The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is one of the most iconic sites in our nation’s capital. The tomb was created for the unidentifiable servicemen who died in the various US wars.

Each year millions of people from all over the world visit the Tomb for the Changing of the Guard Ceremony, a captivating ceremony and one of our nation’s most prestigious.

Staff Sergeant Jacob Davenport served as the Tomb Guard for three years and will discuss the ins and outs of the Tomb, an in depth talk about the ceremony, what it takes to be a tomb guard and more…

TRANSCRIPT – Transcript and Subtitles are generated automatically by YouTube and may contain errors.

Okay, this is Veteran’s live show I’m Ronny Ymbras I served with the 101st airborne Division in Vietnam in 1967 and 98 good evening Vietnam Tonight’s guest is a former Guard of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Staff Sergeant Jacob Davenport of the 101st Airborne Division.The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is one of the most iconic sites in our nation’s capital, created for the unidentifiable servicemen who died in the various US wars. Staff Sergeant Jacob Davenport served as the Tomb Guard for three years and will discuss the ins and outs of the Tomb, an in depth talk about the changing of the guard ceremony and more. We will speak with Staff Sergeant Davenport in just a few moments but first I’d like to let you all know that this program is brought to you by Fallen Never Forgotten: Vietnam Memorials in the USA. Fallen Never Forgotten is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Book, a tribute to those who never made it home from Vietnam. Visit for more information or to purchase your copy….okay this date
june 9th 1967 operation akron
was conducted by the 1st brigade 9th
infantry division and first and third
of the eleventh cav and the army for
eighteenth division
in hat jig the operation resulted in
412 pavement one 911
killed the number one song on may 19
68 was respect by aretha franklin
this date in the vietnam war on june 9th
u.s advisor paul vann died in a
helicopter crash in south vietnam
then retired u.s army colonel and the
head of chords for the central highlands
i directed defense of the canto province
during his years
in vietnam in vietnam vanna acquired
much influence
and fame and his funeral in washington
was attended by
the who’s who of us civilian and
military leaders
the number one song on june 9 1972
was candyman by sammy davis jr
let’s go to the photo segment
okay let’s take that first photo
cesillar ham junior sent in from
catherine leroy french photographer
airborne qualified she jumped into 173rd
she was 5’3
stayed in the jungle with the troops
catherine was captured by the via
the nva she took pictures for life
they released her once they realized she
was press
okay cecil hamm jr
uh continues with the same photo
she cussed and edited his ass to where
she learned to cut so bad
she said from the united states marines
there you go semper fi all right
dean mark martins myself in the front
very good pfc won the first airborne
division good
uh for seven months and 65 and 66 with a
second 320th artillery 101st airborne
good union man i was in a headquarters
battery the 320th
okay you were a replacement leo
was there five months when i arrived he
was the best soldier and paratrooper and
i ever served with very thank you very
much for that
oh we became good friends boy he’s a
long one i think we went through
everything that
they could through they threw at us the
army and the vc that was
and we made it home very good excellent
okay john william murphy an m113
from the 28th regiment of the ninth
rock that’s re republic of korea
soldiers west of tuiwan 1968.
and that’s it our next one cecil hamm jr
preparing for a mission in deep jungle
wear tiger stripes and the sergeant
showing how
to apply camouflage even to the back of
the neck
it was important to do it right the
enemy called us men with green faces
as a nickman nickname very good yeah
it’s important to put the stuff on so
you’re not spotted okay see solar ham jr
tigers were not all over vietnam but
they were in our area in g company
rangers american division they would
stalk you during the day but come in at
night and grab a soldier to eat
we were worn by the marine recon who
were leaving
they lost some men to this wow
that’s crazy
okay here’s the card for tonight vietnam
card imagine this playing cards for
what do we got here apparel’s in the
jungle okay
american soldiers in vietnam quickly
learned that one of the enemy’s most
deadly weapons was the booby trap
north vietnamese booby traps are simple
in design but very deadly
punji pits were carefully camouflaged
and fitted with poisonous wooden stakes
bouncing betty mines and tripwires
attached to grenades
also with some of the other perils in
the jungle
they meant to that point
all right welcome into the bunker
sergeant jay
thanks thanks so much where’s home
where’s home well tennessee is home
i’m currently stationed at fort campbell
and uh right outside
right outside the base there you go all
right welcome
uh welcome into our into the bunker
there’s a big time here we met jay on
memorial day
in dc he led the color guard and
presented colors with the 101st airborne
wreath playing ceremony and with
that in mind in the hospitality suite
we got talking to jay about other things
and sure enough he served with the
tomb of the unknown soldier guard honor
is that the honor guard yes sir is it
called honor guard
you know you can correct me i’m an e5
your e6 okay so now we record this
interview we’re going to discuss the too
many unknown soldier
and we’re going to play the interview
now and then afterwards we’ll do a live
q a with mr davenport so ask your
questions below
in the sec comment section the interview
is cut into three parts
here is part one
good afternoon this is veterans live
show live from arlington cemetery
in washington d.c on memorial day today
we have a very special guest jay
davenport who has served with the honor
guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier
and that’s what this story is are going
to be about good evening jay
thank you very much sir i’m staff
sergeant jay davenport
uh i joined the army in 2012
and uh now i serve at fort campbell with
the 101st
airborne division uh and now we’re here
