Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknown Solider Has All-female Guard Change for the First Time in History



The Tomb of the Unknown Solider at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, recently experienced an all-female guard change for the first time in its nearly 100-year history. The Old Guard said in a statement shared on social media that while the historic event might have been a first, it’s not going to be the last. Tomb Guards, also called Sentinels, are chosen for this prestigious and highly selective post only after undergoing rigorous training and a demanding series of examinations. Tomb Guards march exactly 21 steps down the black mat behind the Tomb, turn, face east for 21 seconds, turn and face north for 21 seconds, then take 21 steps down the mat and repeat the process. The number 21 is significant because it symbolizes the highest military honor in existence: the 21-gun salute. The history-making all-female guard change reportedly came just as Sergeant of the Guard, Sgt. 1st Class Chelsea Porterfield, the first woman to hold the revered position, was preparing to take her final walk.