Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Buried with Honor: Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
by CW2 Mark Denger
California Center for Military History
Upon the grassy hilltop of Point Loma, over looking the Submarine Base immediately below, row after row of white marble headstones dot the hillside which bears evidence of more than a century and a half of California's military history.

The origins of this hillside cemetery dates back to February 1852 when President Fillmore set aside the southern portion of Point Loma (about 1,400 acres) for military purposes. Subsequently, it was assigned to the U.S. Army and named Fort Rosecrans, after Civil War strategist
Major General William Starke Rosecrans, a 1842 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy.

The (then) one acre cemetery was located on the crest of the point and first was used in the 1860s as a burial-ground for the San Diego Barracks –simply known as "Post Cemetery, San Diego Barracks (Point Loma)". When the fort was established a few years later, it became known as Fort Rosecrans Post Cemetery and was so designated until 1934 when it became Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

Originally about one acre in size, it now is over forty times that size. Today, Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery serves as the final resting place for thousands of veterans of the Armed Forces who answered the call of duty in the nation's service. Included among this number are 22 Medal of Honor recipients. Of the Medal recipients honored at Fort Rosecrans, three served in the Army, 12 in the Navy, and six in the Marine Corps. Medal recipients span military history itself –including the Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, the U.S. intervention in the Mexican revolution in 1914-1915, the explosion of the USS Bennington in San Diego Harbor in 1905, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
Yet this century-old cemetery is also a part of California's early military history. It is the burial place that pays homage to the men who fell at the battle of San Pasqual, whose efforts during the Mexican War helped to bring about the admission of California to the United States.

Inside the stone wall of the original area lies the remains of the soldiers of the First Dragoons who were killed on December 6, 1846, at San Pasqual. A granite boulder from this battlefield bears a bronze plaque with the names of the soldiers who were killed there, while nearby are the graves of the two company commanders, Captain. Benjamin D. Moore and his brother-in-law, 2nd Lieutenant. Thomas C. Hammond, killed while leading the attack. Also located nearby is the grave of Albert B. Smith, who is credited with spiking the Mexican guns at the Old Town Presidio during that war and who nailed the American flag to the flagpole in the Plaza, while under fire by Mexican snipers.
Medal of Honor Recipients Buried at Fort Rosecrans
The following is a list of the 22 Medal of Honor recipients buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

