How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier , and why? Twenty-one. It alludes to the 21-gun salute which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk? Twenty-one seconds. Same reason as # 1. His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing grip on the rifle. He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path he executes an about face & moves the rifle to the outside shoulder. Guards are changed every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A guard must be between 5'10" & 6'2" tall & his waist cannot exceed 30". They must commit 2 years of their life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb & cannot drink alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives. They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives & cannot disgrace the uniform (fighting) or the tomb in any way. After the 2 years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin. There are only 400 presently worn. The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal 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 6 months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone or watch TV. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetary. A guard must memorize who they are & where they are interred. Among the notables are President Taft; boxer, Joe E. Lewis, Medal of Honor winner; Hollywood's, Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of WWII. Every guard spends 5 hours a day getting his uniform ready for guard duty. Our US Senate/House took 2 days off as they couldn't work because of the expected storm, Hurricane Isabelle. 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. Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment. It was the highest honor that can be afforded to a service person. The tomb has been patrolled continuously 24/7 since 1930.