After pledging to serve, Service members are inculcated with military customs and courtesies. One of
many customs a Service member must master is learning how, when and who to salute. The salute is a tradition of showing honor and respect.
Fort Jackson is a training site for all U.S. Armed Forces, civilians and armed forces members from other countries. With different ranks and traditions, there may be some variations when it comes to saluting.
As the senior enlisted advisor for Fort Jackson Military Entry Processing Station, Navy Senior Chief
Petty Officer Brian Garfield explained, "It's an advantage working with other branches, we get smarter on all services' customs and courtesies."
The Navy and Marine Corps customs and courtesies are pretty similar, mentions Garfield, while Air
Force Tech. Sgt. Thomas Gilly, Air Force liaison for the Fort Jackson MEPS, states a contrast between the Army and Air Force.
Fort Jackson policy states Service members and civilians are to safely stop, exit their vehicles and render proper honors during Reveille and Retreat.
"One of the biggest customs differences of the Army and Air Force is during the raising and lowering
of the U.S. Flag when you're in a vehicle," Gilly said. On Air Force bases, you do not dismount their vehicle, while Army Soldiers get out of the car and salute, he said.
Here are some hand saluting expectations and variations of the U.S. Armed Forces:
Showing respect to others
When in uniform, it's consistent throughout all branches for enlisted members to render the hand
salute to all officers and warrant officers of the U.S. Armed Forces, officers of friendly armed forces and authorized civilians of selected state and federal governmental positions. Officers should salute other officers and authorized civilians of higher rank.
Medal of Honor recipients are the exception to this custom, regardless of the MOH recipient's rank, officers and enlisted Service members render the hand salute first.
It is appropriate to salute officers in official vehicles (recognized individually by rank or identifying
vehicle plates and/or flags).
Army and Air Force members render the hand salute when reporting inside and outside to an officer or president of a board. If under arms and inside, Marines and Navy members will render a salute.
Respect to the American Flag During Reveille (music indicating the beginning of the day) and Retreat (music indicating the end of day), uniformed Army and Air Force Service members
should stand facing the American flag or the sound of reveille/retreat music and stand at parade rest, then stand at attention and salute upon the first notes of Reveille or "To the Colors." On some installations a cannon will fire at the first note of Reveille and after Retreat.
Uniformed Marine and Navy Service members should stand at attention and salute when "To the Colors," or National Anthem begins.
When passing an uncased National Flag outside, all uniformed military should salute.
It is not customary for Marines and Navy members to salute during "To the Colors," the National Anthem or an uncased National flag if they are in physical training uniform or are not wearing head gear.
The 2008 and 2009 Defense Authorization Acts allowed Service members and veterans not in uniform to render a salute during the National Anthem, the hoisting, lowering or the passing of the U.S. flag.
Salutes are not required When indoors, except when Army and Air Force members are reporting to an officer.
When senior or subordinate, or both are in civilian attire, a salute should not be rendered.
When engaged in routine work or sports function where stopping would present a safety hazard, the salute should not be rendered.
When carrying articles with both hands so occupied as to make saluting impracticable.
When military personnel are acting as drivers of a moving vehicle, they should not initiate a salute.
Salutes should not be rendered in public places such as theaters, churches, and in public conveyances.
If in the ranks of a formation, only the person in charge or upon command will the salute be rendered.
Salutes are not required to be rendered by or to personnel driving or riding in privately owned vehicles, except by gate guards who will render salutes to recognized officers.
To show good manners and respect when encountering other services, it's a good idea to become familiar with other services insignia with whom you serve with.
If you're ever in doubt of an individual's rank or insignia, salute, so as not to offend anyone or bring
disgrace upon your service.