We all remember January’s harsh blizzard conditions. Major cities, roadways, and airports in the East Coast were largely immobilized and travel bans were even put in place. Yet, despite these, members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as “The Old Guard”, stayed with the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
According to the New York Daily News, “The Old Guard” announced they would remain in place during the snowstorm, which meteorologists suggested would be the biggest in the Washington D.C. area’s history.
It will be recalled that during that weekend snowstorm, more than 60 million were under blizzard, winter storm, or freezing rain warnings, as reported by USA Today.
The cemetery was even closed to visitors, but the regiment took 24-hour shifts at the tomb, six soldiers at the time. These Tomb Sentinels turned over watch of the tombs to another relief at 6 a.m. every morning.
Images of their dedication were posted on the group’s Facebook page.
“The Tomb Guards maintain a constant vigil at the post no matter the weather conditions,” they wrote in their post.
“These guys will be out in the snow, no matter what,” said Major Russell Fox, a spokesman for the Army’s Old Guard, in a report by ABC News. “They love what they’re doing and they’re dedicated.”
The Old Guard have guarded the Tomb for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year since April 6, 1948 regardless of the weather. They guarded the tomb during snowstorm Jonas much they like they did during Superstorm Sandy in 2012 when one soldier even volunteered to stand watch over the tomb for an unbelievable 23 hours straight.
The sight of the Tomb Sentinels are something frequent visitors of the cemetery are familiar with. These blue-clad guards “walk the mat” on the plaza in front of the marble sarcophagus that lies above the remains of an unknown World War I soldier. Unknown soldiers from World War II and the Korean War are also buried in crypts in front of the sarcophagus.
“The Old Guard” is the country’s oldest active-duty infantry unit in the army, serving since 1784. According to their website, they are “the Army’s official ceremonial unit and escort to the president, and it also provides security for Washington, D.C., in time of national emergency or civil disturbance.”