Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
pipedreams

Female Sentinel's Last Walk

Recommended Posts

SSG Hanks has been a Sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for approximately 2 years. She performed her Last Walk on 3 September 2017.

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Dric902 said:

Amazingly dedicated and committed individuals on Tomb duty

 

 

 

 

right Eric?

 

.

You'd be hard pressed to find any soldiers in any military branch that are as dedicated and committed to the mission as members of The Old Guard are. The Sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier take that dedication and commitment to a higher level.

 

I've spent more hours standing in formation at the Tomb during wreath laying ceremonies than I can count. Every minute was a solemn occasion to me and the gravity of the situation and location was always in the forefront of my consciousness.

 

While you'll never receive this message, Thank You SSG Hanks for your dedication.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, KWalrad said:

You'd be hard pressed to find any soldiers in any military branch that are as dedicated and committed to the mission as members of The Old Guard are. The Sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier take that dedication and commitment to a higher level.

 

I've spent more hours standing in formation at the Tomb during wreath laying ceremonies than I can count. Every minute was a solemn occasion to me and the gravity of the situation and location was always in the forefront of my consciousness.

 

While you'll never receive this message, Thank You SSG Hanks for your dedication.

Question, I noticed the SSG and others walking guard show no rank on their sleeves but the Sgt. doing the inspection wears their stripes.  Is this a respect things not wearing their rank?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, pipedreams said:

Question, I noticed the SSG and others walking guard show no rank on their sleeves but the Sgt. doing the inspection wears their stripes.  Is this a respect things not wearing their rank?

Ask Eric, the uniforms of the guards are very specific. I don’t know the details

 

.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, pipedreams said:

Question, I noticed the SSG and others walking guard show no rank on their sleeves but the Sgt. doing the inspection wears their stripes.  Is this a respect things not wearing their rank?

They don’t wear rank on the uniform until they are at least a corporal/Spec 4. When I was in, they started letting Spec 4s wear the two stripes of a corporal, on the dress blues. I’m not sure if that has changed. I’m not sure why a SSGT wouldn’t be wearing their rank. It’s been a long time since I was in The Old Guard. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Dric902 said:

Ask Eric, the uniforms of the guards are very specific. I don’t know the details

Maybe he will see the question, don't want to bother him today.   Thought maybe KWalrad  knew.

Never mind he picked up.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, KWalrad said:

You'd be hard pressed to find any soldiers in any military branch that are as dedicated and committed to the mission as members of The Old Guard are. The Sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier take that dedication and commitment to a higher level.

 

I've spent more hours standing in formation at the Tomb during wreath laying ceremonies than I can count. Every minute was a solemn occasion to me and the gravity of the situation and location was always in the forefront of my consciousness.

 

While you'll never receive this message, Thank You SSG Hanks for your dedication.

Wreath laying ceremonies were always special jobs. The cameras clicking always sounded like mechanical crickets. It got the pulse going. 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Eric said:

They don’t wear rank on the uniform until they are at least a corporal/Spec 4. When I was in, they started letting Spec 4s wear the two stripes of a corporal, on the dress blues. I’m not sure if that gas changed. 

The lady leaving was a Staff Sargent it says but I didn't notice rank on her sleeves.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, pipedreams said:

The lady leaving was a Staff Sargent it says but I didn't notice rank on her sleeves.

Yes and I’m not sure why she wouldn’t be wearing rank insignia. When I was in, there were no women in The Old Guard. It is a light infantry regiment. The unit must be very different today. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, pipedreams said:

If they are “unknown” 

how do we know their rank

 

.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, pipedreams said:

We never wore name tags when we were wearing ceremonial dress blues. Now that you mention it, the no rank thing sounds vaguely familiar. I wasn’t a Tomb Guard. That was a different part of the unit. I was in Delta Company. The Tomb Guards, The US Army Drill Team and some other ceremonial elements were in Echo Company. 

It was a busy assignment, being in a line company. I was in a firing party squad for our funeral honors duties. Plus, we had a wide variety of other ceremonial duties. We also trained and spent time on alert, in case of civil disturbance in the DC area. And of course we were an infantry unit and we did the field time and training associated with that. There wasn’t much down time. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About the only reason I would like to return to the East coast would be to see Arlington National Cemetary and the Tomb of the Unknown, and watch the changing of the guard.  What a solemn occasion and I have the utmost respect for those service members.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes Infantry loves field time, spent many cold nights thinking my toes would fall off.

Edited by pipedreams
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's been thirty years plus since I last wore dress blues in Arlington National Cemetery, so the memory is fuzzy (plus the rules have change (a lot) in The Old Guard), but it may very well be that the only rank worn by Sentinels is by the Sargent -of-the Guard. I may very well may be wrong though.

 

Back in my day to be eligible for TOG, a soldier had to be 11B (Infantry), male,  no criminal convictions, no visible tattoos, a GT score of 120 or higher, between 5'-11" and 6 '-6"  tall with a waist of 28", height and weight proportional. Eligible Candidates spent a month in a (New Dick) training platoon learning close-order drill, manual -of-arms, uniform prep (heavy on the inspections) and TOG history and tradition. Friday's were reserved for testing and inspections with a failure resulting in a re-test. A second failure meant a reassignment to a n Infantry line unit. Typically in Korea. 

After final graduation, you where graded on performance and sent to one of the TOG companies. High-Speed/Low-Drag troopers went to Echo Company, which at the time was the only company authorised to wear the Honor Guard tab. Echo consisted of the specialty platoons - Tomb Sentinels, Army Drill Team,  Army Color Guard, and Full Honor Platoon.

Good times.

(Sorry Op. Didn't mean to hijack the thread.)

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I recall, two years was the longest that soldiers were allowed to stay in the Tomb Guard platoon. The first six months was strictly training and preparation - learning the manual-of-arms, uniform prep, history and trivia of Arlington National Cemetery. Sentinels started walking the mat only after hours, when the Cemetery was closed to the general public. (Btw - what you see during public hours is repeated for every changing of the Guard, only the uniform is different. Dress blues weren't necessarily worn for every shift. Although the same standards were met.)

Sentinels worked three day shifts. One day off, one day uniform prep and manual practice, one day walking the mat. What the general public sees is only the tip of the iceburg. Full uniform inspections (with rulers and calipers) are held before Sentinels ever leave the barracks below the Tomb.

The selection process was one of the toughest in the military and becoming a sentinel was a lifelong choice as individuals were expected to uphold this standard for the rest of their lives. No swearing, no smoking, no alcohol, etc.  There was a minimum number of walks required in order to earn The Tomb Badge - if memory serves, it took a year and a half, and the Badge could be stripped for any infraction of the rules. Even after leaving the Army. We had a former Sentinel as a platoon sargent in Alpha Company that had his badge stripped after being convicted of murder many years after leaving TOG.

At the time that I was in there were fewer Tomb Badges issued than there were Medal of Honor recipients. It was not an easy badge to earn, with many Sentinels burning out and transferring to one of the TOG line companies before earning the badge. We could always tell former Sentinels in the line companies. They were tighter in their uniforms, crisper in their movements and were distant in interactions with platoon mates. Odd ducks that never joined in on the reindeer games that the rest of us played.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...