A question that has been asked at various screenings and presentations around the country is how do the Tomb Guards get selected to serve at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?
1st, on this Saint Patrick's day blog posting, I would say "LUCK"!
2nd, on a more serious note, providence or miraculous intervention.
3rd, the tenacious dedication of the soldier, and that is the one I want to write about today!
The majority of Old Guard Soldiers are recruited from Fort Benning, GA the home of the U.S. Army's school of Infantry! I had asked my recruiter if I could enlist to go to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and he said "no, they do not recruit to go to the Old Guard!"
So I enlisted in the Infantry, and during my first few days at Fort Benning, my roster number was called out along with around 15 to 20 other numbers (Out of 500 in our building).
We were ushered into another building, sat us down and started asking questions.
"Anyone have a Felony? Get Out!"
"Anyone have a Misdemeanor? Get Out!"
"Anyone have domestic violence history? Get Out!"
"Anyone ever file for bankruptcy? Get Out!"
"Anyone have inappropriate tattoos? Get Out"
Once they removed those soldiers, they showed us an old VHS movie of The Old Guard and asked a final question, "Do any of you remaining want to go serve in the oldest infantry regiment in the Army, started by George Washington?"
My hand shot up, and I asked "Could I serve at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?"
The Sergeant chuckled and said, "I doubt you have what it takes to serve there... but The Old Guard is where you have to be in order to volunteer to serve at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier."
That was enough for me, I volunteered that night to go to The Old Guard when I was finished with my infantry school and airborne school.
Some recruits, who know the basic path, can volunteer for Infantry school and then talk to their drill sergeants and connect with The Old Guard recruiter to try to get recruited.
Then the soldiers are assigned to a company, if they knew they were interested in volunteering to serve at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, they would have told their trainer and notified their chain of command. If there was a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier training class starting soon, and they had already proved themselves as a dedicated soldier, then usually they are allowed to volunteer for service at the next training cycle.