You probably know the US military has bases all over the world. And you may know that the US gave up some in Germany as part of the new emphasis on Africa.
What do you think those bases have after we leave?
I never thought about it. I assumed the US left and maybe it became a stadium or a mall or whatever the host country wanted.
Clark Air Base Cemetery was Senator Ayotte's concern. This was a US base in the Philippines, 1903-1991. What did the US leave behind?
Ayotte explained it was over 8300 United States service members and their dependents who are buried there.
I never thought of that. You probably did. I didn't. I wouldn't have assumed there would be burials on bases outside the US.
This is an issue people should be considering. Because as the US' empire focus shifts, some bases are dropped and others added.
And these are leases, not owned land.
Why did it stop being a US base?
Senator Kelly Ayotte: In 1991, the United States abandoned Clark Air Force Base in the wake of a volcanic eruption. And after 90 years of maintaining custodialship the United States also unfortunately abandoned the graves of these brave Americans leaving them unattended under a thick layer of ash. Over the next few years, the condition of the cemetery worsened leaving the graves of our courageous veterans in an unacceptable state.
She thanked Dennis Wright and other private citizens who had worked to keep it up on their own.
So what's the answer?
She's proposing S. 2320:
To direct the American Battle Monuments Commission to provide for the ongoing maintenance of Clark Veterans Cemetery in the Republic of the Philippines, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘Remembering America’s Forgotten Veterans Cemetery Act of 2012’.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) Clark Veterans Cemetery, located in the Republic of the Philippines, contains the remains of more than 8,300 members of the United States Armed Forces and their dependents.
(2) In 1991, following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, the Air Force evacuated Clark Air Force Base ending more than 90 years of custodianship of Clark Veterans Cemetery and its predecessor cemeteries by the United States Government.
(3) From 1991 until 1994, Clark Veterans Cemetery, already covered by a layer of volcanic ash, deteriorated further as plant life overtook what remained of many graves and monuments, failing to give the members of the Armed Forces and veterans interred at Clark Veterans Cemetery the honorable resting place their brave service deserves.
(4) Since 1994, volunteers have attempted to maintain Clark Veterans Cemetery without assistance from the United States Government.
(5) The mission of the American Battle Monuments Commission is ‘designing, constructing, operating and maintaining permanent American cemeteries in foreign countries’.
(6) Subsection (a) of
section 2102 of title 36, United States Code,
provides the Commission with the authority to employ such personnel as
may be necessary for the Commission to carry out its responsibilities
with respect to Clark Veteran Cemetery.
(7) Subsection (b) of such section authorizes departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States Government to make personnel and facilities available to the Commission, on a reimbursable basis, to assist the Commission in carrying out its responsibilities with respect to Clark Veterans Cemetery.
(8) Section 2103(e) of such title authorizes the Commission to solicit and receive funds and in-kind donations and gifts from any State, municipal, or private source to help carry out its responsibilities with respect to Clark Veterans Cemetery.
SEC. 3. MAINTENANCE OF CLARK VETERANS CEMETERY BY AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION.
(a) In General- For purposes of
section 2104 of title 36, United States Code,
Clark Veterans Cemetery in the Republic of the Philippines shall be
treated as a cemetery that the American Battle Monuments Commission and
the Secretary of the Army decided under such section will become a
permanent cemetery and the Commission shall restore, operate, and
maintain Clark Veterans Cemetery under such section in cooperation with
the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.
(b) Funding- The requirement of subsection (a) for the American Battle Monuments Commission to restore, operate, and maintain Clark Veterans Cemetery shall be subject to the availability of appropriations for the restoration, operation, and maintenance of cemeteries by the American Battle Monuments Commission.
I would argue we shouldn't have bases all over the world. I would also argue that when we sign (or renew an existing) lease, we should have a clause in there about any grave sights.
And now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"