Oldest Living Sentinel at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Honored - NBC4 Washington

Oldest Living Sentinel at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Honored

"I can’t ask for any more than what I’m already getting," 100-year-old Army veteran Jack Eaton said

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Oldest Living Sentinel of Tomb of Unknowns Honored

    A 100-year-old World War II veteran who guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 1938 through 1940 was honored in D.C. on Wednesday. News4's Meagan Fitzgerald reports. 

    (Published Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019)

    A 100-year-old veteran whose name had been left off a plaque naming every sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was finally honored on Wednesday.

    Army veteran Jack Eaton received a hero's welcome to Washington, D.C., and was thanked for his service during World War II. Eaton, of Burton, Michigan, is the oldest living sentinel in the country.

    Being a sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery is one of the highest and most sacred honors. It's a task given to a select few, where perfection is required.

    Eaton guarded the tomb from 1938 through 1940. But on two prior trips to D.C., he saw in the back barracks of the guards of the tomb that his name was missing from a wall of plaques.

    He flew into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Wednesday morning and was greeted with a water canon salute and American flags on the tarmac. At the gate, a band played and American Airlines employees waved more flags.

    Eaton danced a few steps as he saw the fanfare in the terminal.

    "I can’t ask for any more than what I’m already getting," he said.

    Later in the day, he and another sentinel, Capt. Harold Earls, screwed into a plaque a plate with Eaton's name and dates of service.

    "I’m just glad to finally see my name up here permanently," Eaton said.  

    For decades to come, he will be remembered as one of the select few who served to make sure heroes who are unknown are never forgotten.

    Watch NBC4 and get the latest news anytime, anywhere. Check here for TV listings.