Fort cemetery receives Shrine status

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
The U.S. Disciplinary Barracks Cemetery on Fort Leavenworth has been recognized with what is known as the National Shrine Status.

A cemetery on Fort Leavenworth is one of only two in the country to be recognized with what is known as the National Shrine Status, according to an official with the Army installation.

The local cemetery that met the Shrine standard is the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks Cemetery on Sheridan Drive.

The cemetery is the final resting place for inmates of the USDB whose remains were never claimed by family members.

"It's prisoners only," said David Linville, who serves as an official for the cemetery.

The USDB is a military prison located on Fort Leavenworth.

The cemetery received the National Shrine Status through the Office of Army Cemeteries, which is headquartered at Arlington National Cemetery.

The website for the Office of Army Cemeteries also refers to the USDB Cemetery as the Fort Leavenworth Post Cemetery.

The USDB Cemetery should not be confused with the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.

The USDB Cemetery is one of 30 cemeteries overseen through the Office of Army Cemeteries, according to OAC's website.

Linville said a cemetery at Fort Knox is the only other Army cemetery to achieve the Shrine standard.

He is still awaiting the official certificate for the USDB Cemetery's National Shrine Status.

He said post officials learned the cemetery had achieved the Shrine standard Sept. 2 following an inspection that took place a day earlier.

"I was quite surprised," he said.

Linville said he and Kyle Fratzel, who also is responsible for the cemetery, were not concerned about the inspection. But Linville had no idea the inspection would result in the Shrine designation.

He said there are multiple pages of regulations that have to be met for the inspection by the Office of Army Cemeteries. These include regulations for the appearance of the headstones in the cemetery.

"So we have to clean the headstones, make sure they're readable," he said.

Linville said he handles documentation for the cemetery while Fratzel is responsible for the physical maintenance.

The USDB Cemetery was established in 1884.

Linville said 241 people are buried in the cemetery, 94 former military inmates and 147 former civilian inmates. He said the cemetery has the remains of civilian inmates because the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks twice was operated as a federal prison with civilian inmates.

According to the OAC website, the last burial at the USDB Cemetery took place in 1957.

But Linville said the cemetery remains active. If an inmate's remains are not claimed, that person can be nominated for burial at the cemetery.

"It has to go through a review process," he said.

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