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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Guard Identification Badge
Awarded by United States Army
Type Military badge
Eligibility Members of the Honor Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Status Currently awarded
Established February 7, 1958
Total awarded 617[1]

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Guard Identification Badge is a military badge of the United States Army which honors those soldiers who have been chosen to serve as members of the Honor Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is the second-least awarded badge in the US Army, after the Astronaut Badge.[2] As of July 2014, 615 soldiers have been awarded this badge.[3]


The badge itself is made of heavy sterling silver approximately two inches in diameter. The obverse design consists of an inverted wreath, a sign of mourning, and the East face of the Tomb which contains the figures of Peace, Valor and Victory. Superimposed on the bottom of the Tomb under the three figures are the words "Honor Guard".[4]

The badge was designed in 1956 and first issued to members of the Honor Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on February 7, 1958. The badge was first issued only as a temporary wear item, meaning the soldiers could only wear the badge during their tenure as members of the Honor Guard. Upon leaving the duty, the badge was returned and reissued to incoming soldiers. In 1963, regulations were changed to allow the badge to be worn as a permanent part of the military uniform after the soldier's completion of duty at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was also permanently awarded to those who had previously earned it.[5]

Award process

The bestowing authority of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Guard Identification Badge is the Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, 3rd U.S. Infantry in accordance with Army Regulation 600-8-22.[5] For a service member to permanently receive the badge, they must serve nine months as a member of the Honor Guard and receive a recommendation from the Commanding Officer of the Honor Guard Company.[4][6][7][8]

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Guard Identification Badge can be revoked if a soldier disgraces him or herself in a manner that brings dishonor on the Tomb. This action can happen even after the soldier completes his or her tour as a member of the Honor Guard.[5][9]

Notable recipients

The first recipient of this badge was William Daniel, a former prisoner of war who served as a tomb sentinel and sergeant of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from February 1957 to June 1960. He retired with the rank of Master Sergeant in 1965 after 22 years of Army service. Daniel died in 2009 and is interred in Section 35 at Arlington National Cemetery, located just south of the Tomb.[2]

Women were not eligible to receive the badge until a female in a military police unit was assigned to The Old Guard in 1993, thus allowing women to volunteer for guard duty at the Tomb. The first female soldier to earn the badge was Sgt. Heather Lynn Johnsen. In 1997, Sgt. Danyell Elaine Wilson became the first African American woman to earn the badge.[10]


  1. Torres Jr., Sgt. Jose A.. "Sgt. Jason Hickman, Tomb Sentinel, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), receives the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Guard Identification Badge inside the Memorial Amphitheatre Chappell, Arlington National Cemetery, Va., Sept, 9, 2013.". United States Army. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 McVeigh, Alex (February 11, 2009). "First Tomb Badge recipient laid to rest". Pentagram. McLean, VA: U.S. Army. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  3. "Tomb Badge Ceremony July 4, 2013". 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). 2012-09-20. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "The Sentinels of the Tomb". 3rd U.S. Army Infantry Regiment. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Sec. 578.110 Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Identification Badge". Code of Federal Regulations, Title 32, Volume 3. U.S. Government Printing Office. January 1, 2008. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  6. Zongker, Brett (February 19, 2010). "For 1st time, brothers guard Tomb of the Unknown". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 22, 2010. [dead link]
  7. Fogg, Sam (May 29, 1977). "Guards Walk Extra Mile At Tomb Of Unknown". The Pittsburgh Press. p. H1.,4857790&dq=tomb-of-the-unknown-soldier+badge&hl=en. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  8. "Tomb guard thinks first of his duty". Lawrence Journal-World. May 31, 1985. p. 5.,8216359&dq=tomb-of-the-unknown-soldier-identification-badge&hl=en. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  9. Popplewell, Louise (June 11, 2006). "Tomb of the Unknowns". Victoria Advocate. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  10. Pace, David (January 23, 1997). "Alabamian makes history in Old Guard". Times Daily. p. 1B.,2811896&dq=tomb-of-the-unknown-soldier+badge&hl=en. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 

External links

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