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Military Customs & Courtesy. Presented By: SPC Paul Borbiliac. Title Outline Meanings of Customs & Courtesy Examples of Customs Examples of Courtesies The Hand Salute Origin and Meaning Appropriate and Non-Appropriate examples of Saluting Walking with and addressing Officers and NCOs

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military customs courtesy

Military Customs & Courtesy

Presented By: SPC Paul Borbiliac

  • Outline
  • Meanings of Customs & Courtesy
  • Examples of Customs
  • Examples of Courtesies
  • The Hand Salute
  • Origin and Meaning
  • Appropriate and Non-Appropriate examples of Saluting
  • Walking with and addressing Officers and NCOs
  • Identifying Ranks
  • Common rules
  • Acknowledging High Ranking Officers and NCOs entering the DFAC
  • Crowded Hallways and Similar areas
  • Saluting and Reporting to an Officer, NCO, or Board
  • Walking with an Officer/NCO
  • Rendering Honors to U.S. Flag, and specific National/Military Music
  • U.S. Flag
  • Actions upon raising and lowering the Flag
  • National/Military music
  • National Anthem
  • Retreat
  • Reveille
  • Taps
  • The Army Song
  • Conclusion
  • Questions
the meanings of customs courtesies
The Meanings of Customs & Courtesies


  • Established Practice; includes both positive and negative actions.
  • Compliment procedures required by military courtesy.
  • Add to the graciousness of garrison life.


  • Good manners and politeness in dealing with other personnel.
  • Respect and consideration shown to each other by members of the same profession.
  • Basis for good human relations.
  • Indicator of person’s bearing, discipline, and manners.
examples of customs
Examples of Customs
  • Never criticize the Army or a leader in public
  • Never jump the chain of command
  • Never offer excuses
  • Never use a superiors rank to get something done, when in fact the superior never gave such a order (“First Sergeant wants this done now.”)
  • Never turn and walk away to avoid giving the hand salute
  • Never run indoors or pretend you don’t hear (while driving) to avoid standing during Reveille or Retreat
  • Never appear in uniform while under the influence of alcohol
  • You will never go wrong with the response," I don’t know, but I’ll find out.” if you don’t know the answer to a superiors question.
examples of courtesies
Examples of Courtesies
  • Hand Salute
  • Addressing and working with Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Officers
  • Rendering honors to the Flag
  • Reacting and rendering honors to specific National/Military music
origin and meaning
Origin and Meaning
  • In the late Roman times assassinations were common. A citizen who wanted to see a public official would approach with his right hand raised to show he did not hold a weapon.
  • In the century of Knights in Armor, knights raised their visors with the right hand when meeting a comrade.
  • Honor exchange, privilege gesture of respect and trust among soldiers, and recognition of each others commitment, abilities, and professionalism; sign of self-discipline.
  • Expression that recognizes each other as a member of the “Profession of Arms”; that they have made a personal commitment of self-sacrifice to preserve our way of life.
appropriate and non appropriate examples of saluting
Appropriate and Non-Appropriate Examples of Saluting


  • When in uniform
  • When National Anthem, To the Colors, Hail to the Chief, Foreign National Anthems are played
  • Funerals/Change of Commands
  • Retreat or Reveille
  • Sounding of Honors
  • Pledging of Allegiance to the U.S. flag (outdoors)
  • Turning over control of formations
  • When rendering reports
  • Officers of friendly foreign countries

Reporting for pay


  • Indoors (unless you are reporting to a Officer, Board, or if you are on guard duty)
  • A prisoner
  • If you are working underneath a vehicle
  • Either the senior or subordinate is wearing civilian clothes
  • Either the senior or subordinate has articles in both hands
  • When unit is resting alongside a road (road marches)
identifying ranks
Identifying Ranks

NCO- enlisted person, as a sergeant or corporal, holding any of various ranks below commissioned or warrant officers

Commissioned Officer- a military or naval officer holding rank by commission.

common rules

When speaking to an Officer stand at attention until ordered otherwise

When dismissed, come to attention and salute

When a Officer enters a room, the first soldier to recognize him calls the room to attention

An Officer is always addressed as Sir/Ma’am depending on the sex.


