By Ms. Tiffany D Wood (Leonard Wood)May 13, 2015
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (May 15, 2015) -- Checkpoints aimed at stopping traffic during Reveille and Retreat will no longer exist beginning June 1.
Rescinding of operation order 11-47 "Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Reveille and Retreat Procedures and Tasking" is the reason for the change.
The order directed units to provide Soldiers to halt traffic at nine intersections across post at 6:30 a.m. for Reveille and at 5 p.m. for Retreat. Rescinding the order will return about 50 Soldiers back to their duties twice a day, according to Sgt. Maj. Richard "Mitch" Prater, MSCoE G3/5/7.
"We will continue to pay respect to the flag at 6:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily," said Command Sgt. Maj. Roy Ward, MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood command sergeant major.
"My expectation is that we are training our service members and informing our civilian employees and Family members of the importance of these traditions and the proper protocols," Ward added. "This is especially important to our newly arriving personnel, who may have been in remote assignments and away from Army installations."
After several years of the order being implemented, Prater said the point to stop and render honors during the ceremonies was made across the installation and even throughout the surrounding communities. He added, "There was no longer a reason to continue placing Soldiers at multiple locations twice a day to enforce what is clearly any leader's responsibility to correct and/or enforce."
Ward said organizational leaders, as well as individuals, are to remain vigilant in their planning of events and activities -- always keeping in mind the time of day these ceremonies occur.
"Fort Leonard Wood is comprised of a team of professionals that live the Army and sister service values. There is no doubt in my mind that we will uphold this tradition and feel proud of who we are and what we represent," Ward said.
Originally, checkpoints were established due to drivers and passengers in vehicles not recognizing or following proper procedures during Reveille and Retreat, which could have resulted in hazardous situations, Prater said.
"Now that honoring these ceremonies are common events each and every day," Prater said, "the safety concerns that existed then are no longer as bad, and all can safely pull their vehicles over and pay their respects to our national colors."
Reveille is played at 6:30 a.m. and Retreat is conducted at 5 p.m. each day on Fort Leonard Wood. Those in uniform are required to stop what they are doing, face the flag -- or music if they cannot see the flag -- and render the hand salute during these ceremonies. Those not in uniform and civilians, should stand at attention and place their right hand over their heart. Anyone in a moving vehicle should pull off the road, and if they can safely do so, dismount their
vehicle and perform the same actions listed above.
"Please exercise safety at traffic intersections, stop signs and merging lanes. Pull over only where and when it is safe to do so in order render honors to our national colors," Ward added.
Retreat and Reveille have long played a part in the Army's daily life.
Reveille was not originally intended as honors to the flag. In 1812, it was a drum call to signify that Soldiers should rise for day duty, and sentries should leave off night challenging (halting people and demanding identification). As time passed, reveille came to signify when the flag was raised in the morning and honors paid to it, according to Army Field Manual 3-21.5.
Retreat has always been at sunset. The music for retreat dates back to the Crusades and was first used by the French Army. The American Army has used this bugle call since the Revolutionary War.
Retreat's original purpose was to notify sentries to start challenging until sunrise, and to tell Soldiers to retire to their quarters for the day, according to the manual.
Today, Reveille and Retreat ceremonies serve a twofold purpose. They signal the beginning and ending of the official duty day and serve as ceremonies for paying respect to the flag and those who serve it.