Indian Campaigns
Mason Carter, Major, U.S. Army
(1834 - 1909)
The first Medal of Honor recipient to be interned at Fort Rosecrans, Major Mason Carter, U.S. Army, was buried there on December 11, 1909. Carter served in the Civil War and earned the Medal of Honor as a first lieutenant leading a charge under fire during the Indian Campaigns in 1877.
Spanish-American War
John Edward Murphy, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy
(1869 - 1941)
Even though official records for heroism in the Spanish-American War are sparse, among the recipients of the Medal buried at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is Lieutenant John Edward Murphy, U.S. Navy. According to Navy records, John Edward Murphy was born in Ireland on May 3, 1869 and was 29 years old when he earned the Medal, "In connection with the sinking of the USS MERRIMAC at the entrance to the harbor of Santiago de Cuba, 2 June 1898. Despite heavy fire from the Spanish shore batteries, Murphy displayed extraordinary heroism throughout this operation." Lieutenant Murphy was also a Prisoner of War (POW) of that war. He was buried on April 9, 1941; Plot: Officer's Section Grave 363.
Philippine Insurrection
Major Henry F. Schroeder, U.S. Army
(1874 - 1959)
Little more is know about the heroics that earned Major Henry F. Schroeder, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor. Born on December 7, 1874, Henry F. Schroeder was awarded the Medal while serving as a Sergeant in Company L, 16th U.S. Infantry, at Carig, Philippine Islands, on September 14, 1900. The citation simply reads: "With 22 men defeated 400 insurgents, killing 36 and wounding 90." He died on January 26, 1959; Plot: Section S Grave 854
Explosion - USS Bennington - 1905
A tall granite obelisk marks the last resting place of the several American sailors who died in the boiler explosion aboard the USS BENNINGTON in San Diego harbor on July 21, 1905. The BENNINGTON, a 1700-ton gunboat of the Yorktown class, was commissioned in June 1891. She initially served in the Atlantic and European areas, and was transferred to the Pacific in 1894. Her active service was ended by a deadly boiler explosion on July 21, 1905. More than half of the ship's complement of men numbering 197, including officers and crew, were killed or injured in the explosion. According to Navy records, the total number of persons killed was 62, counting those killed outright and those that died within a short time following the incident. In addition, there were 40 men who were injured.
William Cronan, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy
(1883 - 1959)
William Cronan joins the select fraternity of U.S. Navy fighting men who have been bestowed the Medal of Honor by saving the lives of several of his fellow sailors. William Cronan, a 22-year-old boatswain mate, was awarded the Medal of Honor for service "above the call of duty" on January 5, 1906, for helping the injured and for flooding the gunboat to prevent the ammunition from exploding. He could have easily ignored the plight of his fellow sailors and swam safely to shore, but he didn't. He was one of 11 men from the BENNINGTON awarded the Medal of Honor. His Citation simply reads: "Serving on board the U.S.S. BENNINGTON, for extraordinary heroism displayed at the time of the explosion of a boiler of that vessel at San Diego, Calfornia., 21 July 1905." After a long career in the Navy, he retired as a Lieutenant Commander and was later buried on October 22, 1959; Plot: Section T Grave 534
Vera Cruz - 1914
Robert Simple, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy
(1887 - 1943)
Robert Simple was a 28 year-old Navy chief gunner when he earned his Medal. He was born on August 18, 1887, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His citation reads: "For meritorious service under fire on the occasion of the landing of the American naval forces at Vera Cruz (Mexico) on 21 April 1914. C.G. Semple was then attached to the U.S.S. FLORIDA as a chief turret captain." Robert Simple retired as a Lieutenant Commander. His other Navy awards includes the Navy Cross. He died on May 13, 1943, and was interned at Fort Rosecrans.
William Zuiderveld, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy
(1888 - 1978)
Awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914. Birth: Jan. 24, 1888; Death: February. 5, 1978; Plot: Section A-I Grave 9b.
Charles Francis Bishop, Chief Quartermaster, U.S. Navy
(1888 - 1954)
Awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914. Birth: August. 2, 1888; Death: February. 1, 1954; Plot: Section O Grave 4562.
Jesse Farley Dyer, Brigadier General, U.S. Marine Corps
(1877 - 1955)
Awarded the Medal of Honor "for distinguished conduct in battle, engagements of Vera Cruz, 21-22 April 1914; was in both days fighting at the head of his company and was eminent and conspicuous in his conduct, leading his men with skill and courage." Birth: December. 2, 1877 Death: Mar. 31, 1955; Plot: Section P Grave 1606.
Stuart Middleton Elliott, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy
(1872 - 1952)
Awarded the Medal of Honor "for distinguished conduct in battle, engagements of Vera Cruz, 21-22 April 1914. Surgeon Elliott was eminent and conspicuous in the efficient establishment and operation of the base hospital, and in his cool judgment and courage in supervising first-aid stations on the firing line and removing the wounded." Birth: October 16, 1872; Death: October 29, 1952; Plot: Section P Grave 2628.
World War I
Explosion - USS Pittsburgh - 1917
A similar incident occurred aboard the USS PITTSBURGH in which two men, Commander Willis Winter Bradley, Jr., U.S. Navy, and Seaman Ora "Pappy" Graves, U.S. Navy, were recognized with the Medal of Honor for heroic action when a saluting charge exploded aboard the USS PITTSBURGH while the cruiser steamed toward Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 23, 1917.
Willis Winter Bradley, Jr., Commander, U.S. Navy
(1884 - 1954)
Willis Winter Bradley was born in Ransomville, Niagara County, New York, on June 28, 1884. He moved with his parents to North Dakota in July 1884 and attended the public schools. Willis attended Hamlin University, St. Paul, Minneapolis, before attending the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. Graduated from the Naval Academy in 1906; during the First World War served as gunnery officer and as chief of the Explosives Section, Bureau of Ordnance, Navy Department. Willis Bradley was awarded the Medal of Honor for action while serving on the USS PITTSBURGH when he saved his ship on June 23, 1917, from considerable damage by extinguishing burning material near a large powder supply. He later became the military governor of Guam, 1929-1931; captain of the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, 1933-1935; attached to the Board of Inspection and Survey, Pacific Coast Section, 1940-1946. In 1946, Commander Willis W. Bradley, Jr., retired from the U.S. Navy because of physical incapacity incurred in line of duty. He took up residence in Long Beach, California, in 1931 and was elected as a Republican to the Eightieth Congress (January 3, 1947-January 3, 1949); assistant to the president of the Pacific Coast Steamship Co., 1949-1952; member of the State assembly from 1952 until his death on August 27, 1954 in Santa Barbara, California. Bradley was interned at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery; Plot: Section O Grave 2925.
