Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

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 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." Other requirements of the Guard: He must commit 2 years
of his life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol
on or off duty. He cannot swear in public or 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
he served as guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn. The guard must obey
these rules for the rest of his life or give up the wreath pin.

The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from his feet.
There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud
click as he comes to a halt. There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform.
The guard dresses for duty in front of a full-length mirror.

During 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
uniform ready for guard duty.


I don't usually suggest that many e-mails be forwarded,
but this one deserves to reach as many as possible.

We can be very proud of our young men and women in
the service no matter where they serve.