Free Republic
Browse · Search
VetsCoR
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER (Interesting Facts)

Posted on 04/28/2004 5:20:41 PM PDT by SandRat

TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER

Interesting facts about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Sentinels of the Third United States Infantry Regiment "Old Guard"

Q: How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns and why?

A: 21 steps. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

Q: How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why?

A: 21 seconds, for the same reason as answer number 1.

Q: Why are his gloves wet?

A: His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

Q: Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time, and if not, why not?

A: No, he carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

Q: How often are the guards changed?

A: Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

Q: What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?

A: For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5' 10" and 6' 2" tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30".

Other requirements of the Guard:

They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. They cannot swear in public FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES and cannot disgrace the uniform {fighting} or the tomb in any way.

After TWO YEARS, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.

The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt. There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror.

The first SIX MONTHS of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch TV. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Among the notables are: President Taft, Joe E. Lewis {the boxer} and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy, {the most decorated soldier of WWII} of Hollywood fame. Every guard spends FIVE HOURS A DAY getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.

The Sentinels Creed:

My dedication to this sacred duty is total and wholehearted. In the responsibility bestowed on me never will I falter. And with dignity and perseverance my standard will remain perfection. Through the years of diligence and praise and the discomfort of the elements, I will walk my tour in humble reverence to the best of my ability. It is he who commands the respect I protect. His bravery that made us so proud. Surrounded by well meaning crowds by day alone in the thoughtful peace of night, this soldier will in honored glory rest under my eternal vigilance.

More Interesting facts about the Tomb of the Unknowns itself:

The marble for the Tomb of the Unknowns was furnished by the Vermont Marble Company of Danby, Vt. The marble is the finest and whitest of American marble, quarried from the Yule Marble Quarry located near Marble, Colorado and is called Yule Marble. The Marble for the Lincoln memorial and other famous buildings was also quarried there.

The Tomb consists of seven pieces of rectangular marble: Four pieces in sub base; weight Â- 15 tons;

One piece in base or plinth; weight Â- 16 tons;

One piece in die; weight Â- 36 tons;

One piece in cap; weight Â- 12 tons;

Carved on the East side (the front of the Tomb, which faces Washington, D.C.) is a composite of three figures, commemorative of the spirit of the Allies of World War I.

In the center of the panel stands Victory (female).

On the right side, a male figure symbolizes Valor.

On the left side stands Peace, with her palm branch to reward the devotion and sacrifice that went with courage to make the cause of righteousness triumphant.

The north and south sides are divided into three panels by Doric pilasters. In each panel is an inverted wreath.

On the west, or rear, panel (facing the Amphitheater) is inscribed:

HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD

The first Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was a sub base and a base or plinth. It was slightly smaller than the present base. This was torn away when the present Tomb was started Aug. 27, 1931. The Tomb was completed and the area opened to the public 9:15 a.m. April 9, 1932, without any ceremony.

Cost of the Tomb: $48,000

Sculptor: Thomas Hudson Jones

Architect: Lorimer Rich

Contractors: Hagerman & Harris, New York City

Inscription: Author Unknown

(Interesting Commentary)

The Third Infantry Regiment at Fort Myer has the responsibility for providing ceremonial units and honor guards for state occasions, White House social functions, public celebrations and interments at Arlington National Cemetery and standing a very formal sentry watch at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

The public is familiar with the precision of what is called "walking post" at the Tomb. There are roped off galleries where visitors can form to observe the troopers and their measured step and almost mechanically, silent rifle shoulder changes. They are relieved every hour in a very formal drill that has to be seen to be believed.

Some people think that when the Cemetery is closed to the public in the evening that this show stops. First, to the men who are dedicated to this work, it is no show. It is a "charge of honor." The formality and precision continues uninterrupted all night. During the nighttime, the drill of relief and the measured step of the on-duty sentry remain unchanged from the daylight hours. To these men, these special men, the continuity of this post is the key to the honor and respect shown to these honored dead, symbolic of all unaccounted for American combat dead. The steady rhythmic step in rain, sleet, snow, hail, heat and cold must be uninterrupted. Uninterrupted is the important part of the honor shown.