World War I
Ora Graves, U.S. Navy
(1896 - 1961)
Seaman Ora "Pappy" Graves, U.S. Navy, was awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism on 23 July 1917, while on board the USS Pittsburgh. A 3-inch saluting charge exploded and he was blown to the deck, but soon recovered only to find burning waste on the deck, which he put out, knowing there was more powder there that might explode; Birth: July 26, 1896; Death: September 28, 1961; Plot: Section W Grave 1208.
Republic of Haiti - 1915 to 1934
Two Marines received the Medal of Honor for action during the "insurrection" in the Republic of Haiti, which led to the occupation of Haiti by the United States from 1915 to 1934
Linsey Iams, Major, U.S. Marine Corps
(1881 - 1952)
Major, US Marine Corps. Haitian Campaign - 1915. He unhesitatingly jumped through a breach in the wall of an old fort and engaged the enemy in desperate hand-to-hand combat until resistance was neutralized. Birth: May 5, 1881; Death: March 29, 1952; Plot: Section P Grave 2930
Herman Henry Hanneken, Brigadier General, U.S. Marine Corps
(1893 - 1986)
Medal of Honor recipient during the Haitian Campaign, 31 October - 1 November 1919. Lieutenant. Hanneken distinguished himself and with extraordinary heroism in the killing, capture and dispersal of 1,200 followers of Charlemagne Peralte, the supreme bandit chief (who himself was killed). Birth: June 23, 1893; Death: August 23, 1986; Plot: Section C Grave 1166-c.
World War II
Four Navy officers who earned the Medal of Honor during World War II are buried at Fort Rosecrans; two of them killed in action.
Herbert Charpoit Jones, Ensign, U.S. Navy
(1918 - 1941)
Ensign, USN. Medal of Honor. Fatally wounded while he was leading a party of men to supply ammunition to others on board the U.S.S. California (7 December 1941). He was stationed aboard the USS California when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7, 1941. He would have celebrated his 23rd birthday the following Sunday. Birth: Jan. 21, 1918; Death: December. 7, 1941; Plot: Section G Grave 76.
Albert LeRoy David, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy
(1902 - 1945)
Lieutenant, USN awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in risking his life to boarding and capturing a German submarine (U-505) of the coast of Africa on 4 June 1944. This was the first successful boarding and capture of an enemy man-of-war on the high seas by the US Navy since 1815. Birth: July 18, 1902; Death: September 17, 1945; Plot: Section O Grave 125a.
James Lewis Day, Major General, U.S. Marine Corps
(1925 - 1998)
Medal of Honor recipient. He received his Medal on January 20, 1998, more than a half century after he was recommended for his role in the May 1945 battle for Sugar Loaf Hill on the Japanese island of Okinawa. He fought virtually alone for two days and nights and killed more than 100 enemy soldiers. He later became a major general. He received 31 other decorations. Birth: October. 5, 1925; Death: October. 28, 1998; Plot: Section P Grave 1748.
Donald Arthur Gary, Commander, U.S. Navy
(1903 - 1977)
Lieutenant, USN awarded the Medal of Honor for his selfless efforts as an engineering officer aboard USS Franklin, near Kobe, Japan, who risked his life in rescuing fellow crewman from their damaged ship and then lead fire fighting parties into blazing infernos in an effort to save his ship. Birth: July 23, 1903; Death: April 9, 1977; Plot: Section A1 Grave 3b.
Korean War
James I. Poynter, Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
(1916 - 1950)
Marine Sergeant, who was awarded the Medal of Honor. While under attack in Korea, he observed three machine guns moving in. He dashed from his position with hand grenades, charged the emplacement, killing the crew of two and putting the third out of action before he fell, mortally wounded. His squad was then able to repel the enemy. 39, was killed in action in bitter hand-to-hand fighting while defending Hill 532 south of Sudong, South Korea, on November 4, 1950. Birth: December 1, 1916; Death: November 4, 1950; Plot: Section O Grave 729
Vietnam War
Four men interred at Fort Rosecrans were heroes of the Vietnam War. These are Sergeant Anund C. Roark, U.S. Army; Staff Sergeant Peter S. Connor, U.S. Marine Corps; and Captain Michael J. Estocin, U.S. Navy.
Anund Charles Roark, Sergeant, U.S. Army
Anund C. Roark was born on February 17, 1948, at Vallejo, California. He entered the U.S. Army in Los Angeles. On May 16, 1968, at Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, Sergeant Roark as part of Company C, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, when he hurled himself on a grenade to save his comrades. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. The presentation was made to his family at the White House by President Richard M. Nixon on April 7, 1970. Birth: February 17, 1948; Death: May 16, 1968; Plot: Section O Grave 1855.
Peter Spencer Connor, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
Peter Connor was awarded the Medal of Honor for action on February 25, 1966, in the Quang Ngai Province of the Republic of Vietnam as part of Company F, 2d Battalion, 3d Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein) in which he hurled himself on a grenade to save his comrades. The presentation was made to his family at the White House by President Lyndon B. Johnson on May 2, 1967; He is listed as being Killed In Action but died on Hospital Ship USS Repose. Birth: September 4, 1932; Death: March 8, 1966; Plot: Section A-e Grave 1005.
Michael J. Estocin, Captain, U.S. Navy
(1931 - 1967)
US Navy pilot, awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry for relentlessly attacking the enemy in the face of intense enemy antiaircraft and missile fire. Birth: April 27, 1931; Death: April 26, 1967; Plot: Section Ma Site 112.
Jimmie Earl Howard, Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
(1929 - 1993)

Gunnery Sergeant Howard was awarded the Medal of Honor for valiant leadership and courageous fighting spirit that served to inspire the men of his platoon to heroic endeavor in the face of overwhelming odds while fighting in Vietnam 16 June 1966. Birth: July 27, 1929; Death: November 12, 1993; Plot: Section O Grave 3759.
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Updated 8 February 2016