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  #1  
Old 05-03-2007, 02:18 PM
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Attacking Marine guards at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier


The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is an impressive site. The Marine honor guards are proud, and they do their job , well, seriously.

So what happens when things go wrong? Either minor, obnoxious behavior, or serious physical assault on the guard or the tomb.?

My curiosity arose from the Pit thread running now, about a ringing cell phone ruining the somber ceremony.Somebody responded:
Quote:
When we were at the ceremony, some older kids and adults were grab-assing and kicking beer cans down into the ceremony area. The guy in the ceremony YELLED at them in front of the whole crowd (and it was pretty damn scary)
Okay, what did he yell, that was so scary? And other than yelling-- What can the honor guard do if there is a serious breach of security? These guys are Marines--they're supposed to be tough.

I assume their ceremonial rifles are not loaded, and there are regular policemen on duty nearby, just like any tourist area.
And have there ever been any serious inicidents?
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Old 05-03-2007, 02:30 PM
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Don't call them Marines! 3rd US Infantry, (The Old Guard) US Army
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Old 05-03-2007, 03:03 PM
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(I posted this to an old thread on a smiliar topic, so I'll just cut and paste it.)

Ready for a FOAF story? Good. Actually, it was my friend who claimed to have witnessed the event, and I'm your friend or so I hope, gentle reader, so to you it's a friend of a friend.

Anyway, my friend's story (and he's a pretty standup guy, for what it's worth, military aviator type): he saw a guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier challenge a guy who was goofing off and jumping past the barrier when he thought the guard didn't see. The guard shouted a scripted warning, very loundly. The person did it again, the guard challenged and shouted again. The guy did it a third time and the guard turned, chambered a round in the rifle, and leveled it at him. He then shouted that he had warned him three times, that this would be his final warning, and something to the effect of quoting the text that legally authorized the guard to shoot him.

So if he is to be believed, an honor guard would be honored to shoot you.
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Old 05-03-2007, 03:15 PM
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The Sentinel's maintain their own webpage, which has a FAQ list. They don't reference any specific challenges, but do note that it usually involves someone getting too close to take pictures or little kids getting away from their parents. Given the ability of some people to make complete asses of themselves I'm sure other challenges present themselves.

I don't doubt that their weapons are loaded or that they'd hesitate to shoot you if you presented a danger to them or the Tomb.
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Old 05-03-2007, 03:22 PM
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From Tombguard.org on the Weapons page: "The weapons used by the Tomb Guard are more than just for show. These weapons are fully functional, and are kept ready for use at all times. The weapon inspection conducted prior to the new Sentinel assuming the post, is a real inspection."
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Old 05-03-2007, 03:43 PM
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I suspect, if there were a serious incident, that the Sgt. of the Guard would respond, soon followed by the appropriate civilian authorities, possibly the Nat. Park Police. I seriously doubt that the guard is going to shoot someone, unless they presented a mortal danger.
Here's the quote from the web site, it's the only mention of intrusion into the ceremonial area:

"Has anyone ever tried to get past the Tomb guards, or attempted to deface the Tomb?

Yes, that is the reason why we now guard the Tomb. Back in the early 1920's, we didn't have guards and the Tomb looked much different (see attached picture). People often came to the cemetery in those days for picnics during which time some would actually use the Tomb as a picnic area (probably because of the view). Soon after, 1925, they posted a civilian guard; in 1926, a military guard was posted during cemetery hours; and on July 1, 1937, this was expanded to the 24-hour watch. Since then, the ceremony has developed throughout the years to what we have today. Today, most of the challenges faced by the Sentinels are tourists who want to get a better picture or uncontrolled children (which generally is very frightening for the parent when the Soldier challenges the child)."

From here:http://www.tombguard.org/FAQ.html#Ha...%20the%20tomb?
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Old 05-03-2007, 03:50 PM
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BTW, if anyone's interested, the 1987 Coppola film "Gardens of Stone", Staring James Caan and Angelica Huston, portrays life in the Old Guard. Caan is an NCO in the tomb guard.
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Old 05-03-2007, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.R. Cane
I seriously doubt that the guard is going to shoot someone, unless they presented a mortal danger.
From pravnik's description, it sounds like they have a whole lot of leeway in how far they can bluff. The tomb is not a military installation -- it's a National Park. So it's Federal property, but not vital to national security, so there may or may not be an executive order authorizing deadly force. I'm sure the guards are allowed to detain and/or arrest people for any number of misdemeanors that would be incident to crossing the line: desecration of a gravesite, trespassing on National Park Service property, etc.

