The heart and soul of our programs is our Community Presentation. Upon request, the Society will attempt to schedule a former Tomb Guard to make a presentation and accept questions relating to the Tomb and the Society.
The Community Presentation provides a detailed summary of Arlington National Cemetery (ANC), the origins of the Tomb, the selection, funeral and interment of the Unknowns laid to rest at the Tomb, the Tomb Guards, and the Society.
This is a perfect opportunity for schools, civic organizations, fraternities and sororities, and businesses to introduce their organizations to the U.S. Most Sacred Shrine.
In lieu of scheduling a Community Presentation, the Society produced a video for public viewing.
Tomb Guard Assistance Program
The Society provides the following services to current and former Tomb Guards:
- Provide Tomb Guard Identification Badges, label pins, and challenge coins to current Tomb Guards.
- Provide a transition mentoring program for current Tomb Guards transitioning from active duty to the civilian workplace.
- Provide a continuing mentoring program for current and former Tomb Guards.
- Provide funeral memorial items and service assistance to surviving family members upon the death of a Tomb Guard, including; memorial cards, headstone pewter insignia medallion, floral wreath, permanent memorial webpage, assistance with setting up military honors, and coordinating the attendance of a Society member at the funeral.
Support the Society
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.