um i’m gonna talk a little bit
about my time as a guard at the tomb of
the unknown soldier
ladies and gentlemen may i have your
attention please
i am sergeant davenport of the third
infantry regiment
united states army guard of honor
tomb of the unknown soldier this
ceremony that you are about to witness
is the changing of the guard in keeping
with the dignity of this ceremony
it is requested that everyone remain
and standing thank you
all right jay please give us a brief
history of the tomb okay the unknown
soldier all right
so the the first soldier was buried at
the tomb of the unknown soldier on
11 november 1921 and that was the world
war one
unknown and so that was when they
created the tomb of the unknown soldier
and they did so because
actually other countries our allies were
creating tombs of
the unknown soldier for their troops and
so the u.s
uh thought it was fit that we’d do the
same so 11 november 1921
this year marks a hundred years ago when
that happened and then uh
after that the world war ii and korea
unknown soldiers were uh actually
on this day 30 may in 1958
63 years ago right if my math is correct
on this day 63 years ago the world war
ii and korea war
unknown soldiers were interred there
in 1984 the vietnam unknown soldier was
buried there at the tomb
but he was later identified in 1998
uh he was first lieutenant michael blasi
was his name he was a fighter pilot with
the air force
and after they identified him they sent
him back to his hometown st
louis missouri and buried him there in
the military cemetery there in st louis
so that’s the brief history about the
tomb uh as far as
the guards go uh the tomb was first
guarded in 1925 and interestingly enough
that was actually civilians who guarded
the tomb
and then in 1926 one year later the army
thought it would be a good idea to post
a guard there so they did
during cemetery hours then in 1937
on july 2nd at midnight was the
beginning of the
24 hour vigil and so the tomb has been
guarded every hour of every day since
on midnight july 2nd 1937.
so the tomb of the unknown soldier
really represents
all the unknown soldiers uh throughout
so not a lot of people know this but in
war’s past
there there were many many uh
unknown soldiers and definition of that
is a fallen soldier
body that they cannot identify so
and this is common in world war one
world war two in korea
uh fortunately by the time the vietnam
war came around they they had gotten
better with
tracking soldiers uh oil service members
i should say all branches
um but there are many many unknown
soldiers there are
uh over four thousand i believe it’s
four thousand seven hundred
unknown soldiers buried in arlington
national cemetery alone
and many many thousands more across the
world even uh so the tomb of the unknown
it has one service member uh
from world war one world war ii and
korea but they represent all the unknown
throughout history so it’s really man
it’s a
it’s a it was a great honor to to serve
there and
um the tomb represents
it is a place for loved ones
next of kin of fallen service members
uh who never made it back home it’s a
place for them to visit because
you know let’s say you might have been a
spouse of a world war ii
soldier who would died overseas
and they might have never found their
body they may have
not been able to identify it so they
don’t have a place to go to visit their
so those types of people throughout
have come to the tomb of the unknown
soldier to
visit what represents the grave of their
exactly one more question would be
what’s your most memorable moment as a
that’s a that’s uh a tough question
of course there are there were so many
memorable moments i mean
it was a great job so i served there uh
three years from uh august 2012 to
2015. and during so during that time
um i had a lot a lot of great moments
i will i will say one of them one of the
the top ones that
that comes to mind is um i was actually
uh fortunate enough to to do a reflame
at the tomb of the unknown soldier to
commemorate the 150th anniversary
of arlington national cemetery so
arlington national cemetery was
formed in uh june 15 1864.
so on june 15th 2014
uh i participated in a ceremony uh
wreath-laying ceremony
at the tomb of the unknown soldier to
commemorate the cemetery
and honor the tomb of the unknown
soldier so that’s definitely one of
the top things on my list okay let’s see
a routine of a
say a daily scheduling okay yeah well
how many days between
gotcha all right it’s a kind of a weird
schedule it’s an old
uh like firefighter schedule so the
guards they work 24 hours on
24 off so day on day off you do that
three times covering a six day period
and then you get three days off so the
total schedule is is nine days
okay uh as you’re rotating throughout
that guard shift
like i said you got you know if a relief
was full you would have six soldiers
um in the summer the summer time like we
are right now
they do 30-minute shifts while the
cemetery is open
so if you rotated that between six guys
you know you might be on
you might do 30 minutes on and then come
down to the quarters and
you might be off for two hours yeah a
couple hours
refit your uniform shine your shoes
touch up your shoes
if you need to when the sun’s out in the
heat of the summer that
the sun really bakes your your shoes the
the the polish on your shoes makes them
so a lot of times you do 30 minute guard
shift come down have to shine your shoes
before you can go back up that sort of
and so you do that rotate out and then
after the cemetery closes
at nighttime uh they guard a two hour
well sometimes one hour shifts depending
on uh different things but
generally two hour shifts throughout the
okay wow very informative jay is there
anything uh
about that first part you like to
mention clarify or add to
um let’s see
i can’t really think of anything uh do
you have any questions yourself no
pretty uh pretty and pretty informative
i mean i don’t
you know i mean my questions are asked
uh maybe just this one
uh is there anybody in there yeah
so the you mean actually entered there
correct the body in the in the white
vault right so the
the world war one world war ii and korea
unknown soldiers
are still there um i
i don’t think anybody really knows uh
how much of them is there because
it could have it could have only been uh