...but if they had a clear shot (e.g. no other tourists around) and you were dishonoring the tomb, I don't doubt they'd take a piece out of your calf and then come stand over you while the ambulance took his sweet time.
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Old 05-03-2007, 05:44 PM
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Old 05-03-2007, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jurph
The tomb is not a military installation -- it's a National Park. So it's Federal property, but not vital to national security, so there may or may not be an executive order authorizing deadly force.
All true, but I'm betting that it would be a high profile target for a terrorist, just as Mount Rushmore would be. I wonder if that's made any difference to the guard's protocol.
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Old 05-03-2007, 06:21 PM
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Huh? Mt. Rushmore? Not bloody likely. A hit with anything less than an airliner wouldn't even give Washington a nose job, and there wouldn't be any casualties to speak of. Also, the silly thing is in the back of beyond, which means no ready media coverage. On top of all that the whole thing is hideous, and the terrorists would likely get an award for the beautification of America.

As for the Tomb...also not likely. Guarded 24/7, no chance of a high body count, below the national radar. I doubt most people outside the US know it even exists, much less could find it on a map.
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Old 05-03-2007, 06:24 PM
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What good would blowing up Mount Rushmore do? It's a rock in the middle of nowhere. No casualties. And you'd have to do a serious bit of explosives planting to do much damage, how long is it going to take to wire it up? And would a fanatical islamic terrorist really suicide bomb a STATUE?
  #13  
Old 05-03-2007, 07:04 PM
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Been a long time since I was at The Tomb, do they still use M-14's? It's also been a long time since I got out of the Army, but one thing I do remember is that weapons inspection is NOT done on a loaded weapon. Anybody been there lately to tell us whether the guards are seating a loaded magazine following the inspection?
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Old 05-03-2007, 07:43 PM
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I doubt they parade with loaded weapons. But I am quite sure that every guard carries several loaded magazines. Otherwise, that expensive rifle is just a badly-balanced club.

Last edited by silenus; 05-03-2007 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 05-03-2007, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jurph
From pravnik's description, it sounds like they have a whole lot of leeway in how far they can bluff. The tomb is not a military installation -- it's a National Park. So it's Federal property, but not vital to national security, so there may or may not be an executive order authorizing deadly force. I'm sure the guards are allowed to detain and/or arrest people for any number of misdemeanors that would be incident to crossing the line: desecration of a gravesite, trespassing on National Park Service property, etc.

...but if they had a clear shot (e.g. no other tourists around) and you were dishonoring the tomb, I don't doubt they'd take a piece out of your calf and then come stand over you while the ambulance took his sweet time.
The only mention of a higher headquarters on the official page states that the cemetary is part of the U.S. Army Military District of Washington. Not part of the National Park Service. It is Army property.


Quote:
The U.S. Army Military District of Washington
The higher headquarters of Arlington National Cemetery, a major Army Command with installations from Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia to Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, N.Y. MDW has responsibilities in the areas of ceremonies, contingency operations and base operations.

Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works
The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works has authority over Arlington National Cemetery for program formulation and budget oversight.

Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs
The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs has authority over Arlington National Cemetery for formulation and oversight of burial policy.

Last edited by Loach; 05-03-2007 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 05-04-2007, 12:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866
What good would blowing up Mount Rushmore do? It's a rock in the middle of nowhere. No casualties. And you'd have to do a serious bit of explosives planting to do much damage, how long is it going to take to wire it up? And would a fanatical islamic terrorist really suicide bomb a STATUE?
What like the Taliban that was blowing up those hindu statues things in the afgan mountains.

Declan
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Old 05-04-2007, 04:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Declan
What like the Taliban that was blowing up those hindu statues things in the afgan mountains.

Declan
That was different - it was cultural and religious cleansing by the ruling Taliban authorities - not an attack as a means of causing terror and social outrage. The means, motives and targets are quite different.

Si
  #18  
Old 05-04-2007, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866
What good would blowing up Mount Rushmore do? It's a rock in the middle of nowhere. No casualties. And you'd have to do a serious bit of explosives planting to do much damage, how long is it going to take to wire it up? And would a fanatical islamic terrorist really suicide bomb a STATUE?
I know many people who thought Miss Libby was a more likely terrorist target than, say, downtown Philly. Philly is an American symbol... for the Americans. Most foreigners' brain get an almost-audible noise of gears turning when you point out that Washington DC was not the first capital of the States - it was built with that name honoring the first president, so by that time there already was a capital. Miss Libby or the Empire State are American symbols for the whole world. The Hollywood sign is more of an international American symbol than the Freedom Bell.

That said, Mt Rushmore's symobology outside of the States ranks from the funny to the nonexistant. There's people who think Hitchcock invented it for I-think-it-was North by Northwest.

Last edited by Nava; 05-04-2007 at 06:11 AM.
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Old 05-04-2007, 09:01 AM
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Sorry, didn't mean to start a controversy. Mount Rushmore was just the first national park or monument I thought of where its destruction might cause a great loss of American morale, the logistics for doing this aside. Kind of a terrorist's way of saying that nothing in America is safe. I thought the same might be true of The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, that's all.

