We salute: 4th woman to guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

ABC7 Salutes: 4th woman to guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (ABC7)

The uniform is perfect. Every step is precise. And the words are commanding, so much that visitors thought a man wore these shoes until they spotted her hair wrapped into a bun.

“Cause I’m wearing a male uniform so we all look the same out there except for obviously my hair. That’s really the only difference that’s out there,” said Army Staff Sgt. Ruth Hanks, a guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Sgt. Hanks doesn’t see herself as different, but the wall of guards at the Tomb of the Unknowns shows she is one of just four women to serve as a Sentinel.

“I feel like one of the guys when I’m down here but I do understand the message that it does come out of a woman being able to do whatever you want to do,” said Sgt. Hanks.

Sgt. Hanks is throwing off some visitors to Arlington National Cemetery.

“I noticed there was a hair bun and I thought that was rather odd until the person turned toward me and I noticed it was a woman,” said Randy Layne, who is visiting from CA.

She escorted students from New Jersey during a wreath laying ceremony.

“Just realizing how far we’ve come. How they were restricted of many rights and how now she’s up there commanding,” said 13-year-old Casey Heigmann.

The 28-year-old chose the position following a deployment to Afghanistan.

The guards have not missed a day since the 24-hour vigil began July 2, 1937.

Her steps just happen to make history.

“It’s just about paying respect to those who have served and gave everything for our country so we can do what we do today,” said Sgt. Hanks.

It’s more than a day’s work. Sgt. Hanks started her shift at 4:30 a.m. Thursday. She will change the guard every hour until 7:30 a.m. Friday.

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