Army says soldiers will guard Tomb of the Unknowns despite blizzard

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – As winter storm Jonas barrels into the East Coast, a small group of soldiers will remain guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, despite the weather.

Since April 1948, soldiers from the Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment’s ‘The Old Guard’ have guarded the Tomb 24 hours a day, 365 days a year regardless of the weather.

According to ABC News, even this severe storm will not stop them.

“These guys will be out in the snow, no matter what,” said Major Russell Fox, a spokesman for the Army’s Old Guard. “They love what they’re doing and they’re dedicated.”

A ‘relief’ is usually 6 soldiers serving a 24-hour shift guarding the Tombs. They change shifts each morning at 6 a.m.

Arlington National Cemetery closed at noon Friday due to the storm, but there are planned reliefs for both Saturday and Sunday. The soldiers are familiar to tourists as they wear their dress blue uniforms and march around the remains of an unknown soldier from World War I, World War II and the Korean War.

They march in front of the tombs for 21 paces, then face north to stand at attention for 21 seconds before marching 21 paces in the other direction.

When the cemetery is closed, the soldiers may change out of their dress blue uniforms into camouflage uniforms. At night and in poor weather they are allowed to go inside a small enclosure, known as ‘the box.’ They are allowed to stay in the enclosure for 2 hour intervals.