The first 24-hour guard was posted on midnight, July 2, 1937. The 3rd United States Infantry Regimen (The Old Guard) took over the duty in 1948 and the Tomb of the Unknowns has been guarded continuously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, since that time.
The tomb guards will be doing this all day today and all night tonight while Sandy batters the Tomb with 90 mph winds.
- The soldier walks 21 steps across the Tomb. This alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest honor given to any military or foreign dignitary in America. His weapon is always on the shoulder opposite the Tomb (i.e., on the side of the gallery watching the ritual).
- On the 21st step, the soldier turns and faces the Tomb for 21 seconds.
- The soldier then turns to face the other way across the Tomb and changes his weapon to the outside shoulder.
- After 21 seconds, the first step is repeated.
Image from Oct 29, 2012: First Army Division East/Facebook
via TombGuard.org & spotted on theatlantic