Reveille, retreat return to Fort Rucker

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The bugle's emission cracks the increasingly quiet evening and echoes through the buildings and trees.

Nearby, Soldiers brace for the shattering sound of 10-gauge cannon fire.

For years, this has occurred at other installations. Now, Fort Rucker community members will again experience this when "Reveille" and "Retreat" observances return to the installation Jan. 18.
The ceremony includes the raising and lowering the flag at Howze Field. Soldiers raise the flag at 5:30 a.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and lower it at 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, according to Sgt. Maj. John Hendricks, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence operations.

Once the flag is raised on Friday, it is not lowered until 5 p.m. Monday. Lights illuminate the flag at night during the weekend.

Cannon fire accompanies both "Reveille" and "Retreat," Hendricks said.

A five-Soldier detail from the 110th Aviation Brigade handles "Reveille" observances each month from the 1st to the 15th. A five-Soldier detail from the 1st Aviation Brigade handles "Reveille" the rest of the month.

A six-Soldier detail from the Noncommissioned Officer Academy is responsible for the "Retreat" services.

"Reveille" and "Retreat" observances occurred on Fort Rucker in previous years, ending during Brig. Gen. E.J. Sinclair's term as commander last decade. When Brig. Gen. Anthony G. Crutchfield took over as USAACE and Fort Rucker commanding general he wanted the ceremonies reinstated, Hendricks said.

"He said, 'Let's bring the pride back to Fort Rucker, to Army Aviation,'" Hendricks said.

He added the ceremonies remind Soldiers of where they came from, whether it is images of the bugles being played on the frontier to other historical Army images.

"It's the Army itself. That's where we started," Hendricks said, noting the ceremonies give older Soldiers a chance to share pride and tradition with younger, newer servicemembers.

Even though the events begin Monday, community members should not expect cannon fire until later. Hendricks said members of the installation were picking up a 75-millimeter cannon this week, but an important piece had to be modified to a 10-gauge to prevent car alarms from sounding.

What to do when you hear "Reveille" and "Retreat"

Soldiers not in formation:

On the first note of "Reveille," Soldiers should come to attention and salute the flag. If the flag is not visible, Soldiers should face in the direction of the music and salute.

In the evenings, "Retreat" is played before "To the Colors." On the first note of "Retreat," Soldiers should come to attention and face the flag. If the flag is not visible, Soldiers should face in the direction of the music.

On the first note of "To the Colors," salute. Exceptions are made if duty requires Soldiers to face elsewhere or saluting hampers the assignment.

Soldiers in formation:

The senior Soldier will call the group to attention and then parade rest at the first note of "Retreat."

That same Solider will call the group to attention and "Present, Arms" at the first note of "To the Colors." At the conclusion, "Order, Arms" is called.

Civilians/Soldiers in civilian clothing

When in civilian clothing, Soldiers should place their right hands over their hearts instead of saluting.

Civilians should remove hats and place their right hands over their hearts.

Military veterans have two options: salute like other civilians or render a military-style salute.

While in vehicles:

Vehicles in motion should stop.

People in cars or on motorcycles should dismount and render proper honors.

If Soldiers are with a group in a military vehicle or bus, only the individual in charge will dismount the vehicle and salute.

Source: Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Beauchamp, NCO Academy.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16