Executive Director of the Office of Army Cemeteries visits Fort Riley Post Cemetery

By Kaitlin KnauerSeptember 10, 2021

From left to right, Renea Yates, Director of the Office of Army Cemeteries, and Karen Durham-Aguilera, Executive Director of the Office of Army Cemeteries, tour the post cemetery with Kevin Griffin, Fort Riley Post Cemetery Supervisor, Jeffrey Williamson, Fort Riley Director of Public Works, and Sgt. Maj. Patrick D. Thomas, the Office of Army Cemeteries at Fort Riley, Kansas, Sep. 2, 2021.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – From left to right, Renea Yates, Director of the Office of Army Cemeteries, and Karen Durham-Aguilera, Executive Director of the Office of Army Cemeteries, tour the post cemetery with Kevin Griffin, Fort Riley Post Cemetery Supervisor, Jeffrey Williamson, Fort Riley Director of Public Works, and Sgt. Maj. Patrick D. Thomas, the Office of Army Cemeteries at Fort Riley, Kansas, Sep. 2, 2021. (Photo Credit: Kaitlin Knauer) VIEW ORIGINAL
Lt. Col. Scott R. Tasler, inspector with the Office of Army Cemeteries, and Norman Creek, cemetery representative with the Office of Army Cemeteries, capture information from existing headstones to update the research tool database at Fort Riley, Kansas, Sept. 2, 2021.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Lt. Col. Scott R. Tasler, inspector with the Office of Army Cemeteries, and Norman Creek, cemetery representative with the Office of Army Cemeteries, capture information from existing headstones to update the research tool database at Fort Riley, Kansas, Sept. 2, 2021. (Photo Credit: Kaitlin Knauer) VIEW ORIGINAL

Karen Durham-Aguilera, Executive Director of the Office of Army Cemeteries, and Renea Yates, Director of the Office of Army Cemeteries, visited the Fort Riley Post Cemetery in support of the Enterprise Interment Services System initiative at Fort Riley, Kansas, Sept. 2.

The visit is in support of the Enterprise Interment Services System, a national database intended to streamline maintenance and operational processes from grounds keeping to repairing and replacing grave markers. Yates recognized Fort Riley as an ideal installation to visit due to the cemetery’s variety of headstones, tablets and other grave markers.

“When you look across the cemetery, they have almost every type of marker that we need to be able to order in the EISS. And this is one of the things that makes them very unique,” explained Yates.

The Fort Riley Post Cemetery maintains graves dating back to 1855. The EISS would greatly improve maintenance and operations, especially when the unexpected occurs.

Kevin Griffin, Fort Riley Post Cemetery Supervisor, explained how a prairie fire in the late 1800s destroyed wooden grave markers and the cemeterian, with the help of locals, replaced the markers to the best of their knowledge. EISS prevents issues such as this from happening again in the future, as it maintains exact grave locations and photographs of the grave markers.

“Families will one day be able to see the headstones online,” said Yates.

Military service members are not the only people buried in the Fort Riley Post Cemetery. Family members including infants who died from a cholera epidemic and others from effects of Agent Orange, Confederate States of America soldiers and prisoners of war from Germany and Italy are buried in the cemetery. In the 1990s, the Japanese government chose to bring their prisoners of war interred at Fort Riley Post Cemetery back to Japan.

“It’s our job to maintain the graves in our cemeteries, no matter who the person was,” said Durham-Aguilera.