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Tomb Sentinels — Guarding the Honored Unknowns

For more than fifty years, an elite group of specially trained U.S. Army soldiers have meticulously guarded the Tomb of the Unknowns — an elaborate sarcophagus monument dedicated to four unidentifiable soldiers who died in World Wars I & II and the Vietnam War.

The guards of the Unknown Soldiers, called Tomb Sentinels, work in twenty-four-hour shifts, most of which are spent tediously detailing their service uniforms. The process of preparing a proper Tomb Sential uniform includes pressing and steaming the coat & trousers, dilligently shining the shoes & holster, and hand-polishing badges & medals before measuring to one-sixty-fourth of an inch their placement on the coat. For a rookie, this process can take up to twelve hours, and for experienced guards only four to eight.

The badge required to become a Tomb Sentinel, which is earned by only one in ten trainees, is one of the most difficult badges to earn in the U.S. military.

Watch rare, behind-the-scenes footage of what it takes to be a Sentinel for the Tomb of the Unknowns.

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