The spirit of 1898 at The Tomb
While the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington is a hallowed place, established in 1921 with the Unknown Soldier of the Great War and guarded in all weather 24/7/365 since 1937, it has few tie-ins to the nation’s conflicts before the 20th Century. That is about to change in a small but interesting way.
On 18 October, four specially-made ceremonial Sig Sauer M17s will replace the current M9 Berettas carried by the Tomb Guard Platoon’s NCOs (Sentinels carry the M14, and that is not going to change).
These new sidearms are extremely interesting pieces with a non-railed aluminum grip module rather than the M17 (P320)’s standard polymer frame, a high-polish stainless steel slide, wood grip inserts, a 21-round 9mm magazine, and lots of other features.
Take a closer look at those grip inserts:
They contain the Distinctive Unit Insignia for the 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), parent unit of the platoon.
The wood itself? It comes from the decking of the protected cruiser USS Olympia (C-6/CA-15/CL-15/IX-40), the former flagship of Commodore Dewey in the Spanish-American War that later brought home the Unknown Soldier of World War I in 1921.