What would happen if a tourist (or worse) got disrespectful at the Tomb of the Unknowns (Arlington)?

A question that popped into my mind after seeing this video:

Video is SFW, site and ads are NSFW:

To paraphrase the video - while the guard patrols the tomb, the crowd is heard murmuring and laughing. The guard stops his march and addresses the crowd: “It is requested that everyone maintains a level of silence and respect.” The crowd falls silent (as they should) and the guard resumes his patrol.

What would happen if there was a truly unruly, aggressive, or combative person or persons at the tomb? Wikipedia claims the guard carries an unloaded weapon (though with a bayonet affixed.)

If there really was a significant disturbance, what would be the response? Would the guard march into the crowd or against an individual (with the intent of defending the tomb and its honor) with the bayonet? Or would there be an immediate military (from service-people stationed nearby) response? Or would the guard just call local police?

I don’t want there ever to be such a thing, I’m just curious as to how the guard is trained to respond.

I have been to Arlington, visited the grave of the Unknowns, and been lucky enough to watch the changing of the guard there. On the day I was there, the crowd was well-behaved, and no command or intervention from the guard was necessary.

That being said, I will state that–and with no disrespect intended to the guard or the US Army–I would imagine that Parks Service personnel (or whatever non-military agency looks after Arlington) would take care of the offenders. I remember watching the new guard marching out, with military precision, but with Parks Service personnel (sorry, but whoever) clearing the path. The new soldier was marching properly and not stopping, so the PS personnel were the ones parting the crowd, saying, “'Scuse me, pardon me, make way for the new guard,” and so on. In other words, they were the ones interacting with the crowd; and I see no reason why they could not informally move in to silence or otherwise take care of an offender before the official guard has to take action.

FWIW, although I am not American, I found the changing of the guard ceremony was very impressive and very moving. Americans can be justly proud of their Unknowns.

There is a phone in the booth. Police would be called, not more military.

The All-New Nissan Juke?

Does the guard in question have live ammo for his rifle? Just curious.

I don’t know about that place specifically, but when I was in DC a while ago, some foreigner frat-boy type kids were horsing around at the Lincoln Memorial, and one of the kids slid down one of the decorative ramps. The security guy - who carries -was on them in a second. “DON’T DO THAT, PLEASE.” in a suitably intimidating voice.

I have no doubt if they’d carried on they’d have been arrested by that security guy. It moves my heart to know they really care about their job - I’d had all of about five seconds to get annoyed at the foreigners being disrespectful when the guard was on them.

How disrespectful? To a certain point it would be handled by Park Service employees. Past that point I think the crowd would deal with it.

Not normally, though knowing the Corp I would bet they’ve got a few thousand rounds ready for use in the back.

From here.

I would assume that means loaded.

Creating a Disturbance anywhere is usually an offense if the arresting officer believes it is. If you respectfully disagree, then you get to argue it out with the judge. If all you are doing is being loudly annoying so that someone else decides to teach you a lesson, you may still be arrested for creating a disturbance.

If it is federal property, I assume that there is an equivalent federal law?

Does the guard break character? Or are there park service employees always on the spot? What if it’s something that only the guard can see or witnessed?

There are a number of YouTube videos the show how the guards respond to noisy crowds, people crossing the barrier and folks sitting during the ceremony.
The guns they carry are real but not loaded.

I don’t know what happens when spectators fail to comply but it probably isn’t pretty.

Here is a FAQ.

Arlington National Cemetery is one of two national cemeteries not own and administered by the National Parks Service. ANC is owned by the Department of the Army, so I imagine the “NPS” staff everyone keeps on mentioning are either Department of Defense Police, or a special purpose ANC Police Department.

The Tomb of the Unknown Guard is provided by the US 3rd Infantry. They’re Army.

My thughts toward them would be Don’t. Just don’t.
My (extrememly older brother, practically decrepet) and I were standing in an old graveyard. A Navy flyer flew over and he (an Air Force veteren) said to me, “Do you know what that is?”
And I said, “I dunno. What.”
And he said, “That’s the sound of freedom.”
Do we know how many nameless, unimportant people it took to win every war?

Britons have been arrested and convicted for urinating on war memorials.

Okay, the question on my mind - and I hope it’s not disrespectful - is…

What’s worse than a tourist? :slight_smile:

You would be lucky if the guard broke character. It’s his character to shoot you if his post is challenged. :eek:

Interestingly… the Guards must spend all their free time reading and learning about the unknowns, they must never curse and may never drink alcohol for the rest of their lives. (Which totally baffles me as to why they can’t have a beer while cursing the ref at a football game, for example.)

Not true. Snopes.

ETA: From here.

I was wondering the same thing. And I’ll bet this is similar to the foot guards in London who stand silently at attention while wearing those bearskin hats. They are also supposed to be solemn but if a tourist acts out, I’m sure that they’ll respond.