By CSM James Ervin, Garrison CSMMay 19, 2011
Greetings team, what a great day to be at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield in support of the elite Soldiers, Families and Civilians of the Marne Division and supporting units and agencies. My pride in everyone of you is extremely high.
One of the unique things about Stewart-Hunter is that it is one of the few installations that have 14 bugle calls alerting Soldiers, Family Members, Department of the Army Civilians and travelers to what the next stage of the day will bring. You will find a list of the bugle calls in a feature what starts on page 1A of this issue of the Frontline.
It is only fitting that the home of the 3rd Infantry Division sounds these bugle calls for our Soldiers, Families and Civilians. The 3rd ID has one of the most successful combat records of any U.S. Army Division. It has paid a high price for this distinction, suffering more than 50,000 wartime casualties. More than fifty of its Soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor while serving our nation.
Bugle calls afford our Soldiers, Family Members, retirees and the general public a time to reflect and pay respect for the contributions of those who have served before us. The calls sounding on our great installation directly contribute to our rich traditions and heritage and are a part of our daily duties.
Since Revolutionary War times, the U.S. Military has used bugle and drum calls as a form of communication with Soldiers. In those times each branch of the military had its own set of calls. Drums were used for the infantry and bugles for the cavalry and artillery. Many of the bugle calls were derived from English and French military bugle calls.
By the American Civil War, the calls had been unified across the board with the bugle being the instrument of choice.
Before the days of the public address system, a live bugler would sound the calls at scheduled times every day. Today, they are often pre-recorded and played back on speakers placed strategically throughout the installation. However, live buglers are still used at funerals and various other ceremonies.
On Stewart-Hunter, bugle calls are broadcasted over the Mass Emergency Notification System. These bugle calls tell Soldiers to do a variety of things from waking up, when to eat, or when to sleep and even when it's time for church on Sunday.
One of the most recognizable bugle calls, Taps, has a unique history and is traditionally played at military funerals, hence the deeply-rooted emotion this short call evokes. We play it now to end the duty day.
Some of the military calls, such as Retreat, date back to the Crusades. Retreat was used to signal the Soldiers to return to camp. This tradition is still observed today. Many of the other bugle calls are steeped in a rich international military history, as well.
I'm asking each of you - if you are out at the end of the day when Retreat and To-The-Colors are played at 5 p.m., or if you are on the installation at the beginning of the day when Reveille is played, let's show our visitors and each other how much we care for the sacrifices of our Soldiers and Families - let's show proper respect to our Flag.
The ensuing article on bugle calls on page 1A has more information on bugle calls. Also, if you visit the Team Stewart web site, visit the top menu, click on "about" then click on "Bugle Calls" you could learn a bit more about this great military tradition.