Skip to comments.TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER (Interesting Facts)
Posted on 04/28/2004 5:20:41 PM PDT by SandRat
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Army pukes? C’mon, this is Veteran’s Day.
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.
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’.
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.
Absolutely! I agree smokingfrog.
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.)
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.
I don’t know if you’re still here, but thanks for the clarification.
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.
The “Tomb Guard Society” site asserts facts that contradict some from the original post:
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:
One more BUMP to the pinnacle!
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!
“(I wish they hadnt moved the Coasties to Dept. of Homeland Security.)”
Weren’t they part of the Treasury Dept or Interior before?
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.
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.”
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