Recently, while you were sleeping, the teeth of hurricane Isabel came through this area and tore hell out of everything. We had thousands of trees down, power outages, traffic signals out, roads filled with downed limbs and "gear adrift" debris. We had flooding and the place looked like it had been the impact area of an off-shore bombardment.

The Regimental Commander of the U.S. Third Infantry sent word to the nighttime Sentry Detail to secure the post and seek shelter from the high winds, to ensure their personal safety.

THEY DISOBEYED THE ORDER!

During winds that turned over vehicles and turned debris into projectiles, the measured step continued. One fellow said "I've got buddies getting shot at in Iraq who would kick my butt if word got to them that we let them down. I sure as hell have no intention of spending my Army career being known as the damned idiot who couldn't stand a little light breeze and shirked his duty." Then he said something in response to a female reporters question regarding silly purposeless personal risk... "I wouldn't expect you to understand. It's an enlisted man's thing." God bless the rascal... In a time in our nation's history when spin and total b.s. seem to have become the accepted coin-of-the-realm, there beat hearts - the enlisted hearts we all knew and were so damn proud to be a part of - that fully understand that devotion to duty is not a part-time occupation. While we slept, we were represented by some damn fine men who fully understood their post orders and proudly went about their assigned responsibilities unseen, unrecognized and in the finest tradition of the American Enlisted Man. Folks, there's hope. The spirit that George S. Patton, Arliegh Burke and Jimmy Doolittle left us ... survives.

On the ABC evening news, it was reported recently that, because of the dangers from Hurricane Isabel approaching Washington, DC, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment. They refused. "No way, Sir!"

Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment; it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a service person. The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

Very, very proud of our soldiers in uniform


TOPICS: VetsCoR
KEYWORDS: oldgaurd; soldier
Thank God for those magnificent young American men and now women.
1 posted on 04/28/2004 5:20:42 PM PDT by SandRat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Ragtime Cowgirl; MJY1288; xzins; Calpernia; TEXOKIE; Alamo-Girl; windchime; Grampa Dave; ...
3rd Infantry Regiment TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER
2 posted on 04/28/2004 5:21:49 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
My husband and I took our sons to DC several years ago...this is a must see....we all stood in silence...in awe.
3 posted on 04/28/2004 5:34:09 PM PDT by mystery-ak (*They are all Pat Tillman's*........Rushl)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
Amazing.
4 posted on 04/28/2004 5:42:28 PM PDT by Diva Betsy Ross (Every heart beats true for the red ,white and blue!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mystery-ak
Before 9/11, our HS had a long standing tradition of a senior class trip to DC and NYC. Among our stops on these trips would be for our class to place a wreath at the Tomb. Both myself (class of '95) and my husband ('class of '96) attended these trips.
5 posted on 04/28/2004 5:44:59 PM PDT by Severa (Wife of Freeper Hostel, USN STS3(SS))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
Bump!
6 posted on 04/28/2004 7:33:55 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
BUMP!
7 posted on 04/29/2004 2:48:55 AM PDT by radu (May God watch over our troops and keep them safe)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
Great info!
8 posted on 04/29/2004 8:10:21 AM PDT by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got four years to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
Bump
9 posted on 05/01/2004 12:08:47 AM PDT by SAMWolf (War is God's way of teaching us geography)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
While I generally disregard regular Army pukes, I bow to the warrior-studs guarding the Tomb! I remember standing my post on Guard at P.I. when Gloria ripped through, it was NOT fun but we did it. Know their pain, the rain felt like needles.

BRAVO ZULU GENTS!
10 posted on 05/06/2004 9:51:32 AM PDT by gunnygail
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
Bookmarked!
11 posted on 05/06/2004 10:41:13 AM PDT by Professional Engineer (Distinguished drop-out of the Why the Heck Should I Care School of Society.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
Most interesting.
12 posted on 05/07/2004 8:57:01 PM PDT by Ciexyz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
Interesting, but wrong. I'm all for supporting the troops, I'm a vet myself, but please do so accurately.