right yes there are there are
parts of human remains for each of those
yes that’s great very symbolic
yeah the vietnam crypt
is uh empty because i i guess this is a
good thing to mention
uh just came to me um we didn’t talk
in the in the video interview was uh
that there was only one unknown soldier
from the vietnam war
uh so once he was identified
luckily you know that’s very fortunate
that there was nobody to
replace that that body so he was the
he was the only body that we possessed
that we could not identify
and uh so since time has gone on
technology has improved
we are able to identify bodies as we
find them
you know because for those who don’t
know the united states still
goes to these foreign countries where we
uh previously fought wars and they
will find uh they’ll spend lots of time
over there to
track down uh remains of fallen service
members and they’ll bring them back to
the states and they’ll
they’re able to identify them so uh so
that’s great so there’s no
uh unknown soldiers from the vietnam war
yeah we had a guest on actually who did
to look for survivors from plane crashes
helicopter crashes especially
yeah what’s the other map yeah with the
fine they
found some remains and with the dna
thing now it really
in technology has enhanced so far so
yeah thank you for bringing it up but uh
uh okay uh let’s go to roll a part two
of the interview
all right yeah interesting things that i
see there
uh one with the inspection it seems as
though the sergeant
commander talks about oh look overlooks
you guys your back your neck your
shave your any length on your jacket
you’re creasing your
pants right what’s up with that so
that would be the the final i was what
we call
the final inspection before that
oncoming guard
goes on duty and the reason i say final
inspection is because
when a soldier is downstairs getting
ready to go out for his guard shift
the the rest of the relief including his
ncos and everyone
is looking at his uniform uh literally
top to bottom like you said
any piece of lint any uh you know
string on the uniform anything like that
they’re inspecting him
for could be 10 minutes right before he
goes out the door
and really that inspection that you see
on the plaza
that happens right before he during the
guard change
you’re really looking for things that
might have happened between
the door and the inspection block
which is only i don’t know 50 feet or
something 60 feet maybe
but you might be surprised sometimes it
does happen where
you know because you’re walking under
trees i i’ve seen you know things fall
out of the tree
onto a soldier’s uniform or maybe
there’s a high wind and his hat gets
blown crooked something like that so
um that’s the time that sergeant would
fix that
uniform right before he takes the takes
his walk
all right who cleans the weapon who
cleans the weapon um
right right yeah the guards so we we we
clean the weapons
every single day right even though they
never fired
yeah even though they’re never fight
they could not they couldn’t they might
not have seen rain
uh they’re they weren’t fired but we we
clean them every day that’s
one of the daily routines what inspired
you to become a god
that uh that would that’s kind of an
interesting uh
interesting situation for myself because
uh so
i first visited arlington and the tomb
when i was 14 years old
and i already had a little bit of
information about that because i had a
family member
my great uncle my grandmother’s brother
was actually a tomb guard in 1957
1958 long time ago when we
visited the cemetery for his funeral in
uh i went and interacted with some of
the guards and talked to them
and i would say it was at that point
that i decided i wanted to be a tomb
i made it happen that’s what i wanted to
do so i that’s what i did
if you didn’t inspire yourself to do
that that this that’s inspiration came
to you
how would somebody sort of apply or
be nominated or has that how do they how
do they be how do they get to the tomb
when i was in basic training at fort
benning they had a recruiter from the
old guard who who was
stationed down there to find guys and
that recruiter is looking for uh
because that’s the home of the infantry
but also uh there
there are of course other mos’s uh
support mos’s
in the regiment that they can also apply
to be tuned guards
so but for my case uh at
fort benning i talked to the recruiter
he’s looking for three things he wants
you to be taller than five foot ten
and uh has certain requirements for
asvab scores back when i joined it was
uh they looked at the gt score
of the 110 or higher it may have changed
by now but uh and then the third thing
is of course
pt test what’s your pt test look like
and he looks at those three things and
if you volunteer
he’ll put you on orders to the old guard
so that’s what i did got to the old
then uh you have to volunteer
and try out to be a tomb guard so
um that was for me i just went
straight to the to the sergeant of the
guard and i was like
hey uh you know i this is something i
really want to do
um i had a family member who was a tomb
and and he saw my motivation
he knew that you know that i had a
passion for it so
he’s like well we’ll give you a shot how
many steps
uh back and forth right there 21. yeah
so i’ll talk a little bit about that
good question good question okay
so once the guard the oncoming guard
takes the mat
we that’s what we call it the black mat
you see there
uh once he once he takes the mat he’s
posted on duty
uh his this is his routine so he’ll
stand on
on one side he’ll uh walk 21 steps to
the other
he’ll turn and face dc and he’ll pause
for 21 seconds
then he’ll turn back down the mat change
so the rifle is always facing the crowd
not the tomb so he
all the rifle is always on the side
of the crowd so he changes shoulders
pauses 21 seconds
and then continues takes 21 more steps
and continues that process during
during his guard shift and how often
does the
steps take place you mean the the
no the walking back and forth is this
continuously does that yeah continuously
the whole time he’s out there okay yeah
yeah yeah
and uh how’s the crowds the crowds you
know how do you
get disrespectful or yeah um what’s
going on
i know one one thing that a lot of
people might want to
ask about is uh when you see a tomb
guard like yelling at the crowd
or yelling at a person i know there’s a
