Lawrence E. Pathel

Tomb Position

Commander of the Relief, Sentinel

Tomb Relief


Highest Military Rank


Tomb Dates

Jun 1973 - Sep 1975

Military Dates

Mar 1971 - May 1978

Society Membership

Lifetime Member

Home City / State

Columbia, SC

Current City / State

West Columbia, SC

Tomb Reflections

The Tomb Guards used to have an annual Christmas tradition during which they gathered on the plaza and participated in their own wreath laying ceremony. Christmas was always a day that guaranteed only a small handful of visitors to the Tomb. The tradition included that the most recently assigned sentinel would assist the longest currently serving sentinel place the wreath before the Unknowns while the remaining sentinels stood and saluted in remembrance and respect. On Christmas morning, 1974, I was the longest serving sentinel and had the solemn honor of placing the Tomb Guards wreath. I was escorted by the Sergeant of the Guard, MSG William R. Rucker, and I will always remember how humble I felt at the monument to those who had given the ultimate sacrifice and accompanied by those who served to always remember.

Units & Campaigns

Bravo Company, 1st Bn., 3rd US Infantry, The Old Guard, Ft. Myer, VA
Echo Company (Honor Guard), Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Ft. Myer, VA
Echo Company (Honor Guard), 1st Marching Platoon, Ft. Myer, VA
2nd Military Intelligence Detachment, 2nd Inf. Division, Camp Casey, Republic of Korea
US Army Element of Defense Investigative Service, Fayetteville, NC

Awards & Decorations

Army Commendation Medal (two awards)
Good Conduct Medal (two awards)
National Defense Service Medal
Tomb Guard Identification Badge
Meritorious Unit Citation

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.