Fort Custer National Cemetery
|Type||United States National Cemetery|
|Size||770.4 acres (311.8 ha)|
|Number of graves||21,000|
Fort Custer National Cemetery is a United States National Cemetery located just outside of the Village of Augusta in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. It encompasses 770.4 acres (311.8 ha), and as of the end of 2005[update] had 20,656 interments.
Named for General George Armstrong Custer, the original Camp Custer was built in 1917 as part of the military mobilization during World War I. After the war, it also served as a demobilization camp. The cemetery itself was not created until 1943. During World War II Fort Custer was expanded to serve as a training ground and as a place to hold German prisoners of war, 26 of which died while in captivity and were buried in the cemetery. Sixteen of the German POWs were killed in an accident when their truck collided with a train as they were returning to the fort from a work detail on a sugar beet farm near Blissfield, Michigan. The other 10 died from natural causes.
It was not until 1981 that Fort Custer cemetery officially became Fort Custer National Cemetery, receiving a large plot of land from the Fort Custer National Military Reservation for expansion. In 1997 another expansion was made, with the addition of 60 acres (24 ha).
- The Avenue of Flags, a row of 152 flag poles along the main road of the cemetery, as well as the main flagpole and an additional 50 flag poles, one for each state flag, in a semicircle at the road end.