History made during all-female guard change at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

ARLINGTON, Va. — Friday marked a historic day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

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For the first time in the 84-year vigil over the tomb, officials completed an all-female guard change. It happened on the 30,770th day of continuous guarding over the tomb, according to officials with the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard.

In a statement, the regiment commemorated the “trail-blazing Tomb Guards.”

“While this historic event may be a first, it is not the last,” officials said. “With diversity in our ranks, race, gender, or any characteristics will never hinder, but only enhance the execution of our sacred mission.”

The regiment also remembered the soldiers whose remains have not been identified, those who are commemorated at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

“The world will never know their names,” officials said in a statement. “Their life’s poetry was silenced in the defense of this great nation. We will never forget their sacrifice, and we will never falter as our standard will remain perfection.”

The historic changing of the guard took place under the direction of Sgt. First Class Chelsea Porterfield, WUSA reported, the first woman to be named sergeant of the Tomb Guards.

Officials with Arlington National Cemetery said they will allow members of the public to lay flowers at the base of the tomb on Nov. 9 and 10, ahead of the tomb’s 100th anniversary on Nov. 11, WJLA-TV reported.