few videos you know floating around
on the online of things like that and
people all people always ask me
uh have you ever done that and and i’m
like yes
because they don’t realize it actually
happens quite often and the most common
offense would be people talking too loud
so when you walk up to the tomb there’s
a sign that says silence and respect
and there’s a lot of you know
school groups young kids who visit the
cemetery which is great um
but when you get a large group of kids
together you know how it goes sometimes
happens probably once a week at least
but for the most part um the crowds that
come to the tomb they know
most of the time they know what it’s
about they know to be respectful and
they generally are
great any real wild scenes ever outburst
by the crowd or
um yes there there was there was a
couple incidents
uh while i was there there was a couple
incidents of note uh one time
um i saw some visitors come up
and they clearly did not speak english i
they were believed
i believe they were speaking german and
uh they were speaking very loud and so
and i had to yell at them and uh they
actually yelled back
i don’t know what they said because i
don’t speak german but i’m pretty sure
they were cussing me out in german
so uh uh then luckily they just walked
off but i what
in a situation like that what the guard
is going to do is
um he’s going to call down to the office
and bring someone up you know who’s in
questions yeah exactly the enforcement
uh when you look at if you’re standing
uh on the steps looking at the tomb over
to the left side you’ll see a green
tent looking thing right in that that
little tent
there’s uh really three things a mirror
a phone and a bottle of water so the
mirror you know of course if you need to
look at your uniform you can the guard
can at any time
he can walk in that box to use any of
those three things and so
he can look in the mirror check his
uniform he can call down
it’s a direct line to the office where
the rest of the relief is
um which is right below the memorial
and uh and then of course a bottle of
water um
what he’s doing with that bottle of
water is that he’s actually wetting his
to get a better grip on the rifle so
that’s what that’s
that’s what yeah yeah yeah it’s really
good yeah
wow that’s amazing anything else you’d
like to
share with us that you might have missed
or could
yeah i would like to talk about um
about a couple of the pictures that were
rolling uh during the
while that was playing so uh there was
two pictures that
that were rolling of myself at
guarding the tomb wearing two different
uniforms one raincoat and an overcoat so
i just like to take him in and talk
the three different uniforms that you
might see a tomb guard wearing
so um the main uniform of course
is the class a’s uh the dress blues that
you see
uh we call them asus now
of the army service uniform because it’s
the official dress uniform of the army
the dress blues are the other
the next one uh you’ll see a picture
that rolled
you can go back after this is archived
after it’s um done but there’s a picture
of me
wearing the raincoat you’ll see a
there’s like a torrential downpour and
there’s a you you’ll see me wearing that
raincoat and then
you’ll see another picture of me in the
snow wearing the overcoat
so the raincoat just like a trench coat
and then the overcoat that you see um
is like a double-breasted wool coat and
you actually wear a scarf
underneath that and and so the standard
when i was there was i believe uh
below 45 degrees you wore that overcoat
um with white gloves and then it was
below 35 degrees you wore black leather
okay and then in the rain you wore that
that raincoat
with uh just the white gloves but that
one picture of me guarding the tomb in
the in the rain
was pretty cool it was another um
memorial um memorable moment from
my time while i was there because uh
like i said it was pouring down rain
and i look over and uh i see a guy
standing out there in the rain taking
pictures of the tomb
and um i remember thinking that was
pretty cool
of him you know everyone else uh when it
started raining they
they took off running towards shelter uh
but that guy
uh stood out there in the rain and was
taking pictures of the tomb so
after that shift was over and i’m
talking about it was
pouring down rain one of the hardest
rains that i was in
right after that shift was over i came
downstairs and i changed my clothes
really fast
into civilian clothes and i went back
to see if i could find that guy and i
saw him walking down the sidewalk
and so i went over there and stopped him
and uh it was kind of funny
he turned around and was kind of shocked
because he’s probably thinking how did i
changed out of my uniform so fast but i
i was like hey uh i said uh
i appreciate you standing out there in
the rain with me you know and he said uh
oh yeah uh he said i love being here and
all this kind of stuff
and i said uh i would love to have that
picture if you wouldn’t mind sending it
to me and he did
it the man he lived in maryland not too
far away uh
from dc but his name was mike lubecker
and i’m still i’m friends with him on
facebook to this day because
um he just really uh made an impact on
that day that he uh stood out there in
the rain with me and was taking pictures
of the tomb i thought it was really cool
of him
yeah great under all conditions amen yep
this is really any anything
any odds and ends that we again
do with that okay we’re gonna go to the
final segment with the interview with
the former
tomb staff sergeant jay davenport here
we go
you need to answer that right yeah after
that we’re going to do a q a
sounds good is this your sentinel badge
yeah so
yeah i’ll talk a little bit about that
um so the the formal name is the guard
tomb of the unknown soldier
identification badge and
uh it’s one of the fewest uh of the one
of the least awarded badges
in the army and uh it was created in
so like i mentioned before there were
tomb guards military tomb guards all the
way back to 1926
but they didn’t create a badge for the
job until 1958
and since 1958 there have been 688 of
awarded and uh that is a
an average of about 10 a year uh and
they’re all numbered
mine is number 612. could the badge ever
be taken away could you be revoked or
lose your badge
yes so the tomb guard badges
uh i believe the the only military badge