From the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier FAQ site (http://www.tombguard.org/FAQ.html)



How long does the Sentinel hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time, and if not, why not?

He does not execute an about face. He stops on the 21st step, then turns and faces the Tomb for 21 seconds. Then he turns to face back down the mat, changes his weapon to the outside shoulder, counts 21 seconds, then steps off for another 21 step walk down the mat. He faces the Tomb at each end of the 21 step walk for 21 seconds. The Sentinel then repeats this over and over until he is relieved at the Guard Change.

Is it true they must commit 2 years of life to guard the Tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives?

No, this is a false rumor. The average tour at the Tomb is about a year. There is NO set time for service there. The Sentinels live either in a barracks on Ft. Myer (the Army post located adjacent to the cemetery) or off base if they like. They do have living quarters under the steps of the amphitheater where they stay during their 24 hour shifts, but when they are off, they are off. And if they are of legal age, they may drink anything they like, except while on duty.

Is it true they cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives?

Again, another false rumor. How could that be enforced?

Is it true after two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as Guard of the Tomb. There are only 400 presently worn. The Guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin?

The Tomb Guard Identification Badge is awarded after the Sentinel passes a special test. The Badge is permanently awarded after a Sentinel has served 9 months. Currently there are 525 awarded. And while the Badge can be revoked, the offense must be very severe, such as a felony conviction. But you can drink a beer and even swear and still keep the Badge. And the Badge is a full size award, worn on the right pocket of the uniform jacket, not a lapel pin.

Are the shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet?

The shoes are standard issue military dress shoes. They are built up so the sole and heel are equal in height. This allows the Sentinel to stand so that his back is straight and perpendicular to the ground. A side effect of this is that the Sentinel can "roll" on the outside of the build up as he walks down the mat. This allows him to move in a fluid fashion. If he does this correctly, his hat and bayonet will appear to not "bob" up and down with each step. It gives him a more formal and smooth look to his walk, rather than a "marching" appearance.

The soles have a steel tip on the toe and a "horseshoe" steel plate on the heel. This prevents wear on the sole and allows the Sentinel to move smoothly during his movements when he turns to face the Tomb and then back down the mat.

Then there is the "clicker". It is a shank of steel attached to the inside of the face of the heel build-up on each shoe. It allows the Sentinel to click his heels during certain movements. If a guard change is really hot, it is called a "smoker" because all the heel clicks fall together and sound like one click. In fact, the guard change is occasionally done in the "silent" mode (as a sign of devotion to the Unknowns"). No voice commands - every thing is done in relation to the heel clicks and on specific counts.




"The first 6 months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch tv. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Every guard spends 5 hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty."

I strongly suspect this is inaccurate as well, but can't say for sure.

The Tomb is guarded 24/7, rain or shine. The comments about the Sentinels disobeying a direct order and staying at their post during Hurricane Isabel is accurate. This is backed up by several sources, including the SotHG.
13 posted on 05/15/2004 12:20:11 PM PDT by mstork5
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
While these soldiers are committed in their duties to Honor the fallen unknown ... we should be accurate in our discussion honoring them. While some of these interesting "facts" are true, some are not. Go here for more accurate info on the guarding of this honored tomb.
http://www.tombguard.org/FAQ.html
14 posted on 06/10/2004 7:16:41 AM PDT by Former Marine Guard (Honorable Men Should Be Honored With Truth .....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

The Guards of Honor at the Tomb of the Unknowns are highly motivated and are proud to honor all American service members who are "Known But to God."






Q: Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time, and if not, why not?

A: No, he carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

Fact:
The guard does not execute an about-face, and there is more involved in the procedure than is described here.

* The sentinel marches 21 steps across the black mat, past the final resting places of the Unknown Soldiers of World War I, World War II, Korea, and the crypt of the Unknown Soldier of the Vietnam War.

