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Interesting Facts About Unknown Soldier Tomb


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Subject: Unknown Soldier Tomb






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 it ---






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

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 his losing his grip on the





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: 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.

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