Last edited by PoorYorick; 05-04-2007 at 09:02 AM. Reason: Made clumsy sentence construction even a bit more clumsy.
  #20  
Old 05-04-2007, 09:37 AM
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Maybe not blow up Rushmore, but perhaps a silly mustache painted on one of the heads? Possibly with round spectacles as well? Could be a real threat.
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Old 05-04-2007, 09:52 AM
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You mean kinda like this?
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Old 05-04-2007, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scumpup
Been a long time since I was at The Tomb, do they still use M-14's?
Seeking a lightweight replacement for the M1 Garand and the M1918A2 BAR, the Army selected the M14 rifle in 1957. The M14 was basically a product improved M1 Garand. The M14 has an effective range of 500 yards (460m). The M14 uses a standard NATO 7.62mm cartridge in a 20-round magazine. The M14 was the standard Army infantry rifle, until replaced by the mass fielding of the M16 5.56mm rifle in 1966-1967. The M14 was also converted into a Sniper Rifle (M21).

The M14 is the standard ceremonial weapon used by the 3d U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) today, and is the current weapon carried by Tomb Guards.


Source: Tombguard.org
  #23  
Old 05-04-2007, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by silenus
You mean kinda like this?
That doesn't look silly at all.
Point goes to Freedom. Terrorists still at 0.
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Old 05-04-2007, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chappachula
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is an impressive site. The Marine honor guards are proud, and they do their job , well, seriously.

So what happens when things go wrong? Either minor, obnoxious behavior, or serious physical assault on the guard or the tomb.?

My curiosity arose from the Pit thread running now, about a ringing cell phone ruining the somber ceremony.Somebody responded:

Okay, what did he yell, that was so scary? And other than yelling-- What can the honor guard do if there is a serious breach of security? These guys are Marines--they're supposed to be tough.

I assume their ceremonial rifles are not loaded, and there are regular policemen on duty nearby, just like any tourist area.
And have there ever been any serious inicidents?
In a very loud, scary, authoritative voice, he said we WILL remain quiet and respectful or WE WILL be removed from the area, etc., etc. I don't think he threatened bodily harm, but he certainly got everyone's attention. And it sounded like it wasn't the first time he had to go off on someone.

I think they carry loaded guns, but I seriously don't think they could do anything with them unless someone actually attacked the tomb or something.
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Old 05-04-2007, 12:07 PM
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Is there any evidence for the guards carrying loaded weapons? Anybody actually see a loaded magazine seated after the inspection? Anything on their website? Anybody here ever serve as a guard? Frankly, I'd be stunned to find out the guards have loaded weapons. Army guards of any type with actual loaded weapons are a surprisingly rare creature. The sgt. of the guard may have a loaded weapon, or quick access to one, but I very, very strongly doubt the guys out marching in front of the tomb do. IIRC, they aren't wearing any kind of magazine pouches, either; so they aren't even carrying a loaded magazine on their person much less in the weapon.
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Old 05-04-2007, 12:16 PM
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Well, the M-14 is carried with the bayonet affixed, so there is a potent weapon available to the guard if needed.
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Old 05-04-2007, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scumpup
Is there any evidence for the guards carrying loaded weapons? Anybody actually see a loaded magazine seated after the inspection? Anything on their website? Anybody here ever serve as a guard? Frankly, I'd be stunned to find out the guards have loaded weapons. Army guards of any type with actual loaded weapons are a surprisingly rare creature. The sgt. of the guard may have a loaded weapon, or quick access to one, but I very, very strongly doubt the guys out marching in front of the tomb do. IIRC, they aren't wearing any kind of magazine pouches, either; so they aren't even carrying a loaded magazine on their person much less in the weapon.
After 9/11 when I was activated for Operation Noble Eagle I had a moment when I thought, "Holy shit they are giving us ammo." Things are different now. When I first joined it was rare for a guard to have ammo. Not so much anymore. IIRC there is only one guard at the tomb at one time. However each shift is not very long (30 minutes maybe or 20?). The remainder of the guard shift is in a room less than 100 feet away. If the the guard on duty does not have a loaded weapon I would guess that there would be a squad of pissed of soldiers a short distance away, with ammo.
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Old 05-04-2007, 12:36 PM
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Scumpup here is a video of the inspection. (look at clip A58-110) No magazine. No ammo. Nothing saying that there isn't ammo close by. There are those little booths they use when it is raining.
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Old 12-27-2011, 12:31 AM
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Arlington is a national cemetery run by the military; neither it nor the Tomb of the Unknown soldier are National Parks. It is a military installation. Arlington House is run by the NPS as an historic house, but not the cemetery nor the tomb.
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Old 12-27-2011, 01:25 AM
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Question is, are the guards authorized to shoot zombies?
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:28 AM
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Question is, are the guards authorized to shoot zombies?
Oh, yes.
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:43 AM
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The warning given before each ceremony is "It is requested that everyone maintains a level of silence and respect." If the crowd gets all murmury, the guard will repeat the warning louder and more forcefully.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:41 AM
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The warning given before each ceremony is "It is requested that everyone maintains a level of silence and respect." If the crowd gets all murmury, the guard will repeat the warning louder and more forcefully.
Murmuring zombies?
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:47 AM
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What like the Taliban that was blowing up those hindu statues things in the afgan mountains.
Had they actually been Hindu statues, there would have been a lot of reaction from millions of Hindu's, rest assured.

