Exploration & Space Figures

Prominent Explorers

Floyd Bennett - Co-pilot with Richard Byrd in 1926, when they completed a 1,500-mile flight to the North Pole. Medal of Honor recipient. (Section 3, site 1852)

Adm. Richard Byrd - Arctic explorer and first man to fly over both poles. He was awarded the Medal of Honor. (Section 2, site 4969)

Adolphus W. Greely - Arctic explorer who survived two years of Arctic winters without being resupplied in 1881. Founder of the National Geographic Society, he was awarded the Medal of Honor when he was 91 years old. (Section 1, site 129)

Matthew Henson - Life-long companion and co-discoverer with Robert E. Peary of the North Pole. (Section 8, site 15)

Robert E. Peary - Arctic explorer credited for many years as the discoverer of the North Pole. Peary was granted the rank of rear admiral by Congress. (Section 8, site S-15)

John Wesley Powell - First person to explore the Grand Canyon in 1869. Powell was also a geologist and a native-American linguist. (Section 1, site 408 L-35)

Finn Ronne - Polar explorer, discovered the Ronne Ice Shelf, which was named after him. (Section 2, site 4957)

Cmdr. Elmer Stone - Coast Guard pilot who was co-pilot of the first transatlantic flight in May 1919. (Section 4, site 3205-A)

Adm. Charles Wilkes - Antarctic explorer who led expedition resulting in the discovery that Antarctica is a separate continent. Was a Civil War naval commander. (Section 2, site1164)

Astronauts

Astronauts buried at Arlington National Cemetery:

Collage of Astronauts
Columbia Space Shuttle Memorial, Astronaut Pete Conrad, Challenger Space Shuttle Memorial.

Retired U.S. Navy Capt. David M. Walker, was interred with full military honors May 24, 2001. Capt. Walker died April 23 while under a course of treatment for cancer. He was 56 years old. The former Navy test pilot logged 725 hours in space, including command of the five-day mission in May 1989 of the space shuttle Discovery to launch the highly successful Magellan Venus probe. He went on to command two more shuttle flights. (Section 66, site 5191)

Capt. Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr., U.S. Navy, was interred July 19, 1999. Capt. Conrad died July 8 in Ojai Valley, Calif., from injuries incurred in a motorcycle accident. The third man to walk on the moon in the Nov. 14 to 24, 1969, Apollo 12 mission, which he commanded, Conrad was buried with full military honors, to include an F-14 aircraft flyover. (Section 11, site 113-3)

Retired Marine Col. Robert F. Overmyer, was interred March 22, 1996. Overmyer piloted STS-5, the first fully operational flight of the space shuttle, Nov. 11, 1982, when the Payload Assist Module was first used, launching two commercial satellites. He commanded STS 51-B, a Spacelab mission, in 1985. After serving on the inquiry panel following the Challenger disaster, Overmyer retired from the military and died in the crash of an experimental civilian aircraft he was test piloting. He was 59. (Section 23, site 22469)

Col. Stuart A. Roosa, U.S. Air Force, was interred Dec. 15, 1994 with full military honors, including a flyover, following a 9:45 a.m. chapel mass. Col. Roosa was the pilot of the command ship on the Apollo 14 moon mission. (Section 7-A, site 73)

Col. James Benson Irwin, U.S. Air Force, was interred August 15, 1991. Col. Irwin, former Apollo 15 astronaut, died of a heart attack Aug. 8, 1991, in Glenwood Springs, Colo. He was buried with full Air Force honors. (Section 3, site 2503-G-2)

Rear Adm. S. David Griggs, U.S. Navy Reserve, was interred June 21, 1989. Rear Adm. Griggs was killed June 17, 1989, in an aircraft crash. He had been scheduled for a space shuttle mission later in 1989. He was buried with full Navy honors after a memorial service at the Old Post Chapel at Fort Myer. (Section 7A, site 81)

Col. Donn F. Eisele, U.S. Air Force, was interred Dec. 9, 1987. Col. Eisele, former Apollo 7 astronaut, died of a heart attack on Dec. 1, 1987, in Tokyo. He was buried with full Air Force Honors at 3 p.m., after a memorial service at the Old Post Chapel at Fort Myer. (Section 3, site 2503-G-1)

Lt. Cmdr. Stephen D. Thorne, U.S. Navy, was interred: May 30, 1986, Section 7A, Grave 135. Lt. Cmdr. Thorne was killed in an airplane crash on May 24, 1986, at Galveston, Texas. A Navy full-honor funeral (with flyover) was conducted at the Old Post Chapel at Fort Myer.