* With a crisp turn, the sentinel turns 90 degrees (not about-face) to face east for 21 seconds.

* The sentinel then turns a sharp 90 degrees again to face north for 21 seconds. A crisp "shoulder-arms" movement places the rifle on the shoulder nearest the visitors to signify that the sentinel stands between the tomb and any threat.

* After the moment, the sentinel paces 21 steps north, turns and repeats the process



Q: How often are the guards changed?

A: Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

Fact
The Guard is changed every thirty minutes during the summer (April 1 to Sep 30) and every hour during the winter (Oct 1 to Mar 31). During the hours the cemetery is closed, the guard is changed every 2 hours. The Tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In fact, there has been a Sentinel on duty in front of the Tomb every minute of every day since 1937. And the Sentinel does not change the way he guards the Tomb, even at night when there is no one around. The Sentinels do this because they feel that the Unknown Soldiers who are buried in the Tomb deserve the very best they have to give.

Each Relief (team) has a rotation during the 24 hour work day. This rotation is dependant on the number of Soldier-Sentinels who are proficient enough to guard the Tomb. The standard is 3-4 qualified Sentinels, 1-2 Relief Commander/Assistant Relief Commander, and 1-2 Sentinels in training. Generally, the Sentinel will be on guard duty for a tour and have two tours off in between - then go out for another tour. However, in extreme cases, Sentinels have been known to go back-to-back for the entire 24 hour shift.

Currently, the Tomb Guards work on a three Relief (team) rotation - 24 hours on, 24 hours off, 24 hours on, 24 hours off, 24 hours on, 96 hours off. However, over the years it has been different. The time off isn't exactly free time. It takes the average Sentinel 8 hours to prep his/her uniform for the next work day. Additionally, they have Physical Training, Tomb Guard training, and haircuts to complete before the next work day.

The Tomb is guarded, and has been guarded, every minute of every day since 1937. Back in the early 1920's, after the first interrnment in 1921, we didn't have guards and the Tomb looked much different. People often came to the cemetery in those days for picnics during which time some would actually use the Tomb as a picnic area (probably because of the view). Soon after, 1925, they posted a civilian guard; in 1926, a military guard was posted during cemetery hours; and on July 1, 1937, this was expanded
to the 24-hour watch. Since then, the ceremony has developed throughout the years to what we have today. Today, most of the challenges faced by the Sentinels are tourists who want to get a better picture or uncontrolled children (which generally is very frightening for the parent when the
Soldier challenges the child). However, there have been moments of concern, like in 1984 when a former government employee took the Sentinel hostage with a handgun. In that situation, the Tomb Guards not on duty were alerted and proceeded to tackle the gunman from behind - no one was injured.


Q: What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?

A: For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5' 10" and 6' 2" tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30".

Fact:
One of the first reactions of visitors at the Tomb, is to comment on how tall the soldiers are. While you might not notice the difference in height, a Tomb Guard can tell what Relief is working. . . . just based on their height.
1st Relief 6'2" to 6'4"
2nd Relief 6' to 6'2"
3rd Relief 5'11" to 6'


They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. They cannot swear in public FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES and cannot disgrace the uniform {fighting} or the tomb in any way

Fact:
This is a false rumor. The average tour at the Tomb is about a year. There is NO set time for service there. The Sentinels live either in a barracks on Ft. Myer (the Army post located adjacent to the cemetery) or off base if they like. They do have quarters under the steps of the
amphitheater where they stay during their 24 hour shifts, but when they are off, they are off. And if they are of legal age, they may drink anything they like, except while on duty.


After TWO YEARS, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.

Fact:
The Tomb Guard Identification Badge is awarded after the Sentinel passes a special test,not something simply handed out to everyone who serves for a given period of time. The Badge is permanently awarded after a Sentinel has served 9 months as a Sentinel at the Tomb. Currently there are 525 awarded. And while the Badge can be revoked, the offense must be very severe, such as a felony conviction. But you can drink a beer and even swear and still keep the Badge. And the Badge is a full size award, worn on the right pocket of the uniform jacket, not a lapel pin.


