Arizona National Guardsmen and Reservists Eligible for Burial in Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemeteries Beginning in 2024
PHOENIX – Beginning on January 1st, 2024, members of the Arizona National Guard and U.S. military Reservists can be laid to rest at Southern Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery (SAVMC) in Sierra Vista, Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery at Marana (AVMC-Marana) and Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery at Camp Navajo (AVMC-Camp Navajo), three Veteran cemeteries operated by the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services (ADVS).
“Honoring all of our service members and their families equally from every branch and component of the military is fundamental to our commitment to ensure there are no barriers to the benefits and services they have earned,” explained ADVS Cabinet Executive Officer (CEO) Dana Allmond
The change is the result of the Burial Equity for Guards and Reserves Act signed by President Biden in 2022, and the passage of HB2670 by the Arizona State Legislature back in July which allows for all Non-Veteran National Guard and Reserve (NVRNG) members to be interred at ADVS Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemeteries.
“This enhanced state burial benefit bridges the gaps for Reserve and National Guard members for burial,” said Joe Larson, Administrator of Southern Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery in Sierra Vista.
“We are now able to provide burial services and memorialization to those who otherwise would not have qualified for this benefit under the National Cemetery Administration guidelines,” he added.
This will increase the amount of burials at SAVMC, AVMC-Marana and AVMC-Camp Navajo but the benefit will only cover the actual gravesite and interment. It does not include the free burial flag or grave marker. ADVS Veterans’ Memorial Cemeteries will be assessing fees to cover the cost. However, that cost is below industry standards for burials in private cemeteries.
“The families can rest assured that the final resting place of their loved one will be maintained in perpetuity as a national shrine,” Larson said.
For families interested in interment at an Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, ADVS encourages submitting an application for pre-determination for burial. Those applications and applications for interment can be completed at https://dvs.az.gov/services/cemeteries. Cemetery staff at SAVMC in Sierra Vista, AVMC-Marana and AVMC-Camp Navajo will hold applications and begin reaching out to families to make burial arrangements after 1/1/2024.