Arlington National Cemetery Eligibility Requirements

March 1st was my Dad’s birthday. As a proud recipient of the United States Air Force’s Distinguished Flying Cross, my father qualified to be buried on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.  Arlington is truly one of our nation’s greatest treasures.  Each time I am there I am overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for all of the selfless Americans who have given of themselves to keep us free!

In honor of my father’s birthday, I thought it would be a nice idea to share the eligibility requirements with you for burial at Arlington.  The requirements I list here are very high-level.  Please visit the official Arlington National Cemetery website for a complete list of the detailed eligibility requirements for burial there.   

High-level requirements are as follows: 

Active duty members of the Armed Forces (except if serving on active duty for training only.)

A veteran retired from active military service with the Armed Forces

A veteran retired from the Reserves, drawing retired pay, and who served on active duty (60 years of age or over)

Former members of the Armed Forces who were separated for medical reasons prior to October 1, 1949 (30% or greater disability)

A member of the Armed Forces who was rewarded any of the following: the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Flying Cross (Navy Cross or Air Force Cross), the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star or Purple Heart

President of the United States or a former President of the United States.

Former member of the Armed Forces on active duty who held:  Elective office of the U.S. Government,  Chief Just of the U.S. or of an Assoc. Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, an office listed in 5 USC 5313 or 5313, the chief of a mission classified under provisions of Section 411, Act of 13 August 1946

Prisoner of war who served honorably in active military, naval or air service and who died on or after November 30, 1993.

The spouse, widow, or widower, minor child, or permanently dependent child and certain unmarried adult children of any of the above eligible veterans.

A widow or widower of: a member of the Armed Forces lost/buried at see or missing in action, member of the Armed Forces interred in an overseas US military cemetery maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission.

Surviving spouse, minor child or permanently dependent child of any person already buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Parents of a minor child or permanently disabled dependent child of a person already buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Former member of the Armed Forces may be buried in the same grave as a close relative already buried and is the primary eligible

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I read the elgibility requirements for burial in Arlington. I wonder if Senator Kennedy was in the service. I think not. So my comment is why is he buried there when we sometimes have difficulty gettin a momber of the armed services buried in a national cemetary. Please dom’t mis understand my question, I am sorry for the families loss. But is it the right thing to do

After reading the previous comment from George W. McCormic Sr. about plans for Senator Edward Kennedy to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery I became curious….

I found the following verbiage on NPR’s site ( about why the senator qualifies for burial at Arlington.

Dave Foster, a spokesman for Arlington Cemetary, said that the senator is eligible to be buried at Arlington because of his service in Congress and in the U.S. Army during the 1950s. A date for the senator’s funeral has yet to be announced, as well as whether the senator’s body will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol.

I would like to look at proof of us army service enrollment during the 1950’s

According to, Senator “Kennedy’s body arrived via hearse, not a caisson — the wheeled, horse-drawn carrier reserved for the highest ranking military officials and presidents.

The traditional ceremony for a member of Congress includes pallbearers carrying a flag-draped casket to the grave site, with a military rifle squad firing volleys of salute. “

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