The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt.

Fact:
The shoes are standard issue military dress shoes. They are built up so the sole and heel are equal in height. This allows the Sentinel to stand so that his back is straight and perpendicular to the ground. A side effect of this is that the Sentinel can "roll" on the outside of the build up as he walks down the mat. This allows him to move in a fluid fashion. If he does this correctly, his hat and bayonet will appear to not "bob" up and down with each step. It gives him a more formal and smooth look to his walk, rather than a "marching" appearance.

The soles have a steel tip on the toe and a "horseshoe" steel plate on the heel. This prevents wear on the sole and allows the Sentinel to move smoothly during his movements when he turns to face the Tomb and then back down the mat.

Then there is the "clicker". It is a shank of steel attached to the inside of the face of the heel build-up on each shoe. It allows the Sentinel to click his heels during certain movements. If a guard change is really hot, it is called a "smoker" because all the heel clicks fall together and sound like one click. In fact, the guard change is occasionally done in the "silent" mode (as a sign of devotion to the Unknowns"). No voice commands - every thing is done in relation to the heel clicks and on specific counts.


The first SIX MONTHS of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch TV.

Fact:
A Tomb guard's behavior is not so stringently regulated that he is prohibited from speaking to anyone for a full six months (someone seems to have confused the Old Guard with a monastery!), and guards may do whatever they want (including watching TV) during their off-duty hours. But since any soldier wishing to become a sentinel must undergo rigorous training, including several hours a day of marching, rifle drill and uniform preparation, and every tomb sentinel is expected to be completely versed in the history of both the tomb and of Arlington National Cemetery (including
knowing how to find the graves of all the prominent person buried in the cemetery), they don't necessarily have a lot of free time to devote to recreational activities.


On the ABC evening news, it was reported recently that, because of the dangers from Hurricane Isabel approaching Washington, DC, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment. They refused. "No way, Sir!"

Fact:
It was erroneously reported that during Hurricane Isabel, the Sentinels were ordered to abandon their posts for shelter and that they refused. No such order was ever given. All proper precautions were taken to ensure the safety of the Sentinels while accomplishing their mission. Risk assessments are constantly conducted by the Chain of Command during changing conditions to ensure that soldier welfare is maintained during mission accomplishment.

The Tomb Guards have contingencies that are ready to be executed IF the weather conditions EVER place the Soldiers at risk of injury or death – such as lightning, high winds, etc. This ensures that Sentinels can maintain the Tomb Guard responsibilities while ensuring soldier safety. It is the responsibility of the Chain of Command from the Sergeant of the Guard to the Regimental Commander to ensure mission accomplishment and soldier welfare at all times.

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.org
http://www.mdw.army.mil/OLDGUARD/index2.htm
http://www.tombguard.org


15 posted on 07/02/2004 1:00:06 AM PDT by cew64
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dad yer funny

read the thread as well for corrections.


16 posted on 03/07/2005 10:09:26 PM PST by Yehuda (AMERICA: LAND OF THE FREE, THANKS TO THE BRAVE!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: everyone

www.tombgaurd.org has all of the accurate information. not all of this is true:



Is it true they must commit 2 years of life to guard the Tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives.

No, this is a false rumor. The average tour at the Tomb is about a year. There is NO set time for service there. The Sentinels live either in a barracks on Ft. Myer (the Army post located adjacent to the cemetery) or off base if they like. They do have living quarters under the steps of the amphitheater where they stay during their 24 hour shifts, but when they are off, they are off. And if they are of legal age, they may drink anything they like, except while on duty.

Is it true they cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives?

Again, another false rumor.
How long does the Sentinel hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time, and if not, why not?

