American Battle Monuments Commission

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American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) seal.jpg
Agency overview
Formed 1923 (1923)
Headquarters 2300 Clarendon Blvd.,
Suite 500
Arlington, Virginia 22201
Coordinates: 38°53′25″N 77°05′12″W / 38.89028°N 77.08667°W / 38.89028; -77.08667
Employees 395 (2014)
Annual budget $63.2 million USD (2014)[1]
Agency executive
Website abmc.gov

The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) is a small independent agency of the United States government that administers, operates, and maintains permanent U.S. military cemeteries, memorials and monuments both inside and outside the United States.[2]

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.[3]

History[edit]

The ABMC was established by the United States Congress in 1923. Its purpose is to:[2]

  • 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.[3] For those buried who could not be identified during World War I, a percentage were commemorated by Star of David markers, rather than a cross; this practice was not continued for those who could not be identified during World War II.[4]

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.[5]

Structure[edit]

The agency has its headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, and its Overseas Operations Office in Garches, France.

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)[1] and an officer of the Army to serve as the secretary.[5]

Chairmen of the ABMC[edit]

Board of Commissioners[edit]

Secretary[edit]

Operations[edit]

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[edit]

Cemetery Country Conflict Dedicated Burials MIA Web
Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial  France World War I 1937 2,289 1,060 Details
Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial  Belgium World War II 1960 5,323 463 Details
Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial  France World War II 1956 4,409 498 Details
Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial  United Kingdom World War I 1937 468 563 Details
Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial  United Kingdom World War II 1956 3,812 5,127 Details
Clark Veterans Cemetery  Philippines Philippine–American War
and after
c. 1900
2013 (with ABMC)
8,000+ Details
Corozal American Cemetery and Memorial  Panama veterans of the
Mexican–American War
American Civil War
World War I
World War II
1914
1982 (with ABMC)
5,450 Details
Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial  France World War II 1944
1956 (with ABMC)
5,255 424 Details
Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial  Belgium World War I 1937 368 43 Details
Florence American Cemetery and Memorial  Italy World War II 1960 4,402 1,409 Details
Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial  Belgium World War II 1960 7,992 450 Details
Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial  France World War II 1960 10,489 444 Details
Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial  Luxembourg World War II 1960 5,076 371 Details
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial  Philippines World War II 1960 17,201 36,285 Details
Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial  France World War I 1937 14,246 954 Details
Mexico City National Cemetery  Mexico Mexican–American War 1851 813 750 Details
Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial  Netherlands World War II 1960 8,301 1,722 Details
Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial  France World War II 1956 9,387 1,557 Details
North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial  Tunisia World War II 1960 2,841 3,724 Details
Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial  France World War I 1937 6,012 241 Details
Rhone American Cemetery and Memorial  France World War II 1956 860 294 Details
Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial  Italy World War II 1956 7,861 3,095 Details
Somme American Cemetery and Memorial  France World War I 1937 1,844 333 Details
St. Mihiel American Cemetery and Memorial  France World War I 1937 4,153 284 Details
Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial  France World War I 1937 1,565 974 Details

Monuments of the ABMC[edit]

Monument Location Country Dedication Battle Web
Spanish-American War
Santiago Surrender Tree Santiago de Cuba  Cuba Site of the negotiation of the Spanish Gen. José Toral's surrender of Santiago de Cuba on July 13, 1898 Siege of Santiago
Details
World War I
Audenarde American Monument Oudenaarde  Belgium 37th and 91st Divisions October–November 1918 Details
Belleau Wood American Monument Belleau  France 5th and 6th Marine Regiments Battle of Belleau Wood Details
Bellicourt American Monument St. Quentin  France 27th and 30th Divisions Battle of St. Quentin Canal Details
Cantigny American Monument Montdidier  France 28th Regiment of the First Army Battle of Cantigny Details
Château-Thierry American Monument Château-Thierry  France U.S. and French soldiers Aisne-Marne Offensive and Oise-Aisne Offensive Details
Chaumont AEF Headquarters Marker Chaumont  France American Expeditionary Forces led by General Pershing Headquarters of the AEF, September 1, 1917 to July 11, 1919 Details
Kemmel American Monument Ypres  Belgium 27th and 30th Divisions of the II Corps Ypres-Lys Offensive
August 18 to September 4, 1918
Details
Montfaucon American Monument Verdun  France First Army and Second Army Meuse-Argonne Offensive
September 26, 1918 to November 11, 1918
Details
Montsec American Monument St. Mihiel  France First Army
Second Army
September 12-16, 1918
November 9-11
Details
Naval Monument at Brest Brest  France the naval forces of the United States and France during World War I Headquarters of the United States and French navies Details
Naval Monument at Gibraltar Straits of Gibraltar  Gibraltar U.S. Navy and British Royal Navy for major victories August 1917–November 11, 1918 Details
Sommepy American Monument Sainte-Menehould  France 70,000 troops who drove the German army back north of the Aisne River:
42nd Division
369th, 371st, and 372nd Infantry Regiments
2nd and 36th Divisions
36th Division
 
