Information on:

National Cemetery Administration

1601 Boundary Street
843-524-3925

VA History

The United States has the most comprehensive system of assistance for veterans of any nation in the world. This benefits system traces its roots back to 1636, when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony were at war with the Pequot Indians. The Pilgrims passed a law which stated that disabled soldiers would be supported by the colony.

The Continental Congress of 1776 encouraged enlistments during the Revolutionary War by providing pensions for soldiers who were disabled. Direct medical and hospital care given to veterans in the early days of the Republic was provided by the individual States and communities. In 1811, the first domiciliary and medical facility for veterans was authorized by the Federal Government. In the 19th century, the Nation's veterans assistance program was expanded to include benefits and pensions not only for veterans, but also their widows and dependents.

After the Civil War, many State veterans homes were established. Since domiciliary care was available at all State veterans homes, incidental medical and hospital treatment was provided for all injuries and diseases, whether or not of service origin. Indigent and disabled veterans of the Civil War, Indian Wars, Spanish-American War, and Mexican Border period as well as discharged regular members of the Armed Forces were cared for at these homes.

Congress established a new system of veterans benefits when the United States entered World War I in 1917. Included were programs for disability compensation, insurance for service persons and veterans, and vocational rehabilitation for the disabled. By the 1920s, the various benefits were administered by three different Federal agencies: the Veterans Bureau, the Bureau of Pensions of the Interior Department, and the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.

The establishment of the Veterans Administration came in 1930 when Congress authorized the President to "consolidate and coordinate Government activities affecting war veterans." The three component agencies became bureaus within the Veterans Administration. Brigadier General Frank T. Hines, who directed the Veterans Bureau for seven years, was named as the first Administrator of Veterans Affairs, a job he held until 1945.

The VA health care system has grown from 54 hospitals in 1930, to include 152 hospitals; 800 community based outpatient clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 domiciliaries. VA health care facilities provide a broad spectrum of medical, surgical, and rehabilitative care. The responsibilities and benefits programs of the Veterans Administration grew enormously during the following six decades. World War II resulted in not only a vast increase in the veteran population, but also in large number of new benefits enacted by the Congress for veterans of the war. The World War II GI Bill, signed into law on June 22, 1944, is said to have had more impact on the American way of life than any law since the Homestead Act of 1862. Further educational assistance acts were passed for the benefit of veterans of the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam Era, Persian Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

In 1973, the Veterans Administration assumed another major responsibility when the National Cemetery System (except for Arlington National Cemetery) was transferred to the Veterans Administration from the Department of the Army. The Agency was charged with the operation of the National Cemetery System, including the marking of graves of all persons in national and State cemeteries (and the graves of veterans in private cemeteries, upon request) as well and administering the State Cemetery Grants Program. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was established as a Cabinet-level position on March 15, 1989. President Bush hailed the creation of the new Department saying, "There is only one place for the veterans of America, in the Cabinet Room, at the table with the President of the United States of America."

In 2009, President Obama appointed Secretary Eric K. Shinseki to lead a massive transformation of the VA into a high-performing 21st century organization that can better serve Veterans. Under the leadership of Secretary Shinseki, the VA has adopted three guiding principles to govern the changes underway, namely being people-centric, results-driven, and forward-looking. These principles are reflected in the 16 major initiatives that serve as a platform from which transformation is being executed.

The 16 major initiatives are:

-Eliminating Veteran homelessness

-Enabling 21st century benefits delivery and services

-Automating GI Bill benefits

-Creating Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record

-Improving Veterans' mental health

-Building Veterans Relationship Management capability to enable convenient, seamless interactions

-Designing a Veteran-centric health care model to help Veterans navigate the health care delivery system and receive coordinated care

-Enhancing the Veteran experience and access to health care

-Ensuring preparedness to meet emergent national needs

-Developing capabilities and enabling systems to drive performance and outcomes.

-Establishing strong VA management infrastructure and integrated operating model

-Transforming human capital management

-Performing research and development to enhance the long-term health and well-being of Veterans

-Optimizing the utilization of VA's Capital portfolio by implementing and executing the Strategic Capital Investment Planning (SCIP) process

-Improving the quality of health care while reducing cost

-Transforming health care delivery through health informatics



Reviews

Ash Barton

Rating:
Saturday, July 21, 2018
A fitting resting place to honor our veterans. Final resting place of Ralph Henry Johnson, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. A beautiful and haunting cemetery.

David Johnson

Rating:
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Feels like and looks like a place the Lord has touched Arthur R Hanson/Ransom my father rests in peace here thank you for looking after him David Marlene & Family

Derek Black

Rating:
Sunday, June 3, 2018
Great place other then being closed on Sundays

Michael Hogue

Rating:
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016
My wife & I visited the Beaufort National Cemetery and found it very nicely laid out and well maintained. The custodian was very helpful. Because this is a military cemetery the graves are, of course, very uniform; however, on the "back" of many you can find some good quotes, such as "Did it my way" and "Gone Fishing", as well as one which said "Gone to Hell". G.I.'s & soldiers have such a sense of humor, and I am for some the quote were not ones they chose - instead they were chose for them either randomly by some V.A. official, or family to best represent the soldier. Expect very hot and muggy conditions from late spring to late fall, and DO bring mosquito repellent as the beautiful live oaks pretty much stifle any breeze. Also take a wander outside the cemetery & patrol the perimeter to find some wonderful examples of old Southern architecture. Across the street facing the cemetery in a little neck of woods is another old cemetery, not very well maintained, if maintained at all. A civilian construction, it is well worth the photo hound's or gravestone rubbing enthusiast.

Joseph Wheatley

Rating:
Monday, Feb. 5, 2018
Very well kept and historic national cemetery

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