He does not execute an about face. He stops on the 21st step, then turns and faces the Tomb for 21 seconds. Then he turns to face back down the mat, changes his weapon to the outside shoulder, counts 21 seconds, then steps off for another 21 step walk down the mat. He faces the Tomb at each end of the 21 step walk for 21 seconds. The Sentinel then repeats this over and over until he is relieved at the Guard Change.

Do you guard in a blizzard or a bad thunderstorm?

YES, BUT the accomplishment of the mission and welfare of the Soldier is never put at risk. The Tomb Guards have contingencies that are ready to be executed IF the weather conditions EVER place the Soldiers at risk of injury or death – such as lightning, high winds, etc. This ensures that Sentinels can maintain the Tomb Guard responsibilities while ensuring soldier safety. It is the responsibility of the Chain of Command from the Sergeant of the Guard to the Regimental Commander to ensure mission accomplishment and soldier welfare at all times.

It was erroneously reported that during Hurricane Isabel, the Sentinels were ordered to abandon their posts for shelter and that they refused. No such order was ever given. All proper precautions were taken to ensure the safety of the Sentinels while accomplishing their mission. Risk assessments are constantly conducted by the Chain of Command during changing conditions to ensure that soldier welfare is maintained during mission accomplishment.



17 posted on 03/22/2007 4:22:20 PM PDT by leathermaskman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
Sobering.

Such devotion is increasingly rare.

Name any rite or ritual that is not religious, that compares anywhere.

18 posted on 05/26/2009 10:36:57 AM PDT by happygrl (Hope and Change or Rope and Chains?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: leathermaskman
Had a high school teacher who was in this unit but he wasn't part of the tomb guard. He told me that they were the honor guard at a funeral for an important judge and received medals for their work. On the flip side he told me if one of them messed up once during any public ceremony that it would involve a trip to Leavenworth ( federal prison ). He said the mess up could be so slight that even most in the military wouldn't notice. This was not just an idle threat to motivate them.
19 posted on 05/26/2009 11:09:32 AM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult (The man who said "there's no such thing as a stupid question" has never talked to Helen Thomas.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: radu

AMEN


20 posted on 09/02/2009 6:43:35 PM PDT by drplew
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: gunnygail

Army pukes? C’mon, this is Veteran’s Day.


21 posted on 11/11/2009 12:11:05 PM PST by smokingfrog (Well, are you gonna draw those pistols or whistle Dixie? Spit!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

Bookmarking


22 posted on 11/11/2009 4:50:21 PM PST by Verbosus (/* No Comment */)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

HERE RESTS IN
HONORED GLORY
AN AMERICAN SOLDIER
KNOWN BUT TO GOD

23 posted on 11/11/2009 6:26:47 PM PST by LomanBill (Animals! The DemocRats blew up the windmill with an Acorn!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
They cannot swear in public FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES ...I sure as hell have no intention of spending my Army career being known as the damned idiot who

The soldiers who guard the Tomb of the Unknowns are wonderful heros and are a special breed apart. However, there seems to be a bit of mythology surrounding them. I don't believe they never ever drink alcohol either.

Just sayin'

24 posted on 11/12/2009 3:14:09 AM PST by Jemian (Withold treatment of Hasan. Give him "Granny's Blue Pill". The Death Panel has spoken.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: smokingfrog

I was a member of The Old Guard (1980-1983) and my brother retired from the Marines after 22 years of service with them, including tours with Marine Recon. Whenever we would jokingly tease each other about branches of service I was always able to get his goat by simply reminding him that when you ask special ops Marines where they got their training you inevitably hear ‘I went to Army Airborne School, Army Ranger School, Army Special Forces School, Army Jungle School’ etc... Of course, this is besides any special training they recieve from the Marine Corps itself. He would laugh and admit to the truth of my statement. So behind every bad-ass Marine, a branch I have great respect for, there are usually Army schools of one type or another which have trained him at some point. So much for ‘Army pukes’.


