a result, plans were developed by the National Cemetery System to construct a new regional cemetery to serve the greater New York area——home, then, to nearly three million veterans and their dependents. On December 7, 1977, a 902 acres (365.0 ha) tract of land was transferred from the Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant, Calverton to the Veterans Administration for use as a national cemetery.
The National Cemetery System realized that Calverton National Cemetery would become one of its more active cemeteries. For that reason, they designed and built a feature called a committal “wheel” of shelters that permits multiple burial services to be held simultaneously. To the left of the main cemetery entrance, around the Veteran’s Circle, are seven committal shelters. After the funeral service, the caskets are moved into the hub of the wheel and then transported to their respective gravesites. In 1983, the walls of the committal shelters were reconstructed to serve as columbaria for the inurnment of cremated remains.
Calverton National Cemetery features a memorial pathway lined with a variety of memorials that honor America’s veterans. As of 2003, there were 18 memorials here, most commemorating soldiers of 20th century wars.
- Edward Walter Egan, Sergeant, U.S. Marines. Section 30, Grave No. 3140. New York Police Department detective and actor. Role model for Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle in the 1971 film The French Connection
- Dorothy Frooks, Communications Yeoman, U.S. Navy/ Technician 5, U.S. Army. Section 17, Grave No. 797. Served in World War I and World War II. Actress and author.
- Francis S. Gabreski, Colonel, U.S. Air Force. Section 14, Grave No. 724. The top American fighter ace in Europe during World War II, a jet fighter ace in Korea.
- Elsbeary Hobbs, Jr., Specialist 4, U.S. Army, World War II. Section 17, Grave No. 1393 R&B singer and one of the many members of The Drifters.
- Michael P. Murphy, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy SEALs, Afghanistan. Section 67, Grave No. 3710. Awarded the Medal of Honor in Operation Enduring Freedom. LT Murphy is the only Medal of Honor recipient buried at Calverton.
- Arthur Pinajian, Corporal, U.S. Army, World War II. Awarded Bronze Star Medal. Section 9, Grave No. 1326. Comic book creator and illustrator in the 1930s to 1950s, and impressionist artist from 1950s to his death in 1999.
- Isaac Woodard, Jr., Sergeant, U.S. Army, World War II. Section 15, Grave No. 2180. African American World War II veteran whose 1946 beating and maiming sparked national outrage.