The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded by soldiers the 4th Battalion, 3rd Division…The Old Guard. A special group of these soldiers, known as the Sentinels of the Tomb, guard the final resting place of the Unknown Soldier who was killed in France in World War I. Sig Sauer recently presented the U.S. Army with custom pistols designated for the Sentinels. They are functioning works of art befitting the duty of the Sentinel Guard at Arlington National Cemetery.

Tomb Guards from the U.S. Army’s 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) were presented with four very special ceremonial Sig Sauer M17 pistols to be used at Arlington National Cemetery. These pistols are custom made and literally works of art created by Sig Sauer specifically for use by the Sentinels of the Tomb. The soldiers on this duty stand guard 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year…even through blizzards and hurricanes!

The new Sig M17s have some extremely unique features that make this sidearm designated only for the Sentinels of the Tomb. Some of these special features are:

A special gloss black finish. Most military arms are parkerized with a few “parade weapons” being blued. The gloss black finish matched the gloss black finish on the leather used with the Guards uniform. Incidentally, these uniforms are unique to the Sentinels of the Tomb and used nowhere else in the military

· Each of the four pistols bears a name; Silence, Respect, Dignity, or Perseverance and is featured on the dust cover. Dignity and Perseverance represent “The Sentinel’s Creed,” and Silence and Respect represent the request to the public by Arlington National Cemetery when visiting the Tomb of the Unknown, and during the Changing of the Guard

· Custom Wood Grips - in 1921 the chosen Unknown Soldier was transported from Europe to the United States of America aboard the USS Olympia. The custom wood grips are made with wood from the USS Olympia and include an inset of the crest of the 3rd Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier identification badge

· Serrations on the slide read XXI and are engraved on each side of the slide to signify the twenty-one steps it takes for the Tomb Sentinels to walk by the Tomb of the Unknowns and the military honor of a 21 Gun Salute

· The Sight Plate is engraved with an impression of the Greek Figures on the east panel of the Tomb, Peace, Victory, and Valor

· Sights are a special glass insert made with marble dust from the Tomb of the Unknown

· Each of the 21-round magazines have an aluminum base plate engraved with the names of the Greek figures featured on the Tomb of the Unknown, Peace, Victory, and Valor, and includes badge number of the Tomb Sentinel

· Serial Numbers are serialized and incorporate items of significance to the Old Guard: “LS” represents line six of the Sentinels’ Creed, “My standard will remain perfection; “02JUL37” to signify the first 24-hour guard posted at the Tomb of the Unknown on July 3, 1937; “21” to signify the 21 steps it takes the Tomb Sentinels to walk by the Tomb of the Unknown, and the military honor of a 21 Gun Salute

This is a tribute befitting those who guard our Unknown Soldier. If you have never witnessed the changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, you need to put that on your bucket list.

E-15 Issues

With the passage of the new Farm Bill, the topic of E15 ethanol is in the news again. The Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is concerned with what is being promoted.

While E15 could be fine for the tow vehicle, it's not good, nor is it recommended by the EPA, for use with boats. The organization reports that ethanol is a strong solvent and has been linked to the degradation of marine fuel systems, damaging engine gaskets, and potentially expensive repair bills. Another potential problem, according to BoatUS, is that warranties for all marine engines only allow up to E10 fuel.

"When filling up at gas stations, boaters are used to pulling up to the pump and filling up the tow vehicle first, and then putting the same fuel nozzle into the boat," said BoatUS Director of Damage Avoidance Bob Adriance. "If that happens with E15, it could be a big mistake."

All of this means that when E15 begins showing up at the pump, boaters need to be aware of the potential problems. For more information on ethanol, go to BoatUS.com/seaworthy/ethanol.asp [boatus.com].

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