25 posted on 03/11/2010 8:23:38 AM PST by LazarusUnbound ( Army pukes?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Hillarys Gate Cult

When I was a ‘new-dick’ (a new guy in The Old Guard [TOG]), A few of us went out and had a few drinks. One guy couldn’t handle his juice . We went to use the men’s room at the same time and for some reason he punched the wall, putting his hand through the dry-wall and into some chicken coop wire behind it. He scratched up his right hand pretty good and broke a finger. The next morning I was called into the 1st Sgt’s office and he demanded to know exactly what happened with that soldier the previous night. Well, he already knew all about it but wanted to hear it from an eye-witness. He was POed to put it mildly. Giving him a BS story would only have put me in the hot water too so I told him the truth. This wasn’t one of those situations where you can cover for the other guy. After I told him what happened he asked me if that was it. I said “Yes, 1st Sgt!” He had this man’s papers on his desk, and after I answered him it took him no more than 1 second to stamp the papers ‘REJECTED’. The next day the soldier had orders and was on a plane headed to his original post. (FYI- most Old Guard soldiers are recruited out of Infantry School. Their assignment orders get changed to The Old Guard. You get sent back to your original assignment if you don’t cut the mustard.) That soldier’s total time in TOG? 3 days! He was lucky not to be prosecuted for willfully damaging himself.
As far as Leavenworth is concerned, I often heard that threat hung over everyone’s head myself but never saw it exercised for a ceremonial failure. That would take something like throwing the flag into a widow’s face or something of a grossly negligent nature. The one circumstance I believe that would have provoked a Leavenworth sentence generally would have been disrespect to the flag by allowing it to touch the ground. An OG soldier is expected to throw himself between the flag and the ground if necessary- no excuses. That being said, Old Guard ceremonial standards and the standards in general are unbelievably high. No ‘ragbags’ allowed! On a daily basis Old Guard soldiers are inspected to a standard that most soldiers will only see maybe once a year for a major inspection. Your teacher was accurate when he noted that some things that are glaringly wrong to an Old Guard soldier wouldn’t even be noticed by the regular joes. If an OG soldier eventually goes to another unit and he doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb because of intelligence and uniform appearance standards then something is very, very wrong. The presence of a former OG soldier should result in the standards of that unit going up.
As far as I know of, The Old Guard is the only unit that sends out recruiters within the Army to find new members. When I was recruited they were looking for people who scored high on the ASVAB test and who were volunteering for other elite units such as Rangers, Special Forces and Airborne. They search out people who are in the top 1% of the Infantry. Every new-dick that arrived with my bunch had those qualifications. Once in the unit you may even be offered the opportunity to become an officer by attending OCS or the US Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS) prior to being sent to West Point. That is the caliber of the men in TOG. I hope that I gave you a little more insight into the unit.


26 posted on 03/11/2010 8:26:11 AM PST by LazarusUnbound ( standards.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

BUMP


27 posted on 05/31/2010 8:49:09 AM PDT by N8VTXNinWV
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: smokingfrog

Absolutely! I agree smokingfrog.


28 posted on 11/11/2010 3:22:41 PM PST by MSGwife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: MSGwife

Looks like this thread got revived after laying dormant for a year.

God bless all our soldiers, past and present - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

(I wish they hadn’t moved the Coasties to Dept. of Homeland Security.)


29 posted on 11/11/2010 5:12:48 PM PST by smokingfrog (Because you don't live near a bakery doesn't mean you have to go without cheesecake.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: mystery-ak

I served with William Charette HMC was a MOH receiptent who had the duty to escort three unknown from Korea and pick one to reside with the other two. As a Corpsman treating wounded Marines in December 1950 earned him that award. I was stationed with him on the U.S.S Triton for over a year before I realized he was a MOH. That happened during the change of command proceedings as everyone wore their medals. He considered that he received it because of those who died in that battle, not for anything he did.


30 posted on 08/27/2011 9:08:16 PM PDT by spookie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: mstork5

I don’t know if you’re still here, but thanks for the clarification.


