Standing the Watch Alone
1 year ago
Over the past few months the Centennial Committee has been working on the next edition to the stories behind the transportation of the Unknown Soldiers to the United States mainland.
The first edition Olympia Marines - With the Hand of God was released in March 2020 and focused on the 1921 mission. The follow up edition focuses on the 1958 mission to bring home the World War II and Korean War Unknown Soldiers.
This edition is also written by Joseph Robert Neubeiser who served in the United States Marine Corps from 1968 -1971. He was commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation from Mt. St. Mary’s College. Trained at Quantico as a communications officer and served with the 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam in 1969 as a platoon commander and company commander. He has published a number of human-interest stories for various national and local newspapers. He retired from the Federal government after 34 years as a Senior Executive.
You can read Standing the Watch Alone HERE
During the National Commemoration of the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (1921-2021), the Society proposed to the federal government that an essay contest be created with the theme "Why...
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Did you know?
How many Sentinels have been female?
There have been over 680 tomb guards awarded the badge since 1958 when we started counting. There are hundreds more from the year 1926 when the Army started guarding the Tomb. The 3rd US Infantry (The Old Guard) is the unit that has been given the duty of guarding the Tomb. It was given this sacred duty in 1948. The Old Guard was -- and still is -- considered a combat unit. As an Infantry unit, females were not permitted in the ranks for many years. It wasn't until 1994 that females were permitted to volunteer to become a Sentinel when the 289th Military Police Company was attached to the Old Guard. The MP branch is a combat support unit and includes females.
In 1996, SGT Heather Johnson became the first female to earn the Tomb Guard Identification Badge. She volunteered for duty in June 1995 and earned her badge in 1996. However, SGT Johnson was not the only female Sentinel. Since then, there have been a total of five female Sentinels awarded the Tomb Guard Identification Badge:
SGT Danyell Wilson earned
her badge in 1997
SSG Tonya Bell received hers in 1998
SGT Ruth Hanks earned her badge in June 2015
SFC Chelsea Porterfield earned her badge in 2021
Several other units have since been attached to the Old Guard -- food service, transportation, medics, etc. -- so now females have an ever greater opportunity to become a Sentinel. Females must meet the same requirements as the male soldiers to be eligible to volunteer at the Tomb. the only difference is that females have a minimum height of 5'8" -- which is the same standard to be a member of the Old Guard.