Who is known as 'The Father of Rock Island Arsenal?'

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The Rock Island National Cemetery is one of over 130 national cemeteries in the United States that are operated by the National Cemetery Administration of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Because it dates to 1863, it is among the 20 oldest national cemeteries.

This site was the second location of the original post cemetery that was created for the 155 guards and 16 “Galvanized Yankees” who died at the Rock Island Barracks, the Civil War prison camp located on the island.

The cemetery covers 44 acres with 22 additional acres available for future expansion. Because there are approximately 22,000 gravesites representing over 25,000 burials, the cemetery is one of the 30 largest national cemeteries in terms of number of burials.

Today, members of the armed forces and veterans who have met service requirements and have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable can be buried at the National Cemetery. The spouse and minor children of the qualified individual are also eligible for burial.

A Memorial Walk is located at the eastern end of the cemetery to memorialize the many men and women who served our nation with honor. Local veterans’ organizations have placed memorials along the walk to illustrate to future generations the hardship and suffering of war and the patriotism of past generations.

Located at the end of the Memorial Walk are the graves of two former commanding officers of Rock Island Arsenal, Colonel David M. King and Brevet Brigadier General Thomas J. Rodman. Rodman is known as “The Father of Rock Island Arsenal” for his contributions as second commanding officer from 1865 to 1871.

The cemetery is the final resting place for two Medal of Honor recipients from the Second World War, U.S. Army Private First Class Edward J. Moskala and U.S. Marine Corps Private First Class Frank P. Witek.

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