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The USS Serpens Memorial At
Arlington National Cemetery

The largest group burial at Arlington National Cemetery took place on June 15, 1949,
   when 250 men from the USS Serpens were interred in 52 caskets.

These men were killed on the night of Jan. 29, 1945, when the U.S. Coast Guard ammunition ship exploded and sank at Lunga Beach, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.

This catastrophe  was the single greatest disaster suffered by the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II,  and cost the lives of 193 Coast Guardsmen, 56 soldiers and one U.S. Public Health Service surgeon.

There were 30 grave sites set aside for the burials, arranged in five rows of six graves each. The 52 caskets were buried in 28 graves. Two grave sites in  the center of the block of 30 were reserved for the octagonal memorial on which all names were inscribed.


Photo Courtesy of Ron Williams

Page Updated: 30 April 2000
Updated: 21 March 2003