TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER
1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns and why?
2. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return and why?
ANSWER: 21 seconds for the same reason as answer No. 1.
3. Why are his gloves wet?
ANSWER: 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?
ANSWER: 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?
ANSWER: Guards are changed every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
6. What are the physical traits limited to?
ANSWER: For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5 foot, 10 inches and 6-foot-2 inches tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30 (inches)." They must commit two 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 or 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, fold 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 in WWII and of Hollywood fame.
U.S. Senate/House took two days off with anticipation of the superstorm. 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 since 1930.