Changing of the Guard
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The soldiers who stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are hand picked and rigorously trained. They have come from every state in the union, every walk of life. There are men and women. For some this is their first unit in the Army, others are veterans of many years. Over the years there have been Regular Army and Draftees.
The duty is not for everyone. Over 80% of the soldiers who tryout for this duty do not make it.
Each soldier must have strong military bearing, discipline, stamina and present an outstanding soldierly appearance. Each Sentinel must be able to flawlessly perform seven different types of walks, honors and ceremonies. They must retain vast amounts of knowledge concerning the Tomb, Arlington National Cemetery, the United States Army and their unit.
One of the first reactions of visitors at the Tomb, is to comment on how tall the soldiers are. While you might not notice the difference in height, a Tomb Guard can tell what Relief is working . . . . just based on their height.
There are three Relief's assigned to the Tomb Guard Platoon, each consisting of 9 enlisted soldiers (they use the same break-down as a Light Infantry Squad). The heights are equal on each Relief, with the tallest assigned to the 1st Relief.