Don't Miss a Single MWSA Post! Subscribe Here!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Answer Plus Some to a Jeopardy Question

I usually hesitate to run something in full because of copyright law, but the author of this viral e-mail appears to give permission to do so in the last sentence of his post. I think it was about 1962 or 63 I saw this ceremony. It is impressive, even when one doesn't know the details.

Did you know this?
On Jeopardy the other night, the final question was "How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns" ---- All three missed it --

This is really an awesome sight to watch if you've never had the chance.Very fascinating.

1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns and why?

21 steps: It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute which is

the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

2. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why?

21 seconds for the same reason as answer number 1

3. Why are his gloves wet?
His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

4. Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time

and, if not, why not?

He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

5. How often are the guards changed?

Guards are changed every thirty minutes,

twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

6. What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?

For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be

between 5' 10' and 6' 2' tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30.

They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives. They cannot swear in public for the

rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform or the tomb in any way..

After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on

their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb. There are only

400 presently worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their

lives or give up the wreath pin.
The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt.

There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform.. Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror.

The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone nor watch TV. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery . A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Among the notables are:

President Taft,

Joe Lewis {the boxer}

Medal of Honor winner Audie L. Murphy, the most

decorated soldier of WWII and of Hollywood fame.

Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.

In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington, DC, our US Senate/House took 2 days off with anticipation of the storm.. On the ABC evening news, it was reported that because of the dangers from the
hurricane, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment. They  respectfully declined the offer, "No way, Sir!" Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment, it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a serviceperson. The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

I don't usually suggest that many emails be forwarded, but I'd be very proud if this one reached as many as possible. We can be very proud of our young men and women in the service no matter where they serve.

If your fellow writers or fellow soldiers or vets would benefit from this post, please use this little green widget to pass the news to your followers at Twitter:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Honoring the Retirement of the UH-1 Huey Helicopter: A Poem

 By Michael D. Mullins

This poem was written at the request of J.C. Fischer for the retirement of the
Phenomenal UH-1 Huey helicopter that served us so well in Vietnam
And other soldiers for thirty or more years. We salute it and all it has done.
I could write forever. Images keep flashing. It is now the next afternoon and
The old baby is still in my mind. How do I stop it? I cannot. It was too big, too
Much a part of what we did, too huge part of our life on the ground. I was in an
Air mobile brigade and we lived with the machine…and our dead left with it.
Thank God I did not see more of that than I did. I witnessed a lot of wounded
Carried away in its not so gentle hands, but they were relatively safe there,
Soon to be in gentler hands. One vision stays with me. As we ran to her,
We were bent at the waist like subjects approaching their queen.
That was as it should have been and as it should be now as the queen
Retires to her final resting chamber. It should be something grand.

WompWompWompWompWomp…the sound!

It could be heard faintly in the distance.
It was the same but louder on nearby ground.

The dust filled my eyes, ever unmasked.
I ran to it, I ran from it, maybe I fell down.

When I needed it most my soul danced.
A Silver Bird deserted us in South Vietnam.

It took us home if we made our time.

But that big, ugly Huey was the battle ram.
It rescued us if we bled in the slime.

It pitched and yawed, I swear it even swam.
If there were trees it could even climb.

Old UH-1, in all forms, was OD green, yes.
The men inside had brass ‘nads’ too.

It was required, and they all were the best.
I never saw a crew that would not do.

Crazy men matched the ships, nothing less.
We Grunts on the ground…we knew!

We saw the Cobras, we prayed for fast fliers.
The B-52s made the earth shake below.

Puff made the sky red and our spirits higher.
The Bumble Bees were spotting a show.

“Chinooks” handled big stuff, major suppliers.
Hueys touched us every day down below.

Those old work horses were tough as hell.
Like a Timex they kept on ticking.

They carried ammo, supplies, men and mail.
We went to hot LZs pulses racing.

At times they carried food we even smelled.
In a firefight they heard our crying.

We watched the horizon for their smoking fallen.
If close to them, we would protect them.

Their sixties were voices to us, angels had spoken.
Those with red crosses were from heaven.

Dead or alive, they were there for us, loving iron.
They are the best horse the Army has seen.

It is hard to believe the best are to be retired.
They are like us, I suppose, and history now.

They are tough and can serve, but not desired.
A reliable, tough old Huey is not enough.

I can pull a trigger but I just can’t get there.
Let’s go to the bone yard and sit down.

~The poet is MWSA member, Michael D. "Moon" Mullins, award-winning author. Vietnam in Verse, poetry for beer drinkersis available on line from Amazon, B&N, and B-a-M book stores & available as an audio-book exclusively from the author. Please contact me at this e-mail address; mullins.m.1@ or via land mail at POB 456 Windfall, In. 46076.
Vietnam Veteran, Delta 3/7, 199th Light Infantry, '68-'69.
Vice President of & Ambassador of Obscurity for MWSA. One dollar from either version goes to the Wounded Warrior Project.

If your fellow writers or fellow soldiers or vets would benefit from this post, please use this little green widget to pass the news to your followers at Twitter:


Richard Lowry's Blog