July 15-18, 1918
September 26-October8
September 29-October 28
October 11–October 27
Details
Souilly American Headquarters Marker Claye-Souilly  France Marking the headquarters of the First Army during the last few months of the war Meuse-Argonne Offensive Details
Tours American Monument Tours  France 24,000 civilians of the Services of Supply and 645,000 soldiers of the American Expeditionary Forces *Constructed almost 1,000 miles of railway tracks;
  • Assembled more than 1,500 locomotives and 18,000 rail cars;
  • Managed hospitals with a capacity of 192,844 beds.
Details
World War II
Cabanatuan American Memorial Cabanatuan City  Philippines U.S. and Filipino victims of the Bataan Death March and Cabanatuan internment camps Details
East Coast Memorial for the Missing New York City  United States 4,611 U.S. sailors and service members lost in the Atlantic Ocean during the war Battle of the Atlantic Details
Guadalcanal American Memorial Guadalcanal  Solomon Islands U.S. soldiers and allies who died in Americans and its allies who the Battle of Guadalcanal Guadalcanal Campaign Details
Honolulu Memorial Honolulu, Hawaii  United States Dedicated to the 18,096 U.S. World War II soldiers missing from the Pacific (excluding those from the southwest Pacific) and 8,200 missing from the Korean War Details
Pointe du Hoc American Monument Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer  France Second Ranger Battalion members who on June 6, 1944, scaled the 100 ft (30 m) cliff of Pointe du Hoc and seized German artillery that could have fired on the U.S. troops landing at Omaha and Utah beaches. D-Day Details
Papua American Marker Papua  New Guinea U.S. soldiers who fought in Southwest Pacific theatre South West Pacific theatre of World War II Details
Saipan American Memorial Saipan  Northern Mariana Islands U.S. marines and soldiers (24,000) and Chamorro who died during the liberation of the Mariana Islands during World War II Mariana and Palau Islands campaign Details
Utah Beach American Monument Ste-Marie-du-Mont  France VII Corps members who liberated the Cotentin Peninsula Battle of Cherbourg Details
West Coast Memorial to the Missing San Francisco  United States 417 U.S. sailors and service members lost in the Pacific Ocean theater Pacific Ocean theater of World War II Details
Western Naval Task Force Marker Casablanca  Morocco U.S. Western Task Force soldiers who made the first transoceanic amphibious operation Operation Torch Details
Korean War
United Nations Memorial Cemetery Busan  South Korea U.S. service members who fought in the Korean War Korean War Details

See also[edit]

Other national war graves commissions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "ABMC Annual Report" (PDF). American Battle Monuments Commission. Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "About". American Battle Monuments Commission. Retrieved 2011-11-21. 
  3. ^ a b "History". American Battle Monuments Commission. Retrieved March 2, 2015. 
  4. ^ Richard Rubin (21 May 2013). The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 227. ISBN 0-547-84369-0. 
  5. ^ a b "ABMC to Assume Control of Clark Veterans Cemetery". American Battle Monuments Commission. December 16, 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Österreich betreut Kriegsgräberstätten. In: Stimme & Weg, 2/2011, p. 24.
  7. ^ Ministère de la Défense, SGA Sépultures de guerre (File of French soldiers killed in action)
  8. ^ 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.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]