Lt. Col. Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, U.S. Air Force, was interred May 19, 1986. Lt. Col. Scobee was killed in the Jan. 28, 1986, explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. An Air Force full-honor memorial service was held at the Old Post Chapel at Fort Myer. (Section 46, site 1129-4)

Capt. Michael J. Smith, U.S. Navy, was interred May 3, 1986. Capt. Smith was killed in the Jan. 28, 1986, explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. A Navy full-honor memorial service took place at the Old Post Chapel at Fort Myer. (Section 7A, site 208-1)

Maj. Clifton C. Williams, Jr., U.S. Marine Corps, was interred Oct. 9, 1967. Maj. Williams was killed in a plane crash Oct. 5, 1967 near the Florida-Georgia border. (Section 3, site 2503-H-1)

Lt. Cmdr. Roger B. Chaffee, U.S. Navy, was interred Jan. 31, 1967. (Section 3, site 2502-F)
Lt. Col. Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, U.S. Air Force, was interred Jan. 31, 1967. (Section 3, site 2503-E)

Lt. Col. Grissom and Lt. Cmdr. Chaffee were killed Jan. 27, 1967, in a fire aboard their Apollo spacecraft at Cape Canaveral, Fla. The two men are buried next to one another and received full military honors. President Lyndon B. Johnson presented the flags to the next of kin.
Lt. Col. Edward H. White the third crew member killed in the fire, is buried at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.

Maj. Charles A. Bassett, II, U.S. Air Force, was interred March 4, 1966. (Section 4, site 195)
Cmdr. Elliot McKay See, Jr., U.S. Navy Reserve, was interred March 4, 1966. (Section 4, site 208)

Cmdr. See, Jr., and Maj. Bassett, II, were killed in a plane crash at Lambert Field, St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 28, 1966. They were buried with full honors.

Capt. Theodore C. Freeman, U.S. Air Force, was interred November 4, 1964. Capt. Freeman was killed Oct. 31, 1964, when his T38 jet crashed on a training flight. (Section 4, Grave 3148)

Four of the astronauts (Smith, Griggs, Conrad and Roosa) have privately purchased headstones. The others have regulation government headstones, some with the designation of astronaut, others not.

Astronauts Walker, Conrad, Jr., Overmyer, Scobee, Eisele, Grissom, Roosa, Irwin and Griggs had flown space missions prior to their death. The other six died before getting into space.

Also buried at Arlington National Cemetery are the unidentified, commingled, partial remains of the seven astronauts who died aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger Jan. 28, 1986:

  • Capt. Michael J. Smith, U.S. Navy
  • Lt. Col. Francis R. Scobee, U.S. Air Force
  • Dr. Judith A. Resnik
  • Lt. Col. Ellison S. Onizuka, U.S. Air Force
  • Mr. Gregory B. Jarvis
  • Dr. Ronald E. McNair
  • Mrs. Sharon Christa McAuliffe

The seven Challenger astronauts are memorialized at Section 46, Grid O-24, near the Memorial Amphitheater.

Capt. David M. Brown, U.S. Navy, was interred March 12, 2003. (Section 46, site1180-3)
Capt. Laurel Blair Salton Clark, M.D., U.S. Navy, was interred March 10, 2003. (Section 46, site1180-2)
Lt. Col. Michael P. Anderson, U.S. Air Force, was interred March 7, 2003. (Section 46, site 1180-1)

Brown, Clark and Anderson died on February 1, 2003 over the southern United States when Space Shuttle Columbia and its seven crew members perished during entry, 16 minutes prior to scheduled landing. A memorial to the Columbia crew stands near their grave sites.

Back to top