that can be taken away from you revoked
i should say
uh for the rest of your life and that
what that means is that’s amazing when
you get an award in the military you get
uh orders for it and basically what that
means is
uh if they so choose they can strip you
up those orders like you never had it
so that has happened and these and this
this is you know one of the things that
that it could be caused by if you
uh got out of the service and one day
you made some bad choices and you
uh got arrested for whatever reason
uh no it could be east yes really yeah
that low
yeah then uh you could get your badge
revoked you could yeah
wow so unfortunately it’s happened a few
times something we’re not really proud
of but uh it has happened and it can’t
happen and
and uh so it keeps you know keeps you on
your toes i guess
stay out of trouble but they the reason
they they do that is um
uh is because it would really
bring discredit upon the tomb of the
unknown soldier
you know so if you have a former guard a
former tomb guard
who uh you know made some bad choices
you know got into some some legal
trouble whatever
then um you don’t want that really
staining the importance of the tomb i
would say sure
so that’s why that’s why they do it
up shoulder oh
my training is different for everyone
but my training at the tomb
uh took me seven months
which you go through a two-week
selection process to even begin
training once you pass that two-week
selection process
you may be there about two months
before they’ll let you go out and guard
of course
uh once they feel you’re qualified
to go out there and start the job uh
prior to that you’re gonna be training
at night
on every time you’re at work at night
time you’re always training
uh while you’re in training and so
there’s a series of tests that you
complete there’s five of them
and they’re all the same tests and it’s
testing on uniforms
your knowledge your history you got to
uh 17 pages of history about
the tomb the cemetery um
different things like that and then the
very last test is what we call the badge
test once you complete that batch test
you’re awarded the badge so that whole
process right there took me
seven months and uh after
you complete that uh the work has really
just begun
now you’re a qualified sentinel at the
tomb of the unknown soldier and
you know you’re expected to to serve
their uh
the minimum would be nine months i would
do it again
if if needed to you know of course i
would i would uh
i would serve again but um it was
such a a highlight of my life
that i don’t think i could recreate it
you know what i mean
um so i i closed that chapter and
when a tomb guard leaves when his
service is done they do a last
walk ceremony so it’s the last the last
guard shift you’ll ever complete at the
tomb and so
i did that on um let’s see it was i know
august 31st
2015 was my last time i guarded the tomb
that was my last walk and you do a
rose laying ceremony at the end and uh
so that’s like the
that’s like closing the book you know
what i mean so i closed that book
that part of that chapter of my life and
now it’s great to just be able to
to talk to people like you and your your
listeners who
who are interested in learning about the
i i love to to give the history because
uh so many people are interested in the
tomb guards
and all of us tomb guards we like to
put the focus on the unknown soldiers
you know we’re there because of them
um and so that’s what that’s what i like
to do i’ll uh
talk to people and educate them and and
i know that
the tomb is being guarded right now you
know the tomb is approximately a mile
that way and i know there’s a guard
there right now and there’ll be a guard
tonight when we’re all asleep in bed and
uh so i know the
the duty is covered now the uh
weapons uh each everybody has their own
individual weapon no so each um
so let’s see well when i was there there
was about
four of them i guess four m14 so the
guard carries the m14
the the uh the changer the
assistant relief commander or the relief
commander they carry now the
m17 the new sig firearm
on their on their belt in a holster so
but the guards they carry the m14 um
when i was there each relief they have
their own stocks you know the
import you carry in 14. yeah okay they
come apart very easily
so when i was there each relief had
their own stocks so
when the new relief came on that day you
would take your stocks and put them on
the rifles
um and those so those stocks are like
fully customized
by the the guards so a standard m14
stock uh has a pistol grip or you know
cut into it right so what we did was we
shaved off that pistol grip
and then shaved down this the whole
stock to make it just slimmer and
sleeker and then sand it down for hours
and stain it
and you know coat it with polyurethane
different things like that a finish and
uh so you put a lot of times into the
stalks and unfortunately they don’t
really last that long because they get
so beat up
it’s during the weapon inspection during
the while the guards out there changing
shoulders they get pretty beat up i
would say a set of stocks might last
six six months or so and you gotta do it
and it’s the same for the bayonets
actually you see a bayonet on the end of
the m14 and the
the handles are wood you it’s a
m6 bayonet did you carry one of those
well right right that’s what i was going
to say is it’s plastic
is what it came on there and then uh you
you’d find some uh some guy in the in
the platoon who’s kind of
uh skilled with the wood and that was me
when i was there
and shave down the it’s a block of wood
shaving down
make it into a handle a wooden handle
for those
bayonets and same thing stain them coat
and slap them on there and they’re
beautiful they’re beautiful nobody you
don’t really get to see them up close
but if if you see them
if you hold one it’s it’s beautiful work
oh yeah we’ve got a q a session and so
send your questions or comments in
and we’ll be able to answer them at the
end of the show thank you very much
this is live from veterans live show
from monitor cemetery okay
wow that was outstanding jay thank you
so much
thank anything possible that you could
add i mean i don’t expect too much but
go ahead anything
yeah so uh one point i’d like to drive
home is
education i think every young person
should know
uh the history and everything about the
tomb of the unknown soldier
