The State Veterans Cemetery is located 3 miles west of Fairchild Air Force Base. From the flag assembly area looking southward, Francher Butte and West Medical Lake are present. Looking northward from the Committal Shelter, military aircraft banking northward off the 90 foot flagpole with its 30 foot flag lowered to half-staff often form the backdrop to interment services, and provide a serene setting for the final resting place of our nation's heroes, our veterans and their families.
The Public Information Center is located in the administration building. There is a grave site locator kiosk, accessible 7 days a week located just inside the foyer along with cemetery pamphlets that answer many questions.
Washington State’s veteran’s community had advocated for the establishment of a Veterans Cemetery in Eastern Washington for the past decade.
Initially, the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) explored the possibility of requesting a National Cemetery in Eastern Washington, similar to the Tahoma National Cemetery in Western Washington. Because the veteran population was not sufficient to meet the federal requirements, WDVA began working toward establishing a State Veterans Cemetery.
The State Veterans Cemetery will fill a significant gap in services for nearly 140,000 veterans living in Eastern Washington, and their families.
The Washington State Veterans Cemetery was established in a collaborative partnership between the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs and the Federal Veterans Administration. The state provided 120 acres of land for the facility and the VA provided an $8.8 million federal grant to design, construct and completely the operation. The cemetery sits adjacent to Fairchild Air Force Base, overlooking West Medical Lake. The initial grounds breaking ceremony was held on May 25, 2009. The site was dedicated on May. 31, 2010 with the first interment taking place on Jun 7, 2010. Included in the initial site development was a committal shelter, over 1,000 pre-placed crypts, 2,080 columbarium niches, an unspecified number of burial plots for in-ground inurnments as well as a scattering garden. Also included in the initial development were an administrative building, with public and private meeting space and a fully enclosed maintenance facility for storage and upkeep of grounds equipment and machinery.
Monuments and Memorials
The cemetery has an Avenue of Flags that leads up to the Flag Assembly Area. At the base of the Avenue of Flags is the POW-MIA flag. The Flag Assembly Area serves as the site for large community events such as Memorial Day ceremonies. There are 10 granite memorial benches in this area that commemorate service members of various 20th century wars, all donated by various service organizations.
Prisoners Of War/Killed in Action
Capt Melvin Stai, US Army, of Spokane, WA was taken Prisoner of War while fighting in South Korea on January 29, 1951, and was killed by an air raid on Suan Beam Camp on April 22, 1951. He received the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star with “V” device, Purple Heart, and Prisoner of War Medal among many other decorations. Capt Stai’s remains were recovered in 2011. He was born on Sep 1, 1917. (Section 4, Row A Grave 77).
Killed in Action
SFC Clifford E. Beattie, US Army, of Medical Lake, WA was killed in action on May 22, 2011 in Baghdad, Iraq resulting from combat related injuries. He received the Bronze Star, and Purple Heart among other decorations. He was born on January 3, 1974. (Section B, Row B, Grave 61).
Cpl Joshua R. Dumaw, of US Marine Corps, Spokane, WA was killed in action on Jun 22, 2010 in combat operations in Nimruz Province, Afghanistan. He received the Purple Heart among other decorations. He was born on Jun 13, 1987. (Section 1, Row E, Grave 1).
Capt Aaron R. Blanchard, of US Army, Selah, WA was killed in action on 23 Apr 2013 in combat operations in Logar Province, Afghanistan. He received the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart among other decorations. He was born on Apr 2, 1981. (Section 4, Row C, Grave 22).
MSgt Glen Douglas, US Army, of Spokane WA was the most decorated Native American veteran to have served in the US military. He received the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star with 3 bronze oak leaf clusters with “V” device, Purple Heart with 1 silver oak leaf cluster and 2 bronze oak leaf clusters, Korean Service Medal with 1 silver star and 2 bronze service stars, the Vietnam Service Medal with 4 bronze stars among many other decorations. He was born on Feb 1, 1927 and died on May 22, 2011. (Section 4, Row A, Grave 68).
MM1 Elwood Kellams, US Navy, Ephrata, WA was a Pearl Harbor survivor aboard the USS Tennessee and was in every major Pacific campaign in WWII. He was born on Apr 23, 1921 and died on Dec 26, 2007. (Section B, Row A, Grave 79).
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