By Ms Stephanie Bryant (Army Medicine)November 15, 2011
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii -- Ceremonies play a big part in the military lifestyle and are a part of its history and traditions.
For Soldiers, the day starts and ends with a flag ceremony: reveille and retreat.
Reveille, which is played at 6:30 a.m., in Hawaii, is when the flag is hoisted and the bugle sounds, signifying the beginning of the duty day.
Retreat, which signifies the end of the duty day, is when the bugle gets played again and the flag is lowered, folded and put away. At Army-Hawaii installations, retreat plays at 5 p.m., except on Thursdays, when it occurs at 3 p.m. for family time.
During the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Facebook town hall, Aug. 31, a community member questioned why vehicles are not stopping during reveille and retreat.
Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Williamson, senior enlisted leader, USAG-HI, who handles inquiries like this one, said garrison has identified a couple of reasons why that policy is being overlooked.
He explained that the military has evolved to include more civilians and contractors, and leaders should reiterate protocol to make sure it is being adhered to by all personnel.
"The policy clearly states that all vehicle drivers, both military and civilian, will halt their vehicles during reveille and retreat," Williamson said. "Also, it is important that Soldiers living on post and visiting post need to make sure that their families understand all the policies. Directors and supervisors of civilians need to make sure that their staff is aware of the policies as well."
According to Appendix C of Army Regulation 600-25, "Salutes, Honors and Visits of Courtesies," military personnel in uniform should face the flag and render hand salute during reveille, and during retreat they should face the flag and stand at attention. Military personnel and civilians in civilian dress should remove headgear, face the flag and stand at attention with their right hands over their hearts during reveille, and during retreat, they should face the flag and stand at attention.
Capt. Parris Watson, operations officer, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security; USAG-HI, said rendering proper honors to the flag is an important part of keeping military tradition and history alive.
"It's about following good order and discipline," Watson said. "Bearing honors to the flag is about representing our military values. The garrison's policy needs to disseminated down to the lowest level, (to both) military and civilian."
However, the lack of adherence is not just from ignorance of USAG-HI's policy, Williamson said. Technical problems are also involved.
Another participant in the Facebook town hall said the volume is too low on the mass broadcast system, and reveille and retreat cannot be heard all over post.
"I have touched base with the 30th Signal Battalion (516th Sig. Brigade, 311th Sig. Command), and they have already adjusted the volume on Wheeler Army Airfield," Williamson said.
Williamson added that he has no knowledge of volume complaints on Schofield Barracks. He advises units to adhere to policies and proper protocol.
"Rendering honors during ceremonies, reveille and retreat is a part of common customs and courtesies," Williamson emphasized, "which is tradition and a big part of being in the military."
To review USAG-HI's policy letter "Discipline, Law and Order," about proper protocol pertaining to military courtesies, visit www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil and click on "Command Policies," or refer to AR 600-25, "Salutes, Honors and Visits of Courtesies," Appendix C, C-2.