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View Full Version : Tomb of the Unknown Soldier .......... Is this true?


John_Wayne
06-13-2006, 09:10 AM
As we all do, I get junk emails forwarded to me from friends. I recieved this one today. I usually don't believe these forwarded emails. I wonder if this one is true. There are several things in this that makes me think it's a hoax. Does anyone know for sure?


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 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? Because of the heat in the
summer Guards are changed every thirty minutes, the rest of the year
every 60 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 Louis {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.

ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM O LORD, AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE
UPON THEM.

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.

IN GOD WE TRUST

Donger
06-13-2006, 09:11 AM
http://www.snopes.com/military/unknown.asp

ChiefsfaninPA
06-13-2006, 09:14 AM
Good stuff. All of those Honor Guard or Color Guard groups take their position seriously. That is cool info. if true. I wouldn't have the discipline to be able to do that.

Cochise
06-13-2006, 09:17 AM
<3 email forward posts

Monkeylook4food
06-13-2006, 09:17 AM
Most of it is true. The obviously false portions are; obviously false.

Lzen
06-13-2006, 09:18 AM
http://www.snopes.com/military/unknown.asp

I can't click that link from work. What does it say?

Monkeylook4food
06-13-2006, 09:27 AM
I can't click that link from work. What does it say?
Most of it is true. The obviously false portions are; obviously false.

The crap about the drinking, no TV, studying all day, swearing, living under the tomb, and 5 hours of uni prep are all false. Most of them are there for roughly a year so the 2 year committment is also false. When the tomb first opened in the 30's it was guarded only during the daylight, so the statement that it has been guarded non-stop since 1930 is not quite true. Most everything else is true.

John_Wayne
06-13-2006, 09:28 AM
I can't click that link from work. What does it say?

It doesn't say if it is true or false. Where's the answer?

KCTitus
06-13-2006, 09:30 AM
From Snopes:
Someone apparently wanted to highlight the special qualities and training required to be a guard at Tomb of the Unknowns by creating the widely-circulated message quoted above, a list mixing fact and fiction which we'll try to sort out below:

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.

The guards do make 21-step walks past the Tomb of the Unknowns because 21 is considered a number of special significance, a topic discussed on our page about the origins of the 21-gun salute.

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.

This is a somewhat true but incomplete statement. The guard does not execute an about-face, and there is more involved in the procedure than is described here. As another site describes the process, the guard performs his movements according to the following patten:

* The sentinel marches 21 steps across the black mat, past the final resting places of the Unknown Soldiers of World War I, World War II, Korea, and the crypt of the Unknown Soldier of the Vietnam War.

* With a crisp turn, the sentinel turns 90 degrees (not about-face) to face east for 21 seconds.

* The sentinel then turns a sharp 90 degrees again to face north for 21 seconds. A crisp "shoulder-arms" movement places the rifle on the shoulder nearest the visitors to signify that the sentinel stands between the tomb and any threat.

* After the moment, the sentinel paces 21 steps north, turns and repeats the process.


3. Why are his gloves wet?

His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

According to the FAQ on the web site of the Society of the Honor Guard — Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, this is correct.

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.

As noted above, the guard shifts his rifle prior to each 21-step walk to ensure that it is always carried on his outside shoulder, the one away from the Tomb ("to signify that the sentinel stands between the tomb and any threat").

5. How often are the guards changed?

Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

From 1926 through 1937, the Tomb was guarded only during daylight hours. Ever since 1937, the Tomb has been continuously guarded 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Tomb guards are changed every thirty minutes between 8 AM and 7 PM during the period from early Spring to early Autumn (April 1 through September 30), and every hour between 8 AM to 5 PM the rest of the year. At all other times (i.e., while the cemetery is closed), the guard is changed every two hours.

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.

This is also true, according to the ANC web site, which notes that "Each soldier must be in superb physical condition, possess an unblemished military record and be between 5 feet, 10 inches and 6 feet, 4 inches tall, with a proportionate weight and build."

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.

Even the Old Guard doesn't regulate the off-duty lives of its members so stringently!

Sentinels at the Tomb do not have to commit to serving there for any fixed period of time, and the average tour of duty is only about half the two year period claimed here. Like most servicemen, Tomb guards may live either on-base (at nearby Fort Myer) or off-base in housing of their choosing. There are no restrictions on guards' off-duty drinking.

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 Tomb Guard Identification Badge, first awarded in 1957, is a honor for which a guard qualifies by "flawlessly performing his duty for several months" and passing a test, not something simply handed out to everyone who serves for a given period of time:

Once the sentinel has completed his or her training, he or she is examined formally for proficiency in performing the duties and in knowledge of ANC. He or she must first pass a written examination of 100 questions about ANC and then be evaluated on proficiency in keeping watch at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Upon successful completion, the soldier is awarded a temporary Tomb Guard's Badge at a ceremony presided over by the company commander. The Badge is one of the Army's higher honors and can be taken away from the soldier if he or she does not continue to maintain the highest military standards.

The 500th Tomb Guard Identification Badge was awarded in early 2002, and the total number of recipients is now about 525. The award is, as its name states, a badge worn on the pocket of a uniform jacket, not a pin worn in the lapel.

Although the claim that guards "cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives" is fallacious, there is some truth to the notion that the Tomb Guard Identification Badge can be taken away, even after the recipient has left the service. According to Old Guard Public Affairs:

The Tomb Guard Identification Badge is one of the least awarded badges in the Army, second only to the Astronaut Badge. Since the sentinels are held to such a high standard, if they ever do anything that is deemed behavior unbecoming a Tomb Guard or brings dishonor upon the Tomb, their badges may be revoked, even after [the sentinels] have left active duty military service.

As of early 2002, there had been nine revocations of the Tomb Guard Identification Badge.

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 FAQ at www.tombguard.org also addresses this topic:

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 shoes are standard issue military dress shoes. They are built up so the sole and heel are equal in height. This allows the Sentinel to stand so that his back is straight and perpendicular to the ground. A side effect of this is that the Sentinel can "roll" on the outside of the build up as he walks down the mat. This allows him to move in a fluid fashion. If he does this correctly, his hat and bayonet will appear to not "bob" up and down with each step. It gives him a more formal and smooth look to his walk, rather than a "marching" appearance.

The soles have a steel tip on the toe and a "horseshoe" steel plate on the heel. This prevents wear on the sole and allows the Sentinel to move smoothly during his movements when he turns to face the Tomb and then back down the mat.

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. Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.

A Tomb guard's behavior is not so stringently regulated that he is prohibited from speaking to anyone for a full six months (someone seems to have confused the Old Guard with a monastery!), and guards may do whatever they want (including watching TV) during their off-duty hours. But since any soldier wishing to become a sentinel must undergo rigorous training, including several hours a day of marching, rifle drill and uniform preparation, and every tomb sentinel is expected to be completely versed in the history of both the tomb and of Arlington National Cemetery (including knowing how to find the graves of all the prominent person buried in the cemetery), they don't necessarily have a lot of free time to devote to recreational activities.

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.

Joe Louis (aka "The Brown Bomber"), Heavyweight Champion of the World between 1937 and 1949, is the boxer interred at Arlington National Cemetery. (Joe E. Lewis, the comedian, is buried in New Jersey.) Although Joe Louis served in the Army during World War II he did not meet the technical requirements for burial at Arlington, but he is interred there because President Reagan waived the requirements when Louis died in 1981.

We close here with a bit of trivia suggested by the above item:

Although serving as President of the United States qualifies one to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, only two former Presidents are interred there — William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy

Monkeylook4food
06-13-2006, 09:33 AM
It doesn't say if it is true or false. Where's the answer?
Most of it is true. The obviously false portions are; obviously false.

John_Wayne
06-13-2006, 09:42 AM
Most of it is true. The obviously false portions are; obviously false. That clears it up. Thanks. :shake:

Monkeylook4food
06-13-2006, 09:43 AM
I'm not going to read the whole thing for you, tommykat.

ROYC75
06-13-2006, 11:37 AM
Most of it is true. The obviously false portions are; obviously false.


Does this mean that most of this thread's post are true, The obvious false postings are obviously false?

vailpass
06-13-2006, 01:10 PM
Visiting Arlington and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is extremely moving. Watching the precision and quiet honor of the guard is simply badass.

The Korean War monument is cool and eerie. It is a field full of life-size statues of soldiers in various Korean War uniforms in various positions as though they are moving on patrol.. Just before sundown the damn things appear to be alive.

The Vienam wall is utterly depressing.
The Smithsonian is worth a week or two of your time. The FDR memorial contains some of the coolest quotes in history. Listening to the Marine band play on the back lawn of the Capitol with my wife and baby is one of my fondest memories.

DC should be a mandatory visit for all Americans IMHO.

KCTitus
06-13-2006, 01:37 PM
DC should be a mandatory visit for all Americans IMHO.

It's amazing how much there is to do there...Air and Space is probably my favorite Smithsonian and the 20th Century exhibit was interesting. I didnt so much care for a couple of the other Smithsonian's, but the monuments and memorials there are pretty amazing.

The coolest thing I ever experienced was getting to see the Oval Office and the Rose Garden out back. I was fortunate enough to know someone in the Secret Service who was able to give us more than the 'usual' tour of the White House.

vailpass
06-13-2006, 01:48 PM
It's amazing how much there is to do there...Air and Space is probably my favorite Smithsonian and the 20th Century exhibit was interesting. I didnt so much care for a couple of the other Smithsonian's, but the monuments and memorials there are pretty amazing.

The coolest thing I ever experienced was getting to see the Oval Office and the Rose Garden out back. I was fortunate enough to know someone in the Secret Service who was able to give us more than the 'usual' tour of the White House.

Yeah, we spent two weeks there and didn't see half of it. Lucky thing to have an SS contact show you the White House.

Air & Space rocks; fricking space capsules and fighter jets laying around everywhere.
We went into the IMAX they have on the first floor for a break and watched the Michael Jordan movie.

Viewing the actual Declaration of Independence gave a real feeling of history.

Rain Man
06-13-2006, 01:54 PM
DC should be a mandatory visit for all Americans IMHO.

Good point. The government should force us to go there so we can learn about our freedom. :)


Here's an interesting question. With DNA now, they can actually identify the soldiers who are in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Should they?

The Red Sea
06-13-2006, 02:13 PM
I hope you guys will allow me to post a few pics I took in D.C.

The main reason I looked thru my pics was to find a few of the changing of the gaurd..but Damn it I cant seem to locate them.

Its true watching the ceremony take place is more moving than you can possibly imagine till youve been there & watched it.

Every step the gaurd takes..every click of his heels..to know it goes non stop..its something youve just got to witness.

I agree also moving is the Errie feeling you get when you walk along the Korean monument.
Every soldier has an emotion on their face that just yanks you in.


http://img403.imageshack.us/img403/3559/korean11zh.jpg


Some people dont realize just how Freakin amazing the library is to see.
Do not pass it up if your there.
Also its amazing to know that it IS a public library..though you do not get your own books..that would be near impossible..you pick your book & usually it takes a worker to snatch it.
Many presidents/famous people thru the yrs used this same library.

http://img516.imageshack.us/img516/9765/lib9jn.jpg


A couple of more pics I thought I'd toss on here.

The eternal Flame(JFK & his wifes grave site.)
& a shot of the Wall.
When your at the wall theres just so many names on there it boggles the mind.
Always a family there paying respect to a lost loved one.
Deff sends a chill down your spine.

http://img403.imageshack.us/img403/7327/eternalviet7ma.jpg



Well what do you know just before clicking post this..my Lovely wife found the pics of the changing of the gaurd!

http://img403.imageshack.us/img403/116/usold16mu.jpg
http://img403.imageshack.us/img403/9220/usol25zy.jpg



Again thx for indulging me with posting some pics.
These pics are bad qauility because they were flooded once.

Many of us have been there but many live too far away to go there ever.
For me its a 6 hour car ride that I usually pass on my way to vacation.

Enjoy!

Rain Man
06-13-2006, 02:13 PM
Viewing the actual Declaration of Independence gave a real feeling of history.

The Smithsonian gets all of the glory, but the really cool stuff is in the National Archives.

Donger
06-13-2006, 02:19 PM
Viewing the actual Declaration of Independence gave a real feeling of history.

Depends on what you mean by "actual." The original copy is not the one on display at the Archives.

Rain Man
06-13-2006, 02:19 PM
Thanks for the pics, Red Sea.

I'm torn on some of the more modern memorials. I really like the Korean War Memorial, but at the same time I have a strong predisposition toward memorials that are massive and imposing and marble. For example, the FDR Memorial is pathetic, in my opinion. It's more like a cheap local park attraction than a national memorial to the president who led America in its darkest hours.

In my mind, nothing can beat the Lincoln Memorial. Best monument ever. It's big, it's marble, it's got columns and stuff, and then inside it's got that great statue of Lincoln and that fantastic, simple quote. (I admit, I had to look it up.) “In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.”

vailpass
06-13-2006, 02:42 PM
Good point. The government should force us to go there so we can learn about our freedom. :)
ROFL

Here's an interesting question. With DNA now, they can actually identify the soldiers who are in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Should they?
No. For me the Unknown tombs represent not only the heroes interred therein but every one of our sons and daughters who give their lives in service and are not recovered.

vailpass
06-13-2006, 02:43 PM
Depends on what you mean by "actual." The original copy is not the one on display at the Archives.

They had the original and Betsy Ross' newly restored flag when we were there (or so the guide told us :hmmm: )

vailpass
06-13-2006, 02:45 PM
I hope you guys will allow me to post a few pics I took in D.C.

The main reason I looked thru my pics was to find a few of the changing of the gaurd..but Damn it I cant seem to locate them.

Its true watching the ceremony take place is more moving than you can possibly imagine till youve been there & watched it.

Every step the gaurd takes..every click of his heels..to know it goes non stop..its something youve just got to witness.

I agree also moving is the Errie feeling you get when you walk along the Korean monument.
Every soldier has an emotion on their face that just yanks you in.




:clap: Very cool, I can't wait toreturn with my sons when they are old enough to know whats going on.

Donger
06-13-2006, 02:48 PM
They had the original and Betsy Ross' newly restored flag when we were there (or so the guide told us :hmmm: )

As I remember correctly, the first, hand-written Declaration has been lost. Timothy Matlack (sp?) was commissioned to hand-write a copy. That is the one that all the delegates signed, and the one that is on display at the Archives.

The 'original' is gone.

vailpass
06-13-2006, 02:49 PM
As I remember correctly, the first, hand-written Declaration has been lost. Timothy Matlack (sp?) was commissioned to hand-write a copy. That is the one that all the delegates signed, and the one that is on display at the Archives.

The 'original' is gone.

Thank you; I learned something new today.

Donger
06-13-2006, 02:54 PM
Thank you; I learned something new today.

You're welcome. IMO, it doesn't detract from the historical importance of the document on display in the Archives, considering all the signatories.

I'm going to have to look this up now, but only Hancock and some other guy signed the 'original.' It was then sent to a printer (Dunlop?) who made ~200 print-set copies. About 20 of these copies remain today. So, in reality, they are the oldest 'copies' of the Declaration of Independence.

Discuss Thrower
06-13-2006, 04:02 PM
http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/outrage/cadet.htm

Reading that continues to piss me off.