Sunday, November 29, 2009

Guarding theTomb of the Unknown Soldier

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Washington, D. C.

On Jeopardy the other night, the final question was “How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier”. All three contestants missed the question.

This is really an awesome sight to watch if you've never had the chance, Very fascinating.

Here’s some information that you might find interesting.

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 dignitary.

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?

Persons wishing to apply for guard duty at the Tomb must be between 5' 10' and 6' 2' tall and the 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 his lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb. Presently, there are only 400 worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.

Their 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.

Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for
Guard duty. 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: Presidents William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy, World Heavy Weight Champion Joe Louis, and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy of Hollywood fame, the most decorated soldier of World War II.

In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington, D C, our
US Senate and House of Representatives 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 serviceperson. The tomb has been patrolled continuously,
24/7, since 1930.

God Bless and keep them.


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