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A member of the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Regiment walks his post in front of The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery during the Memorial Day weekend in Arlington, Va., Sunday, May 27, 2018. (AP) A member of the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Regiment walks his post in front of The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery during the Memorial Day weekend in Arlington, Va., Sunday, May 27, 2018. (AP)

A member of the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Regiment walks his post in front of The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery during the Memorial Day weekend in Arlington, Va., Sunday, May 27, 2018. (AP)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher July 8, 2020

No, soldiers guarding Tomb of the Unknown Soldier aren’t carrying live ammunition

If Your Time is short

  • The soldiers from The Old Guard who guard the Tomb do not carry live ammunition.

With monuments and statues across the nation being toppled or vandalized amid protests over racial injustice — and rumors flying about such destruction that never occurred — this claim appeared on Facebook: 

"For the first time, the Honor Guard soldiers that march at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery have been issued live ammunition! Lock and load, citizens."

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

According to Arlington National Cemetery, the tomb is a white marble sarcophagus inscribed with the words: "Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God." A select group of soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as The Old Guard, stand watch over it 24 hours a day.

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They carry weapons but no live ammunition, said Army Staff Sgt. Maryam Treece, who handles public affairs for The Old Guard.

She told PolitiFact she did not know why the statement would have been made.

Barbara Lewandrowski, a spokeswoman for Arlington National Cemetery, told PolitiFact in an email that uniformed security personnel provide "around-the-clock protection of all of the cemetery’s 639 acres" but wouldn’t comment on how they were armed, citing "operational security."

We rate the statement False.

 

Our Sources

Facebook, post (archived here), June 24, 2020

Interview, The Old Guard public affairs Staff Sgt. Maryam Treece, July 7, 2020 

Email, Barbara Lewandrowski, director of public affairs, Arlington National Cemetery, July 7, 2020

 

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No, soldiers guarding Tomb of the Unknown Soldier aren’t carrying live ammunition

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