On October 11, 2018 SIG SAUER was honored to present the U.S. Army’s 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) with four custom M17 pistols for use in service with the Tomb Sentinels who tirelessly guard the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. Each of the four pistols bears the name of Silence, Respect, Dignity, or Perseverance. Dignity and Perseverance represent the “Sentinel’s Creed,” and Silence and Respect represent the request to the public when visiting the Tomb of the Unknowns, and during the Changing of the Guard.
Ron Cohen, President and CEO, SIG SAUER, Inc. began, “as a Veteran when I saw the words inscribed on the guns Dignity, Perseverance, Respect, and Silence. It’s the motto of any warrior of any military around the world. Those are the words that we grew up on. That’s who we are as Veterans. Respect to fellow soldiers and to the flag. Perseverance in spite of difficulty and challenges – that is who we are as warriors.”
The creation of the M17 Tomb of the Unknown Ceremonial pistols were created by SIG Custom Works and the development and design was led by SIG SAUER Pistol Product Manager, and U.S. Marine Veteran Tim Butler. The unique distinguishing features, in addition to the pistol names, for the M17 Tomb of the Unknown Pistols include:
- Pistol Names: each of the four pistols bears the name of 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 was transported to the United States of America aboard the USS Olympia. The custom wood grips are made with wood from the USS Olympia and include the crest of the 3rd Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier identification badge inset;
- Cocking Serrations: XXI cocking serrations are engraved on 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;
- Sight Plate: an engraved impression of the Greek Figures featured on the east panel of the Tomb – Peace, Victory, and Valor – are featured on the sight plate;
- Sights: a glass insert made with marble dust from the Tomb of the Unknown fills the sights of the ceremonial pistols;
- Engraved Magazines: the 21-round magazines feature an aluminum base plate engraved with the names of the Greek figures featured on the Tomb of the Unknown – Peace, Victory, and Valor – and include a name plate on the bottom of the magazine engraved with the Tomb Sentinel badge number.
- Serial Numbers: the pistols are serialized with a unique set of serial numbers that 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 2, 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. The full series of M17 Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Pistols serial numbers are LS02JUL37A21 (Silence), LS02JUL37B21 (Respect), LS02JUL37C21 (Dignity), LS02JUL37D21 (Perseverance).
“In my career I have designed guns for presidents, celebrities, all kinds of people, but from an honor standpoint. There is no greater honor. We can’t give back enough,” said Butler.
The four M17 Tomb of the Unknown Pistols were presented to The Old Guard in a private ceremony with members of the U.S. Army and SIG SAUER representatives, “what can I say to convey this monumental, historical moment? I said to them I stand in front of you representing eighteen hundred men and women many of them have served, and many of them have friends that are buried in this sacred grounds, and we feel history in the making, and we believe that this transcends everything that we do,” added Cohen.
The presentation ceremony concluded with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and the first official Changing of the Guard with the new M17 pistols.