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Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery Welcome Screen

How to Read a Latin Cross

FIRST & LAST NAME:On the first row is the full name of the individual. 

RANK:On the second line is the individual's rank. 

UNIT INFO: On the second line, following rank, is the individual's unit info.

Unit abbreviations:

  • ARMD – Armored
  • BN – Battalion
  • CAV – Cavalry
  • DIV – Division
  • FA – Field Artillery
  • INF – Infantry Regiment
  • SQ – Squadron

STATE: On the third row is listed the state from which the individual enlisted. 

Note: this may not be the state that they are from. 

DIED ON: On the third row after state is listed the individual's date of death.

AWARDS: Below the apex of the cross are listed the awards and honors that the individual received. Some that you may encounter at the cemetery may include: 

  • The Medal of Honor is the United States' highest honor for valor in combat. It is designated by gold embossment of the headstone text with "Medal of Honor" written vertically down the center of the headstone.
  • The Distinguished Service Crossis designated by the abbreviation D.S.C. It is the second highest honor that can be awarded to a member of the U.S. Army.
  • The Navy Cross is the equivalent of the Distinguished Service Cross for the U.S. Navy. 
  • The Silver Star is the third highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Armed Forces for valor in combat. It is awarded for gallantry in action. 
  • The Bronze Star is the fourth-highest military award bestowed on an individual for acts of heroism in a combat zone.
  • The Purple Heart is the U.S. military decoration that is awarded to those who are wounded or killed in action in the name of the President.

The Grave Numberis listed at the base of the headstone.

At ABMC WWI cemeteries some headstones include personal inscriptions on the back.