There is a widely-circulated email going around that contains both
misinformation amd truth about the guards. Unfortunately, The text of
this email has been republished on numerous websites. Here is an
excellent discussion of the facts and fiction related to that email:
Snopes Urban Legends Reference Pages: Honor Guard
Regarding the requirements, this is one of the best descriptions I've found:
"The Tomb of the Unknowns (also known as the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier) is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and in any
weather by Tomb Guard sentinels. Sentinels, all volunteers, are
considered to be the best of the elite 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old
Guard), headquartered at Fort Myer, Va.
After members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry become ceremonially qualified,
they are eligible to volunteer for duty as sentinels at the Tomb. If
accepted, they are assigned to Company E of The Old Guard. Each
soldier must be in superb physical condition, possess an unblemished
military record and be between 5 feet, 10 inches and 6 feet, 4 inches
tall, with a proportionate weight and build. An interview and a
two-week trial to determine a volunteer's capability to train as a
tomb guard is required.
During the trial phase, would-be sentinels memorize seven pages of
Arlington National Cemetery history. This information must be recited
verbatim in order to earn a "walk." A walk occurs between guard
changes. A daytime walk is one-half hour in the summer and one hour in
the winter. All night walks are one hour.
If a soldier passes the first training phase, 'new-soldier' training
begins. New sentinels learn the history of Arlington National Cemetery
and the grave locations of nearly 300 veterans. They learn the
guard-change ceremony and the manual of arms that takes place during
the inspection portion of the Changing of the Guard. Sentinels learn
to keep their uniforms and weapons in immaculate condition.
The sentinels will be tested to earn the privilege of wearing the
silver Tomb Guard Identification Badge after several months of
serving. First, they are tested on their manual of arms, uniform
preparation and their walks. Then, the Badge Test is given. The test
is 100 randomly selected questions of the 300 items memorized during
training on the history of Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of
the Unknowns. The would-be badge holder must get more than 95 percent
correct to succeed. Only 400 Tomb Guard Badges have been awarded since
it was created in February 1958.
The Tomb Guard Identification Badge is a temporary award until the
badge-holding sentinel has honorably served at the Tomb of the
Unknowns for nine months. At that time, the award can be made a
permanent badge, which may then be worn for the rest of a military
career. The silver badge is an upside-down, laurel-leaf wreath
surrounding a depiction of the front face of the Tomb. Peace, Victory
and Valor are portrayed as Greek figures. The words 'Honor Guard' are
shown below the Tomb on the badge.
There are three reliefs, each having one relief commander and about
six sentinels. The three reliefs are divided by height so that those
in each guard change ceremony look similar. The sentinels rotate walks
every hour in the winter and at night, and every half-hour in the day
during the summer."
Arlington National Cemetery: Sentinels of the Tomb of the Unknowns
A similar, briefer description:
"The Tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, regardless of
weather conditions, by the elite Tomb Guard sentinels of the 3rd U.S.
Infantry. Traditionally known as the 'Old Guard,' the 3rd Infantry is
the oldest active-duty infantry unit in the Army, serving our nation
since 1784. The Old Guard is the official ceremonial unit and escort
to the president. It also provides military ceremonies at the White
House and Pentagon in addition to providing security for Washington,
D.C. in times of national emergency or civil unrest.
Candidates who apply to be a sentinel at the Tomb must be in superb
physical condition, have an unblemished military record and be between
5 feet, 10 inches and 6 feet, 4 inches tall, with a proportionate
weight and build. They are constantly tested on guard-change ceremony,
the manual of arms, Arlington Cemetery history and in addition, must
know the exact location of 300 interred veterans in the Cemetery.
Uniforms and personal grooming must be impeccable. After a two-week
trial period, 'new soldier' training begins. They are tested on their
walks and must answer 95 of 100 randomly selected questions on the
history of Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknowns. A
qualified sentinel is awarded a Tomb Guard Badge that can be worn for
the rest of a person?s military career. Only 400 Tomb Guard Badges
have been awarded since it was created in 1958."
Tolucan Times: Final Questions
You'll find more details about the training of the sentinels here:
Arlington National Cemetery: Training Information
Quite a bit of information about the Tomb Guards may be found on the
website of the "Society of the Honor Guard - Tomb of the Unknown
"The soldiers who stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are
hand picked and rigorously trained. They have come from every state in
the union, every walk of life. There are men and women. For some this
is their first unit in the Army, others are veterans of many years.
Over the years there have been Regular Army and Draftees.
The duty is not for everyone. Over 80% of the soldiers who tryout for
this duty do not make it.
Each soldier must have strong military bearing, discipline, stamina
and present an outstanding soldierly appearance. Each Sentinel must
be able to flawlessly perform seven different types of walks, honors
and ceremonies. They must retain vast amounts of knowledge concerning
the Tomb, Arlington National Cemetery, the United States Army and
SHGTUS: Who Are The Tomb Guards
Google search strategy:
Google Web Search: "tomb of the unknown OR unknowns" requirements
I hope this is helpful. If anything is unclear or incomplete, please
request clarification; I'll be glad to offer further assistance before
you rate my answer.