Unknown Tomb Facts

Posted on

1. How many steps does the guard take during his
walk across the tomb of the Unknowns
and why?
21 steps : It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute which
is the highest honor given any military or foreign

2. How long does he hesitate after his about face
to begin his return walk and why?
21 seconds for the same reason as answer number 1

3. Why are his gloves wet?
His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his
grip on the rifle.

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

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.

5. How often are the guards changed?

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

6. What are the physical traits of the guard
limited to?

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.

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 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 Lewis {the boxer}
Medal of Honor winner Audie L. Murphy, the most
decorated soldier of WWII and of Hollywood fame.

Every guard spends five hours a
day getting his uniforms ready for
guard duty.

In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was
approaching Washington , DC, our
US Senate/House took 2 days
off with anticipation of the storm. On the ABC
evening news, it was reported that because of
the dangers from the hurricane, the military
members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb
of the Unknown Soldier were given permission
to suspend the assignment. They
respectfully declined the offer, “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.