Serving at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Tomb) was a defining period in the lives of Tomb Guards. Although Tomb Guards come from every state in the United States of America (U.S.) and every walk of life, they are forever bonded through their shared experience of service at the Tomb. A strong bond was formed through an extremely demanding and humbling experience.
Herbert E Cleveland, Sr., Jul 74 to Aug 75, Rest in Peace Brother, We Have the Watch
February 9, 2020
Herbert Eugene Cleveland, Sr., born November 27, 1953, of Kansas City, MO, was called home on December 17, 2019. Herb is preceded in death by his parents, Loren and Mary Cleveland. He is survived by...
John David Gira, Sep 1955 to Sep 1956, Rest in Peace Brother, We Have the Watch
February 9, 2020
John David Gira, 86, of Harrisonburg, Va., passed away on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 at home in the care of his loving family and an amazing nursing staff. He was born April 15, 1933 in Yonkers, NY...
Our membership consists of former and current Tomb Guards, family members of deceased Tomb Guards, and patriotic individuals and organizations that have an affinity for the Society mission. Some of the benefits we offer are:
- Member Exclusive Merchandise
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- Quarterly Newsletters
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The Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (SHGTUS) is able to provide our programs, events, assistance, scholarships, and services due to the generosity of its members, organizations, and individuals. SHGTUS does not receive institutional funding. Note: The Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a 501(c)(3) organization, so your contributions may be fully tax deductible.
Did you know?
How many Sentinels have been female?
There have been over 630 tomb guards awarded the badge since 1958 when we started counting. There are hundreds more from the year 1926 when the Army started guarding the Tomb. The 3rd US Infantry (The Old Guard) is the unit that has been given the duty of guarding the Tomb. It was given this sacred duty in 1948. The Old Guard was -- and still is -- considered a combat unit. As an Infantry unit, females were not permitted in the ranks for many years. It wasn't until 1994 that females were permitted to volunteer to become a Sentinel when the 289th Military Police Company was attached to the Old Guard. The MP branch is a combat support unit and includes females.
In 1996, SGT Heather Johnson became the first female to earn the Tomb Guard Identification Badge. She volunteered for duty in June 1995 and earned her badge in 1996. However, SGT Johnson was not the only female Sentinel. Since then, there have been three additional female Sentinels awarded the Tomb Guard Identification Badge. SGT Danyell Wilson earned her badge in 1997, SSG Tonya Bell received hers in 1998, and SGT Ruth Hanks earned her badge, #643 in June 2015.
Several other units have since been attached to the Old Guard -- food service, transportation, medics, etc. -- so now females have an ever greater opportunity to become a Sentinel. Females must meet the same requirements as the male soldiers to be eligible to volunteer at the Tomb. the only difference is that females have a minimum height of 5'8" -- which is the same standard to be a member of the Old Guard.