31 posted on 08/27/2011 9:23:27 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear (No More RINOs!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

Photos have emerged on Facebook of a lone Tomb Sentinel, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), walking his tour in humble reverence at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during Hurricane Irene in Arlington National Cemetery this afternoon. Members of The Old Guard have guarded the Tomb “every second, of every day regardless of weather or holidays” since April 6, 1948 (The Society of The Honor Guard of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier began the first 24-hour guard on July 2, 1937).
32 posted on 08/30/2011 5:44:54 PM PDT by mystery-ak (gopbriefingroom.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

Dear Mr. Robinson,

I read with interest and understanding your posting of “TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER (Interesting Facts).

But I found inconsistencies.
One is: Q: How often are the guards changed?

A: Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

Yet farther down the site someone has written:
They are relieved every hour in a very formal drill that has to be seen to be believed.

Farther on it is written:
They cannot swear in public FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES...

Farther still it is written:

One fellow said “I’ve got buddies getting shot at in Iraq who would kick my butt if word got to them that we let them down. I sure as hell have no intention of spending my Army career being known as the damned idiot who couldn’t stand a little light breeze and shirked his duty.”

I believe the above statement contains swear words.

Please correct me if I’m wrong and do not misconstrue my intent. During World War II I had 9 uncles in service - 4 uncles and 5 uncles-in-law. Three did not come back. One was in the 29th Infantry Division at Omaha. One was on Iwo Jima and one flew of the USS Yorktown in 1943-1944.

Finally, researching a book I was writing I spent a week at the National Archives. I found the time to go to Arlington National Cemetery and and watched the Guards and was deeply impressed.


33 posted on 05/28/2012 12:34:50 PM PDT by Harvard 76
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Harvard 76

The “Tomb Guard Society” site asserts facts that contradict some from the original post:

http://tombguard.org/society/faq/

I get the feeling that Snopes is a little left leaning, but in any event they take issue with some of the facts as well:

http://www.snopes.com/military/unknown.asp


34 posted on 08/05/2012 10:15:21 AM PDT by JeffB
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: Severa
Just returned from visit to Tomb of Unknowns... Had to verbally correct two loud laughing couples to be respectful and silent. Even the visiting student groups were appropriately behaved. probably hippies from the sixties, same group who spit upon me when I returned from Vietnam!
35 posted on 04/05/2013 4:02:44 PM PDT by USMCreconn
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

One more BUMP to the pinnacle!


36 posted on 12/14/2013 8:29:25 PM PST by Thumper1960 (A modern so-called "Conservative" is a shadow of a wisp of a vertebrate human being.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: leathermaskman

There are other discrepancies in this list. It says the guardian changed every 30 min...that is only from 4/1-9/30. From 10/1-3/31 it is every hour, and at night it is also every hour.

Just wanted to add my 2 cents!


37 posted on 01/17/2014 6:28:47 AM PST by dcw0524
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: smokingfrog

“(I wish they hadn’t moved the Coasties to Dept. of Homeland Security.)”

Weren’t they part of the Treasury Dept or Interior before?


38 posted on 05/31/2014 4:05:08 PM PDT by Figment
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Figment

On 25 November 2002, President Bush signed HR 5005 creating the Department of Homeland Security. Soon after, Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania, was confirmed as the department’s first Secretary. On 25 February 2003, Transportation Secretary, Norman Mineta transferred leadership of the U.S. Coast Guard to Secretary Ridge, formally recognizing the change in civilian leadership over the Coast Guard and ending the Coast Guard’s almost 36 year term as a member of the Department of Transportation.

http://www.uscg.mil/history/articles/h_USCGhistory.asp


39 posted on 05/31/2014 4:35:47 PM PDT by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

Just found this site, and THANK YOU !!
My attention was called to the Dedication of the Sentries
to the Soldiers and Honorables buried at ARLINGTON.
I do not mean to be picky ....Please...but
You give Honorable mention to “ Joe Lewis” the Boxer...
You mean “JOE LOUIS the Boxer.”


40 posted on 06/09/2014 8:49:49 PM PDT by billzet ( bill zet)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
VetsCoR
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson