The armed forces guard in ~ the tomb of the Unknown Soldier is adjusted in an intricate ceremony which wake up every hour on the hour native October 1 through March 31, and also every half hour indigenous April 1 through September 30.

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Twenty-four hrs a day, soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, well-known as "The Old Guard," stand watch end the Tomb. The dig Guards, additionally called Sentinels, are chosenfor this prestigious and highly selectivepostonly after rigorous training and also a demanding series of examinations (see below). The Old Guard has held this distinguished duty because 1948.An impeccably uniformed relief commander shows up on the plaza to announce the an altering of the guard. Soon, the new Sentinel leaves the dig Guard quarters and also unlocks the bolt the his or she M-14 rifle, signaling come the relief commander to begin the ceremony. The relief command walks out to the Tomb and also salutes, then encounters the spectators and asks them come stand and remain silent during the ceremony.

The relief command conducts a comprehensive white-glove investigate of the weapon, check each part of the rifle once. Then, the relief commander and the relieving Sentinel meet the retiring Sentinel in ~ the center of the black color mat in former of the Tomb. All three salute the Unknown Soldiers who have actually symbolically been given the Medal of Honor. The relief commander orders the relieved Sentinel,"Pass on her orders." The current Sentinel commands, "Post and also orders, stay as directed." The freshly posted Sentinel replies, "Orders acknowledged," and also steps into position top top the mat. As soon as the relief command passes, the new Sentinel starts walking in ~ a cadence the 90 procedures per minute.

The tomb Guard marches exactly 21 procedures down the black color mat behind the Tomb, turns, faces eastern for 21 seconds, turns and faces north for 21 seconds, then takes 21 steps down the mat and also repeats the process. (The number 21 symbolizes the highest military honor that deserve to be bestowed, the 21-gun salute.) Next, the Sentinel executes a sharp "shoulder-arms" activity to place the weapon ~ above the shoulder closest to the visitors, signifying that he or she stands in between the Tomb and also any possible threat.

When not "walking," the tomb Guards spend their duty time in quarters below the Memorial display Room the the Memorial Amphitheater, where they examine cemetery history,clean their tools and aid the remainder of your relief prepare because that the an altering of the guard.


Sentinels that the dig of the Unknown Soldier

The Sentinels the the tomb of the Unknown Soldier was standing watch 24 hours a day, 365 work a year, in anyweather. Sentinels, who volunteer for this post, are taken into consideration the upstream of the elite third U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), headquartered at surrounding Fort Myer, Virginia.

After members the the third U.S. Infantry Regiment become ceremonially qualified, they space eligible come volunteer because that duty together Sentinels at the Tomb. If accepted, they are assigned to firm E that The Old Guard. Every soldier need to be in superb physics condition, own an unblemished army record and be in between 5 feet, 10 inches and 6 feet, 4 inches tall because that menor 5 feet, 8 inches and also 6 feet, 2 inch tall because that women, through a proportionate weight and build.

Would-be dig Guards must an initial undergo aninterview and a two-week trial. During the attempt phase, lock memorize 7 pages that Arlington national Cemetery history. This details must it is in recited verbatim in stimulate to knife a "walk."

If a soldier overcome the very first training phase, "new soldier" training begins. New Sentinels discover the history of Arlington nationwide Cemetery and also the grave locations of nearly 300 veterans.They find out the guard-change ceremony, the hand-operated of arms, and also methods for maintaining their uniforms and also weapons in immaculate condition.

The Sentinels have to pass multiple exam to knife the privilege of wearing the silver tomb Guard identification Badge. First, they room tested on their manual of arms knowledge, uniform preparation andwalks. Then, they take thebadge test, consisting of100 randomly selected questions from the 300 items memorized during training. The would-be badge holder need to get an ext than 95 percent correct.

The tomb Guard Identification badge is a momentary award until the badge-holding Sentinel has actually honorably served at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier because that nine months. At the time, the compensation can end up being apermanent badge, which may be worn because that the rest of a army career. The silver badge is one upside-down, laurel-leaf wreath surrounding a relenten of the Tomb's prior face,the words "Honor Guard," and also figures representing Peace, Victory and Valor. End 600 dig Guards have earned the badge due to the fact that the so late 1950s.

The dig Guards work-related on a three-relief rotation; every relief hasone commander and around six Sentinels. The 3 reliefs are organizedby height, so the those in each guard change ceremony look comparable in appearance. The Sentinelswear the army dress blue uniform, memory of the color and style worn through soldiers during the so late 1800s.


The third U.S. Infantry Regiment

The third U.S. Infantry Regiment, traditionally recognized as "The Old Guard," is the oldest active-duty infantry unit in the Army, serving the united States due to the fact that 1784. The Army's main ceremonial unit and escort to the president, it likewise provides defense for Washington, D.C.in time of nationwide emergency or polite disturbance.The unit got its surname from Gen. Winfield Scott during a victory parade at Mexico City in 1847, adhering to its valorous power in the mexico War.The black-and-tan "buff strap" worn top top the left shoulder replicatesthe knapsack strap offered by the unit's 19th-century predecessorsto distinguish its members from other military units.

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The Old Guard every year participates in more than 6,000 ceremonies, an typical of 16 per day. In spite of this arduous schedule, The Old Guard additionally continuously prepares because that its security and also infantry missions by conducting year-round training. All soldiers room as familiar with traditional infantry or military-police duties as they are with ceremonial duties.