Those were actually Buddhist statues. Hence no push back, protest, hew or cry.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:53 AM
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Actually, there were protests beforehand, and later international commitments to rebuild them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddha_Statues_of_Bamiyan
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:46 AM
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Damn thought I had the last word back in 2007.
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:55 AM
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Shut up, and stay off the plaza.
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Old 12-27-2011, 11:01 AM
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Related thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=630793
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Old 12-27-2011, 01:04 PM
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Well, there's a slightly less-well-known monument, The Tomb of the Guy Who Disrespected The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Nobody visits.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jurph View Post
From pravnik's description, it sounds like they have a whole lot of leeway in how far they can bluff. The tomb is not a military installation -- it's a National Park. So it's Federal property, but not vital to national security, so there may or may not be an executive order authorizing deadly force. I'm sure the guards are allowed to detain and/or arrest people for any number of misdemeanors that would be incident to crossing the line: desecration of a gravesite, trespassing on National Park Service property, etc.

...but if they had a clear shot (e.g. no other tourists around) and you were dishonoring the tomb, I don't doubt they'd take a piece out of your calf and then come stand over you while the ambulance took his sweet time.
Not true, Arlington National Cemetary is not a national park. It is not owned and operated by the national park service in any way shape or form, arlington is owned and operated by the Department of The Army and is a military installation that falls under Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall and is protected and patrolled by US Army Military Police and Department of the Army Federal police and not by national park police. As for the tomb sentinels, they are like any other Guard sentinel on any other military installation and do have the power to use deadly force in the event of a deadly attack that's covered in their general orders however as this post is mainly ceremonial there is always DA police or MP's around to handle incidents with the public and unless a terrorist came up with a suicide vest on to blow the tomb you would never see the guards use force they would leave that to the officers to take care of.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:59 PM
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Not true, Arlington National Cemetary is not a national park. It is not owned and operated by the national park service in any way shape or form, arlington is owned and operated by the Department of The Army and is a military installation that falls under Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall and is protected and patrolled by US Army Military Police and Department of the Army Federal police and not by national park police. As for the tomb sentinels, they are like any other Guard sentinel on any other military installation and do have the power to use deadly force in the event of a deadly attack that's covered in their general orders however as this post is mainly ceremonial there is always DA police or MP's around to handle incidents with the public and unless a terrorist came up with a suicide vest on to blow the tomb you would never see the guards use force they would leave that to the officers to take care of.
Isn't the very idea of a "suicide vest" something that is hidden from view? And how would one recognize a "terrorist"?
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:33 PM
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Marines?
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Old 09-11-2019, 09:49 PM
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The terrorists have won. They've destroyed our punctuation.
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Old 09-12-2019, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by silenus View Post
The terrorists have won. They've destroyed our punctuation.
So the USA has come to a full stop?
Are our leaders commatose?
Write to your representative in Congress - send a capital letter.
There's no margin for error and the wrong policy could lead to a backslash...
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Old 09-12-2019, 08:25 AM
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So the USA has come to a full stop?
Are our leaders commatose?
Write to your representative in Congress - send a capital letter.
There's no margin for error and the wrong policy could lead to a backslash...
This is so bad that reading it is more painful than a colonoscopy.
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Old 09-12-2019, 08:47 AM
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This is so bad that reading it is more painful than a colonoscopy.
Then just get a semi-colonoscopy.
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Old 09-12-2019, 08:59 AM
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Enough with the puns, dash it all!
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:51 AM
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Interesting fact: Family of non-vets can be buried in Arlington. They just have to share the same grave. My Great Uncle, who was in the Old Guard, is buried above his wife and they're both over their first son who was killed when he was 18. Not coincidentally, his brother is one grave over on the next row and both graves are prime locations at the top of a hill next to the cul de sac around the USS Maine memorial. I wish I'd understood how important all that was when I was a little kid running around the bench set in the memorial.
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Old 09-12-2019, 10:24 AM
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Write to your representative in Congress - send a capital letter.
For proper punishment, shouldn't that be "capitol letter"?
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