FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims Guards Of The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier Have Been Issued Live Ammunition
A viral Facebook post shared more than 28,000 times claims the soldiers guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery have been issued live ammunition for the first time.
There is no evidence the soldiers have been issued live ammunition. A spokeswoman for the Army refuted the claim.
Dozens of monuments and memorials across the U.S. have been defaced and removed in recent weeks amid protests against police brutality and racial inequality, according to The Associated Press. A viral Facebook post, seemingly referencing the damaging of such monuments, claims the guards of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery are taking extra security precautions.
“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!” reads the post. “Lock and load, citizens.” (RELATED: Did Trump Donate His Presidential Salary To Rebuild Military Cemeteries?)
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded at all times by a contingent of soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” according to the Arlington National Cemetery website. While the soldiers do carry M-14 rifles, the Daily Caller News Foundation found no evidence suggesting the weapons are loaded with live ammunition.
The rifles appear to only be used for the changing of the guard ceremony often viewed by tourists visiting the cemetery. The weapons do not get fired during the ceremony, but rather are inspected carefully by the next soldier preparing to guard the tomb, video of the ceremony shows.
Army Staff Sgt. Maryam Treece confirmed to the DCNF that the soldiers do not, in fact, carry live ammunition. All security matters at Arlington National Cemetery are handled by uniformed security employed by the cemetery, Treece said.
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