Tomb of the Unknowns – What It’s Like To Be An Arlington Tomb Guard

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Since it’s Memorial Day I figured I would post this prestigious tradition for those that may not know of its existence. More so, to shed light on some of the meaning behind Memorial Day and pay respect to all those that give their lives to ensure that many of us have a home that’s safe and full of many things others can only dream about. I think the CNN story did a great job of bringing into focus one reason a good number of people have the day off while those that are serving have to work and work hard at jobs that many of us could never do.  Having family members that served in the Army and currently serve in the Navy and Air Force, I want to say thank you to all that those that have served, are currently serving, and will serve in the military in some way. You do more of a service than you will ever know. Happy Memorial Day to you all and thanks for stopping by 3GW.

Supreme Soul

The following is courtesy of CNN

The Tomb of the Unknowns is a monument dedicated to American service members who have died without their remains being identified. It is located in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, United States of America.

The tomb guards are soldiers of the United States Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment. It is considered one of the highest honors to serve as a Sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Fewer than 20 percent of all volunteers are accepted for training and of those only a fraction pass training to become full-fledged Tomb Guards. This attrition rate has made the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Guard Identification Badge the second least-awarded decoration of the United States military.

The soldier “walking the mat” does not wear rank insignia, so as not to outrank the Unknowns, whatever their ranks may have been. Non-commissioned officers (usually the Relief Commander and Assistant Relief Commanders), do wear insignia of their rank when changing the guard only. They have a separate uniform (without rank) that is worn when they actually guard the Unknowns or are “Posted”.

The duties of the sentinels are not purely ceremonial. The sentinels will confront people who cross the barriers at the tomb or who are disrespectful or loud.

During the day in summer months from April 1 to September 30, the guard is changed every half hour. During the winter months, from October 1 to March 31, the guard is changed every hour.

For more information about the Arlington National Cemetery and Tomb of the Unknowns click here

2 thoughts on “Tomb of the Unknowns – What It’s Like To Be An Arlington Tomb Guard

  1. I had the opportunity to witness the changing of the guard in the fifth grade. Even though didn’t fully understand the magnitude of this duty then, it has always been a memorable experience for me. Fast forward x amount of years to 2012 and the images of the soliders guarding the tomb DURING Hurricane Sandy…the thought still gives me chills. Those are images “Worth 1000 Words”.

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