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Riverside National Cemetery


Detailed history

RNC was established in 1976 through the transfer of 740 acres (300 ha) from March Air Force Base, a section that during World War II was called Camp Haan.[2] The site was selected in 1976 to provide full burial options for Southern California veterans and their families by President Ford’s Commission for National Cemeteries and Monuments. An additional 181 acres (73 ha) was transferred by the U.S. Air Force in 2003.

Riverside National Cemetery Graves
With 15 Medal of Honor recipients in attendance and the Marine Corps’ greatest fighter ace Joe Foss as featured speaker, RNC was dedicated and opened for burials Veterans Day, November 11, 1978. RNC's first burial was Army Staff Sgt. Ysmael Villegas, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery at the cost of his own life at Villa Verde Trail on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, March 20, 1945. Following the war he was buried at Olivewood Cemetery in Riverside.[3] Prior to the opening of RNC, the Veterans Administration asked the Villegas family if he could be honored by re-burial in the new National Cemetery.
The dramatic, meandering landscape features a central boulevard with memorial circles, lakes, indigenous-styled committal shelters, and a memorial amphitheater.
Military funeral honors are provided for eligible veterans by military honor guards from each branch of service, by the California National Guard, and by several volunteer teams collectively known as the Memorial Honor Detail or MHD upon request of family members through their funeral home



  • Allen Diefendorf

    Military | Colonel | Fighter Pilot | 367th Fighter Group
    Allen J. Diefendorf was a graduate of Class 43-J, Foster Field, Texas. After further training in California, he sailed to England on the HMS Aquitania. He docked at Glasgow on July 24th, and joined the 367th Fighter Group, Ninth Air Force. He arrived...

Buried or commemorated

  • Owen Azling

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Aircraft Crew Chief | 365th Fighter Group
    Retired from the USAF with the rank of Master Sergeant

  • Salvo Bascetta

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | 47th Bomb Group

  • Franklin Chvatal

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Aerial Gunner | 416th Bomb Group

  • Earl DeMun

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 416th Bomb Group

  • Robert Halloran

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 467th Bomb Group

  • Leo Poundstone

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 416th Bomb Group

  • Ira Slawson

    Military | Sergeant (Technician Fourth Grade) | Aircraft Mechanic | 47th Bomb Group

  • Donald Smith

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot- Squadron Operations Officer | 47th Bomb Group

  • Frederick Terrell

    Military | Colonel | Group Commander - Pilot | 47th Bomb Group
    Major General Frederick Reynolds Terrell was born in Booneville, Mo., in 1913. He graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1931, and after achieving the third highest score in the nation on the entrance exams was given a Presidential appointment to...


Date Contributor Update
30 November 2020 03:42:27 466thHistorian Created entry with name, latitude, longitude and history