When speaking to an NCO stand at parade rest until ordered otherwise

When an NCO of a superior rank enters a room, the first soldier to recognize him calls the room to at ease

Always greet or address the NCO with the appropriate title (“Sergeant/Sergeant-Major)

Common Rules
acknowledging high ranking officers and ncos in the mess hall
Acknowledging High Ranking Officers and NCOs in the Mess Hall
  • When an Officer/NCO enters a dining facility, unless he directs otherwise or unless a more senior officer is already present, the diners will be given the order “at ease” by the first person who sees the Officer/NCO. You will remain seated at ease and will continue eating unless the Officer/NCO directs otherwise. If you are directly addressed, you should rise to attention if seated in a chair. If seated on a bench, stop eating and sit at attention until the conversation has ended.
crowded hallways and similar areas
Crowded Hallways and Similar Areas
  • When a Officer/NCO enters a crowded hallway or similar area where troops are taking a break or standing in a waiting line, the first person to see the Officer/NCO should call “At ease” and “Make way” so those present will move to the sides of the hallway and allow passage.
walking with a officer nco
Walking with a Officer/NCO
  • When walking with a superior, always walk on the left.
  • The custom of walking to the left originated in the middle ages when a person carries his weapon in his right hand and was considered the right to be a part of honor; the person to his left protected the unguarded side.
u s flag
U.S. Flag
  • The flag of the United States is the symbol of our nation. The union, white stars on a field of blue, is the honor point of the flag
  • All soldiers should pay respect to the flags daily, when it is being raised and when it is being lowered.
action upon raising and lowering of the flag
Action upon raising and lowering of the flag
  • Whenever and wherever the “National Anthem”, “To The Colors”, “Hail to the Chief”, or “Reveille” are played, at first note, all dismounted personnel in uniform and not in formation face the flag or the music (if the flag is not in view), stand at Attention and renders a salute
  • When not in uniform, personnel will, at first note, stand at attention facing the flag or the music (if the flag is not in view), remove headgear, if any, with the right hand, and place the right hand over the heart.
  • Vehicles in motion will be brought to a halt. Persons riding in a passenger car or on a motorcycle will dismount and salute. Occupants of other types of military vehicles and buses remain seated at attention in the vehicle, the individual in charge of each vehicle dismounting and rendering the hand salute. Tank and armored car commanders salute from the vehicle.
national military music
National/Military Music
  • National Anthem
  • Reveille
  • Retreat
  • To the Colors
  • Hail to the Chief
  • Taps
  • The Army Song
national anthem
National Anthem
  • Known as the “Star-Spangled Banner”
  • Written by Francis Scott Key
  • Usually played after Retreat

Upon hearing, soldiers will come to attention and salute the flag or the direction of the music.

  • Originally called “The Watch Setting”
  • Signal to forces outside the camps to return before the closing of the gates
  • Originally sounded on drums
  • Adopted to take effect before sunset in 1779
  • Signal of when the night guard was taking control

Upon hearing, soldiers will come to attention face the flag or the music and wait to salute.

  • Originally from the French meaning “to wake again”
  • Written by Joseph Hayden
  • Signifies the beginning of the duty day
  • Origins from the Roman Empire “Diana’s Hymn”

Upon hearing, soldiers will come to attention face the flag or the direction of the music and stand at attention and wait to salute.

  • Meaning “Lights Out”
  • Created in July of 1862 by union Gen. Daniel Adams Butterfield
  • Played by the Brigade bugler Oliver Wilcox Norton
  • Officially recognized in 1874
the army song
The Army Song

March along, sing our songwith the Army of the freeCount the brave,count the true,who have fought to victory. We're the Army and proud of our name; We're the Army and proudly proclaim:

First to fight for the right, and to build the Nation's might, And the Army Goes Rolling Along Proud of all we have done, Fighting till the battle's won, And the Army Goes Rolling Along

CHORUS: Then it's hi, hi, hey! The Army's on its way Count off the cadence loud and strong (two, three) For wher-e'er we go, You will always know that the Army Goes Rolling Along

Valley Forge, Custer's ranks, San Juan hill and Patton's tanks, And the Army went rolling along. Minute men from the start, Always fighting from the heart, And the Army keeps rolling along.

CHORUS Men in rags, men who froze, still that Army met its foes, And the Army went rolling along. Faith in God, then we're right, And we'll fight with all our might, As the Army keeps rolling along.

CHORUS (the third chorus should be sung slower) + (Keep it rolling) And The Army Goes Rolling Along.

Upon hearing, soldiers should come to attention face the flag or the direction of the music and salute.

  • Military Customs & Courtesies is not a one-way street. Enlisted personnel must be courteous to Officers, and Officers are expected to return the courtesy. Officers respect the soldiers as individuals, just as you respect the Officers as individuals. Without the basis of mutual respect the can be no Military Customs & Courtesy, and disharmony will result.
  • Customs & Courtesy show discipline, bearing, and the abilities of the Unit, soldier, and Section. Pride in ones actions will show positive Courtesy and Custom.
work cited page
Work-Cited Page

FM 3-21.5 Drill & CeremonyFM 7-21.13 The Soldiers GuideAR 600-20 Army Command PolicyAR 600-25 Salute, Honors, Visits of CourtesyAugust 1995 Webster’s Handy College Dictionary 3rd EditionInternet