On guard around-the-clock, twenty-four hours a day, three-sixty-five days a year—this has always been the routine for The Sentinels of the Tomb. A duty passed on from one generation of guard soldiers after another since the 1920s when the first batch of deceased “unknown” servicemen from World War I had been interred on the grounds of the new Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery.

Members of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard” (TOG) or Tomb Guards, are soldiers responsible for sternly watching the sacred grave where thousands of unidentified fallen heroes lay to rest. “Snow, sleet, heat, wind, and rain…” these men, who passed the rigid selection process and intense training to become Honor Guards, never gave up the guard and have kept the unwavering duty since 1937.

And among these distinguished servicemen was Spencer Hardney, a former TOG soldier who recently shared his experience as part of the dedicated Tomb Guards of the Unknown.

Destined To Be An Honor Guard

Hardney grew up on a farm in Mississippi, spending his childhood throughout the 70s and 80s. He briefly attended college only to realize that it wasn’t how he wanted to be spending his time, so he went home. He worked two jobs, and when that didn’t take him anywhere as well, he decided to take a similar path his father and older brother took—as a military man.