so if uh anybody is looking for an
extensive amount
of information about the tomb of the
unknown soldier they can visit it’s the uh
the website that’s run by our
association the
society of the honor guard tomb of the
unknown soldier and that’s
and you can find
all kinds of history about the tomb
itself and as
as well as the guards so uh that and
and one other thing i would like to
mention is uh
one one question that i’ve seen asked a
online is uh what does the tomb guard do
when they’re done with their service at
the tomb so i’ll talk about that a
little bit
so it’s the same as
any other duty station in the army you
got two options you can either re-enlist
and go somewhere else in the army
or you can get out and um
when i was there um it was probably
about half and half
about 50-50 soldiers got out of the army
and then
others like me reenlisted
and went somewhere else you you
generally can’t stay
in that unit just like any other unit in
the army you generally can’t stay
longer than about four years probably
three or four years is about average
that someone would stay in the old guard
and then they’d have to the army would
make a move somewhere else so so me
i i chose um i got a choice of duty
station when i re-enlisted
to go to fort campbell i chose fort
campbell because it’s
uh home right nfc kentucky border
right uh i re-enlisted uh
and came to fort campbell
and then ended up staying at fort
campbell for a long time
um i uh reported to fort campbell
in october of 2015 and then i did like
one contract
at fort campbell and then when it came
time to re-enlist i chose to uh
uh re-enlist for stabilization which
means they leave you there for another
two years
uh minimum or i think it was 18 months i
don’t remember
but anyway long story short i’ve been at
fort campbell now for
uh coming up on six years this october
so uh during my time uh here at fort
i did uh my first four years i was in
the third brigade combat team
um the first of the 187th infantry
regiment and uh
so uh during that time i deployed to
afghanistan uh
for nine months in 2016
and then came back was in
that battalion for a couple more years
and then i volunteered to work for the
101st airborne uh division honor guard
and uh and that’s where i work now and
uh and as you know that’s how i mean
there you go
they sent me the pc for a memorial day
to lay a wreath at the 101st memorial
which was awesome experience
and that’s when i met you and the rest
of the crew so um
yeah uh but anyway back to the point um
a lot of times soldiers will uh
finish their their guard duty at the
tomb of the unknown soldier and they’ll
go other places i
i got a lot of buddies who um
continued service and some of them
did some some awesome things um
there are some uh helicopter pilots
in the army that are former tomb guards
there’s lots of
um there’s lots of guys who were
tomb guards as an enlisted personnel and
then decided to make the switch to
officer and you know through ocs or what
have you different routes
i got a good friend who is a an mp
officer um and he was once uh
he was once a private at the tomb of the
unknown soldier
and then who else i got like i said a
couple helicopter pilot buddies
i got one buddy who uh is an army diver
uh that’s his full-time job now he’s a
diver 12 delta
is the mos um so different things like
and then like i said i’ve got a couple
of buddies who uh
just did their time at the tomb and and
uh and got out of the army which is cool
so yeah you got anything else for me
that’s amazing wow yeah you get man it’s
real what an experience to
to have that quote is there an mos
number to that this position
uh no sir so um any mos
can do the job right okay
so um there’s no uh
like uh uh designator or anything for
for the the job itself but while i
served there at the tomb
i served with um
a cook a mechanic
what else there you go very neat very
needy pete we need those people
right right a couple of different medics
which uh
yeah i had a good buddy who was an army
medic and he finished his time at the
tomb got out of the army and now he’s a
so there he goes to show you different
things like that um
and but it was interesting because
uh that was my you know my first duty
station in the army so i showed up there
and i’m an infantryman
uh and i showed up there and my very
team leader in the army was actually an
because he just he was the tomb guard
there happened to be a
mp and they stuck me they stuck me in
his team
uh great nco great guy but uh
yeah it’s a really cool experience
because you you know get to work with
some different mosses like that so
all right we’re gonna ready to go to the
question and answer session yeah what do
we got rolling in any questions okay
okay first question or comment
kelo knight oh very informative good
stuff thumbs up there you go
thank you kilo 19. yeah education i’m
all about
educating people about the tumor of the
unknown soldier i appreciate the shout
really when you’ve heard from physique
or bleak
when did you visit the tomb first visit
to too many unknown soldiers
all right so i was a um
a freshman in high school and i was like
many of many other young people who
go on a school trip to washington dc
right so um so i went went which is not
that common for people in tennessee
actually because you know it’s a
it’s a long drive from where i live
around nashville to d.c
it’s about 10 hours or so but uh yeah
when i was a freshman in high school we
had a school trip
went to dc um and of course that’s one
of the visits
and um uh let’s see so i would have been
14 i guess at the time gotcha all right
let me
i have a question all right are you
going to be at the uh aerosol badge
award uh reception
or celebration next week yeah yeah i
will is it next week
yeah the 24th right no sorry the 24th
yeah two weeks two weeks right yeah i’m
getting all i’m getting all excited you
yeah i’ll definitely be there and uh
yeah i’ll be there
cheering you on that’s gonna be a good
event nothing like the army giving you
something 50 years later
better late than never i guess amen okay
next question or comment
are you how how many tomb guards
badges have been revoked uh i don’t know
i don’t know and i i don’t think that
information is anywhere online or
anything but uh
like i mentioned and like i mentioned in
our interviews it’s not something we’re
proud of because uh
