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TOPIC: Rainy Day Bloviating - Tomb of the Unknow Soldier

Rainy Day Bloviating - Tomb of the Unknow Soldier 1 week 3 hours ago #16211

  • harrylouise
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My BBF showed me this FB posting by one of her “friends” (aka: MCG = like-Minded Camp Grounders?). I could not help myself from not wanting to share it with MCG (Military Campground) friends for FFT during there next stay at a MCG in the Washington, DC area. There is an awesome photo included on the FB post and I will attempt to attach it to this posting. I edited the text to remove faith-based comments and did a little “wordsmithing”.
On Jeopardy the other night, the final question was: How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the Tomb of the Unknowns?
All three missed...
The changing-of-guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is an awesome sight to watch if you ever have the chance – it is fascinating and you will go on an emotional journey you will always remember. We (along with our guests) absorb the moments of the tribute to all of that gave everything they had to give, but their identities still remain a mystery.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns and why?
Ans: 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?
Ans: 21 seconds for the same reason as answer number 1
3. Why are his gloves wet?
Ans: 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?
Ans: 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?
Ans: 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?
Ans: 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 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 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 WWII} 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 serviceperson. The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930. God Bless and Keep Them
I don't usually suggest that many articles or emails be forwarded, but I'd be very proud if this one reached as many people as possible. We can be very proud of our young men and women in the service no matter where they serve. Duty Honor Country
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Rainy Day Bloviating - Tomb of the Unknow Soldier 5 days 22 hours ago #16214

  • skyking8
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I don't want to rain on the parade, but I would respectfully note that there are several myths associated with the list of facts.

1- It is not true that for the first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch TV. They are not monks. They are dedicated men and women who are among a elite, handpicked group of service members, but they do lead normal lives.

2- It is not true that a sentenal, past or present, cannot swear for the rest of his life. It is also not true that they cannot drink. They can, if of legal age, while off duty. They do not live in the "barracks" under the tomb. That facility has only the facilities necessary to only to support the daily on duty guards. One of which is a TV.

3- The sentinel does not do an about face at the end of his steps. Instead he does a left or right race toward the tomb and remains there for 21 seconds.

3- The guards do not wear rank insignia, but the relief commander does.

4- The guard changing times vary according to whether or not the cemetery is open of closed and seasonal times of the year. The Guard is normally changed every thirty minutes during the summer, every hour during the winter, and every two hours during closure.

5- The normal tour of duty is only 18 months. But that tour encompasses many other duties associated with the 3rd Infantry BN. Among those are: Drill Team, Color Guard, Presidential Salute Battery, and Pershing's Own (horse drawn carriage). Lastly, they are Infantry soldiers who maintain that training during their assignment as an infantry unit for combat roles.

During a tour of duty in the DC area, I was tasked with helicopter missions to support their infantry training. I have had a compete tour of their facilities at the Tomb. I have also had one of the most memorable moments in my life, military or civilian. That was having the distinct honor of participating in a wreath laying ceremony. The Old Guard is professional to the Nth degree.
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Rainy Day Bloviating - Tomb of the Unknow Soldier 5 days 21 hours ago #16216

  • harrylouise
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Thank you for your time and consideration to provide corrective information. I have heard many times that I should not believe a lot of the info on the internet. Your response proves that point, I am grateful that you cleared up the false or inaccurate info. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a sacred tribute to our fallen warriors - the communication of any falsehoods or misconceptions is not acceptable. I apologize for being the messenger of a poorly researched message.

Rainy Day Bloviating - Tomb of the Unknow Soldier 4 days 22 hours ago #16218

  • skyking8
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harry> I hope you understand that I wasn't trying to be disrespectful. It was just my first hand knowledge of some of the finest, and dedicated young service members that I have come across.

To prove that point, I will dispel the myth that we Combat Helicopter Pilots walk on water. That's not true either. LOL!!

Rainy Day Bloviating - Tomb of the Unknow Soldier 4 days 17 hours ago #16219

  • harrylouise
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Skyking8, you did not have to give it a second thought. I never thought about the intent of your response as disrespectful or a "Got-cha" (sic) gesture, or for that fact, as I look back in retrospect at when I first read your response, I cannot recall any negative or personal attack feelings. I had a feeling of appreciation for someone whom (sic) had first-hand knowledge, stepping up to the plate to correct misinformation, for that I am very grateful. It would have been disrespectful if you knew the information was not accurate, and you didn't do anything to correct it. You did the right thing. We have been to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and MIA/POW tribute sites many times, each visit has been special to us.

Rainy Day Bloviating - Tomb of the Unknow Soldier 3 days 3 hours ago #16223

  • dubob
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You should obtain and watch 'The Unknowns', a documentary film about the Tomb and the Guards. In fact, I would, at the very least, recommend it to any and all military veterans - retired or otherwise. Here is a link to the company that produced it: Time to Kill Productions
Bob Hicks, from Utah
I’m 75 years young and going as hard as I can for as long as I can.
“Free men don't ask permission to bear arms.” ― Glen Aldrich
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