Friday, February 16, 2007


One or two of you can appreciate the significance of these military

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

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?

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

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."

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
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
W.W.II} 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 whole hearted. 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

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

The Tomb consists of seven pieces of
rectangular marble:

Four pieces in sub base; weight - 15 tons
One piece in base or plinth; weight - 16
tons One piece in die; weight - 36 tons One
piece in cap; weight - 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

On the right side, a male figure symbolizes

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:


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

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 Tombs.
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 American unaccounted for
American combat dead. The steady rhythmic
step in rain, sleet, snow, hail, heat, 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

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.


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.


biking2006 MSN said...

I sent this info to some buddies in the know and one corrected me on some points. Paste this Snopes URL if you are interested. I beginning to wonder why I sent it in the first place. Was moved by it I guess.

laurie540 MSN said...

This message has been deleted by the author.

winnie3ave MSN said...

Bill. Have you been To The tomb? It is quite a sight. Very touching!!!!
Want a degree but can't afford to quit? Top school degrees online - in as fast as 1 year

sandy19465 MSN said...

This message has been deleted by the author.

rainy day man MSN said...

that was an excellent post biking

les__f MSN said...

as well as after biking

les__f MSN said...

that was an excellent post even before biking

mom1945-linda MSN said...

For first 6 months guard cannot talk to anyone ~~ guess that would leave me out!  Unless, of course, they mean cannot talk to anyone while their on duty, lol.

les__f MSN said...

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mm' finally I broke free of that stupid vow,.............. I heard an interview the other night by 5 or 6 of these soldiers,.they said that their Vows that they took were exactly the same as the monks in tibet, who took those vows of silence ,....& celibacy,.....Like their Fathers,& their Fathers ,fathers..................................................hmmmmm  How's that work

happydi2 MSN said...

I think it must take a special person to be able to live by those rules......I don't think I could...there's a couple I know I'd break   Dianne

les__f MSN said...

Maybe that's how they got the mold , was from Sodom & Gonohrea...Gomora....what the f*&56 ....was it ,...i always forget those religous fairly tales..................................hahahahhaha   Now come on ,............I haven't had those F&**)n Lightning Bolts for a while now ,......and I used to almost own those babies,...................

happydi2 MSN said...

Here you go got the lightning and the thunder!!!!    

mom1945-linda MSN said...

Well, Les_F and two deserve lightening bolts.  Here you go: Les_F ......&.......Dianne          

mom1945-linda MSN said...

And......I'm keeping my eye on you two:          

happydi2 MSN said... wonder I didn't sleep a wink last night!     Dianne    

les__f MSN said...

Finally I earned a turn with those bolts,.it's been predominatly the girls getting them as of late.............I new if I applied myself 116% ,.that I'd get 'shot' with them again...........hahahahah