it’s uh it’s a sad thing that happens uh
you know you serve with these guys and
it’s like anybody in the any
anybody in the military that you serve
with you
most the time you get super close with
them right right yeah
so you hate you hate to see one of your
brothers go out and make a bad decision
you know and get in trouble and uh um
they got you get your badger books so so
the the the nicest way i can say it is
nobody sits
around and counts up how many badges
have been revoked because that’s not
good for you next question or comment
are there any real bodies or unknown
soldiers in the tomb
yeah that’s what yeah one thing you
mentioned yeah so the world war one
world war ii
and korea war unknown soldiers their
bodies are there
okay next one any other comments tom
what are the requirements for being
buried at arlington cemetery
all right yeah let’s see kind of a
question and they they actually change
it every so often but
the last this is my the last of my
uh this was the information so it’s
uh who dies while on active duty that’s
you know any branch so
any branch can be buried in arlington so
die while on active duty
uh retire from military service
or be the recipient of the medal of
distinguished service cross silver star
prisoner of war medal or the purple
i believe that’s all so so that’s the
uh to be buried in arlington now anyone
anyone who served art
honorably in the army can be buried at
any military cemetery across the country
but for arlington national cemetery
those are requirements like i said to
the best of my knowledge uh but
if if anyone needs that you know 100
accurate information definitely
contact arlington national cemetery
gotcha i one very interesting point that
saw there’s a lot of children
of soldiers or sailors or marines buried
in arlington
just the children yeah so how that works
is um
you are allotted one next of kin to be
buried with you
in arlington in a separate grave
separate grave right
no it they it’s it’s in the same plot so
uh okay because they got it their own
right so what that means is that the the
service member has not
yet passed away ah yeah
okay which is pretty unfortunate right
when you think about it that’s that’s
not yeah right yeah so what happens is
if you qualify to be buried in arlington
um like i said you can have one next of
kin either your spouse
or a child or or what have you can be
buried with you and it’s actually in the
same plot so
yeah let them know ahead of time and
what they do is they actually just
they dig the the grave twice as deep and
they stack the caskets
yeah if your spouse died before you
but you were planning on being buried in
they’ll go ahead and bury the spouse or
the child in the case that you brought
they’ll go ahead and bury the child or
the spouse there
in that plot and they’ll make a
headstone for that child or spouse
and then once the service member dies
they’ll bury the service member with
that next of kin and then they’ll make a
whole new headstone that has both names
so the name of the service member is on
the front and the name of the next akin
would be on the back
so i could put all my three boys in
there too with me
i’m already kidding i’m already kidding
i’m tracking that they only allow one
other next game you know they might you
know that might change i don’t know
okay well that’s a good question tom
thank you very much tom demiro next
question a comment
has the modified facing movements
as the modified has a modified facing
movements and rifle handling
a standard or is there some leeway for
the unit to change it for improvement
over the years
all right good question so the rifle
and the the facing movements that the
that you that you see done at the tomb
are specific to the tomb they’re the
those those that drilling ceremony is
specific to the tomb and it has changed
slightly over the years um
there was one time wait many many years
ago i would say
the 50s and 60s where they they
basically did the
manual and the drilling ceremony the
same exact way as the
rest of the army and then sometime
i believe in the 70s they started to
modify it a little bit to you know add
flair if you will uh to make it
a little fancier you know so um
but since the 70s or 80s i don’t
i don’t know the exact time frame but
somewhere along there
uh they’ve kind of made it what it is
and it has been really similar uh
throughout all that time there’s
actually a couple of pretty cool
videos on youtube when you search
youtube two million unknown soldier look
try to try finding some older videos
and you’ll see that the the rifle manual
and the facing movements are pretty
you know over the last 40 years or so
um but yeah so to answer the question
yeah um
it’s pretty much standard but it’s
specific to the tomb guards
gotcha thank you keith thank you julie
nice to see you ronnie thank you joe and
julie just happy to see the flag
you oh i hope well yeah they have uh my
family put up one of those uh banners
on the telephone poles oh yeah yeah
local town
thank you for your service and all the
things you continue to do for the
veterans thank you
julie and joe appreciate it hope you do
feeling better joe gotta get back
dancing though
okay next question kaden taylor in your
what was the most difficult part of
being or becoming a
um let’s see
that’s one thing one one thing
that’s a good question the most
difficult part um
i would say just overall discipline
becoming or being or becoming it says
becoming right because you can learn
discipline is a learned skill you know
yes uh so i would say discipline and and
pretty broad but uh you know most the
guys who when they come
to the tomb to try out and all that kind
of stuff most
of the time they’re kids like like i was
19 years old most of the time they’re
between 18 and 20
and uh you know it’s kind of tough for
to train a kid to be as disciplined as
you need to be
to be a tomb guard does that make sense
yeah okay so yeah it just as if becoming
a soldier is difficult for somebody
true true and uh you know on top of that
the discipline it takes to be a tomb
guard it’s uh
yeah that’s definitely one reason why
training takes so long is uh
teaching discipline thank you so much
caitlin for that
questionnaire all right kilo 19. is it
challenging even though you brought this
up before dealing with the spectators
uh yeah online
challenging no it’s pretty cut and dry
