Since April 6, 1948, Tomb Sentinels from the Army's 3rd Infantry Regiment's "The Old Guard" have guarded the Tomb for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year regardless of the weather.
“These guys will be out in the snow, no matter what,” said Major Russell Fox, a spokesman for the Army’s Old Guard. “They love what they’re doing and they’re dedicated."
And while the rest of Washington may be dreading the storm, Fox said “a lot of the guys are looking forward to this and kind of excited about it.”
A “relief” typically consists of six Tomb Sentinels who serve a 24-hour shift guarding the Tombs. They turn over watch of the tombs to another relief every morning at 6 a.m.
Arlington National Cemetery closed its doors at noon today and will be closed through the weekend, but plans call for the planned turnover of reliefs to take place Saturday and Sunday mornings.
The sentinels march in front of the tombs for 21 paces, then face north to stand at attention for 21 seconds before marching 21 paces in the other direction.
It is standard when the cemetery is closed for the members of the relief change out of their formal uniforms into camouflaged uniforms.
During inclement weather and nighttime hours, the tomb's sentinels can stand watch over the tomb in a small enclosure made of green cloth with an awning known as "the box," which is located 20 feet from the tomb plaza. Sentinels can remain inside the box for 2-hour intervals with their M-14 rifles by their side, though they are not required to be at attention.
For the snowstorm, Fox said the sentinels will be continually shoveling snow from the plaza so that it does not accumulate and impedes their duty.