The Reason the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider Doesn't Share His Rank Is Truly Touching

On Wednesday, Redditors shared the touching reason that the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier don't share their ranks on their uniforms.

Citing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier's Wikipedia page, a user posted to the r/todayilearned subreddit that the guards don't wear rank insignias, so as not to "outrank" any of the unknown soldiers.

According to the Wikipedia page, the soldiers that "walk the mat" do not display their ranks, as the unknown soldiers' ranks could not be known. Despite the guards not wearing insignias, non-commissioned officers like Relief Commanders and Assistant Relief Commanders will display their ranks when changing guards, but they have a rank-less uniform that they wear when posted.

Tomb of the unknown soldier
A Tomb Guard or Sentinel from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Regiment, also called "The Old Guard," marches in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery on April 22, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Redditors were curious about another portion of the guards' section on Wikipedia, which notes that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Guard Badge Identification is the third-least awarded badge in the U.S. Army, behind the Military Horseman Identification Badge and Astronaut Badge. The page says that as of February 2019, 663 people have been awarded the badge, but the badge has been revoked for 23 people. It's the only badge that can be revoked for bringing disrespect to the Tomb during the guard's lifetime. One user asked what the story was behind the 23 people that have been revoked.

"Apparently you have to remain an upstanding soldier to maintain it," one user responded. "I imagine by wearing that medal you are representing the ideals of the Army and if you can no longer represent those ideals you should not be wearing it. I may be wrong but that is my suspicion."

There were also questions about many of the rumors about whether guards were forbidden from drinking alcohol or swearing in public for the rest of their lives, although the FAQ section of the Tomb Guards' website says that both of these rumors are false.

According to the Code of Federal Regulations for guarding the tomb, the decision lies on the U.S. 3rd Infantry Regiment commanding officer.

"When the Commander of The Old Guard becomes aware of information about a current or former member of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier who was authorized permanent wear of the Tomb Identification Badge that suggests inappropriate conduct, including, but not limited to, acts of commission or omission for a member of that unit, or the intention to engage in inappropriate conduct, he will notify the Commander, E Company (Honor Guard), 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard)," the regulation states.