you know uh as a guard of any type in
the army you have
your general orders and you have your
special orders
and as long as you follow those orders
you should be good to go so i would say
no it’s not challenging uh
but it is very important to to deal with
uh any um anything that might come up
regarding spectators gotcha all right
tom demiro again appreciate your
professionalism your professionalism
in your presentation you are one good
guy man you’re a good
guy yeah but you haven’t hammer hard one
time at all no arms or nothing
well i think i don’t know i don’t think
i’m that good at speaking that’s one
what like i mentioned uh when me and me
you and matt were talking earlier before
this started uh
that video clip he played at the
beginning of me giving the speech at the
beginning of the
changing of the guard ceremony
you were a badass no you were badass
i sound completely different and uh
it took me a long time to learn how to
speak without an accent i don’t think i
have much of an accent
you know being from tennessee but uh
because this is how
i mean everyone talks the same as me
around me but
i don’t think i have much of an accident
but you know when you join army
and uh you get a bunch of different
people together from all parts of the
you uh as a tomb guard we tried to make
everyone sound the same
uh which is basically like uh what do
you call it like
the news anchor accent midwest accent or
there you go right it took me a long
time to figure out how to do that
but i definitely uh knew how to turn it
on and off
good good tom thank you so much for that
uh statement tom
are you airborne how long did it take
you to get the rifle inspection
and the movements down pat okay
well good question but here’s one thing
i’ll say
when i first started at the tomb
i was a private uh private first class
i spent the majority of my time at the
as a private first class and a
specialist and you and like we mentioned
for those ranks the primary duty is to
guard the tomb
so i didn’t have to know
the rifle inspection when i was a guard
and so i
got promoted to sergeant um i had been
there about
two and a half years or so when i got
promoted to sergeant
so i had literally seen that rifle
in front of my face hundreds
maybe thousands of times before i was
uh allowed to do it so once i once i got
promoted to sergeant i was allowed to
change the guard
so i started training on how to do that
and i’d
like i said i’d seen it done so many
times that it wasn’t that hard for me to
learn how to do it because
you know just seeing it done so many
times and uh messing around with it you
uh on my off time i picked it up pretty
quick sorry it’s get
it’s getting dark matt warned me about
this he was like yeah no problem
it’s not very bright last question
coming up last question
what about 100 disabled veterans at
cemetery that’s a good question oh he
i guess that question was in reference
to uh being buried at arlington yeah i’m
tom demiro
yeah that’s a good question and i don’t
have the answer but uh
like i said if you contact the office
there at arlington national cemetery
they can give you the current policy and
a definite answer
good thing okay real quick another one a
lot of questions here is good
kilo 19. do you have practice rifles to
save on the good ones
good question yes so we definitely do we
have um i say we
they uh go there yesterday
but uh yeah they do they have uh rifles
that they use for the ceremonies and
then they have rifles that they only use
for practice okay like i mentioned in
that in that video
there’s a whole a whole lot of different
because you can swap them out uh so like
each relief
had their own set of stocks and
sometimes different reliefs have
multiple sets of stocks
but okay and then you have a complete
other complete separate rifles and
complete separate stocks that they use
for training
and um lots of training happens at night
um because you’re on that 24-hour shift
after the cemetery closes uh that’s when
all the training happens for the new
guys and the current guys you got a
current guy’s got to keep training too
last question okay kaitlyn taylor thank
you katelyn
how long would it take you to get ready
before walking the mat like dressed
weapon ready and out the door all right
i’m laughing because that’s my wife
that’s my beautiful wife caleb
she commented all right what did you say
how long does it take to get ready
good question all right so um
good for you caitlyn uh here’s one
interesting fact that not a lot of
people know
part of the training of becoming a tomb
guard is
uh learning how to get dressed into your
in under three minutes okay now that’s
from where
you could be wearing one uniform
and you’re getting changed into a
different uniform or it could be wearing
civilian clothes getting
changed into your uniform the standard
is three minutes and here’s why
the reason is is because if forever
uh if ever an incident happened on the
plaza out there
at the tomb where a guard had to be
swapped out immediately
then they created the three-minute
standard of once you get notified you
got three minutes to change it to your
uniform and be ready to go
get out the door and be posted so that
that the tomb is still guarded and what
i’m what i mean by
um a fast uh
change might have to happen if it starts
so if it starts raining and you’re in
your uh your blouse your dress uniform
you gotta change that guard as soon as
possible to get that
uh the next guard in a raincoat so um
that’s another reason why you have that
that three-minute standard so if it
starts raining
you send a guy to go get changed into
his raincoat and then they do a guard
change right then to get that uh
that guard off the plaza who’s wearing
his nice uniform
gotcha we had one comment he says that
rival’s superman
getting out get the cake getting
everything off yeah thank you so much
jake this is really
unbelievable thank you so much god bless
you continue good service
and hope to see you down the road and
we’ll see you in kentucky next week
yeah i’ll can’t wait to see you then it
was good to see you here and uh
thanks for having me on and uh i hope
somebody learned something and um
yeah so i guess we’re out of here huh
thank you so much
all right thank you you’ve got it sir
thank you for watching
this is the veteran’s live show god
bless you and
welcome home