Lawrence E. Pathel
Tomb PositionCommander of the Relief, Sentinel
Highest Military RankSSG
Tomb DatesJun 1973 - Sep 1975
Military DatesMar 1971 - May 1978
Society MembershipLifetime Member
Home City / StateColumbia, SC
Current City / StateWest Columbia, SC
Tomb ReflectionsThe 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 & CampaignsBravo 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 & DecorationsArmy Commendation Medal (two awards)
Good Conduct Medal (two awards)
National Defense Service Medal
Tomb Guard Identification Badge
Meritorious Unit Citation
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Did you know?
How many times will a Sentinel be on duty during the shift?
Each Relief has a 24 hour rotational work day. Ideally, four qualified Sentinels, one Relief Commander (RC), one Assistant Relief Commander (ARC), and several Sentinels in training comprise the Relief. The daily walk schedule is made by the RC or ARC and is dependent on the number of Sentinels who are proficient enough to guard the Tomb in front of the public. Generally, the Sentinel will do several walks back to back and then be done for the day. However, in extreme cases, Sentinels have been known to go back-to-back (every other walk) for the entire shift.