Posted on Nov 4, 2016
SN Greg Wright
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If your initial answer is 'no wai! Ossifers NEVER salute enlisted first!!'....step back and reassess. Alternatively, step back and learn. Because there's at least TWO situations where this happens, that I can think of in my old age.
Edited 2 y ago
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SPC Jill Drushal, RN, CLNC, MA
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Edited 2 y ago
Officers salute enlisted Medal of Honor recipients first.
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Cpl Clifford Hager
Cpl Clifford Hager
8 mo
SPC (Join to see) - Regulations aside, A Salute is always given as an acknowledgement of friendship and respect to the recipient and/or his rank. Rank is awarded for performance and quality of character and leadership. Medals and commendations are given for conspicuous acts above and beyond the call of duty. By tradition we salute a Medal of Honor recipient to acknowledge heroic actions. In response,, for whatever reason a salute is given, it should always be returned.
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MAJ Fred Rice
MAJ Fred Rice
7 mo
Your last statement is correct. All salutes should be returned. Salutes are not an acknowledgement of friendship, however. (You must be a millenial who thinks that everyone should be everyone else's "Buddy")Salutes are rendered in deference to rank, and nothing else, (except, of course, the MOH).
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SSgt W. Aaron Gregory
SSgt W. Aaron Gregory
7 mo
MAJ Fred Rice - Major, I couldn't agree more. I am not sure why the word "friendship" ever came up! When I was in the Corps, we called that fraternization, and many ranks have been lost for that. Millenial comment - not LOL, because I think there is weight to it.
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MSG David Johnson
MSG David Johnson
5 mo
I agree on both points, but technically the MOH is getting the salute if I remember my customs and courtesies correctly.
But I’m just an old Soldier that’s been blown up one to many times.
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SFC Joseph Weber
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I used to give the old head fake arm jerk to get officers to salute first. Does that count?
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MAJ Bill Rausch
MAJ Bill Rausch
10 mo
As a young 2LT I def fell for that one a couple times! :)
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PO2 Gerry Roberson Sr.
PO2 Gerry Roberson Sr.
9 mo
PO1 Cliff Heath - When were you on CVN-65, blueshirt? I was there 7/75-11/78, V-2 Div. Bow Cats, greenshirts!
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PO1 Cliff Heath
PO1 Cliff Heath
9 mo
I just missed you I reported on-board JAN79-AUG82, I do have 1 of the extra Cruise Books from 78 WESTPAC. i was V-3 DIV. Bay-rat. respect to "BLOOD, SWEAT AND STEAM"
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SSgt W. Aaron Gregory
SSgt W. Aaron Gregory
7 mo
PO1 Cliff Heath - Unless the ensign or 2nd Lieutenant is a mustang. Try that shit then.
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LTC Marc King
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Edited 2 y ago
ORIGIN OF THE HAND SALUTE
No one knows the precise origin of today’s hand salute. From earliest times and in many distant armies throughout history, the right hand (or "weapon hand") has been raised as a greeting of friendship. The idea may have been to show that you weren't ready to use a rock or other weapon. Courtesy required that the inferior make the gesture first. Certainly there is some connection between this old gesture and our present salute.
One romantic legend has it that today’s military salute descended from the medieval knight's gesture of raising his visor to reveal his identity as a courtesy on the approach of a superior. Another even more fantastic version is that it symbolizes a knight's shielding his eyes from the dazzling beauty of some high-born lady sitting in the bleachers of the tournament.
The military salute has in fact had many different forms over the centuries. At one time it was rendered with both hands! In old prints one may see left-handed salutes. In some instances the salute was rendered by lowering the saber with one hand and touching the cap visor with the other.
The following explanation of the origin of the hand salute is perhaps closest to the truth: It was a long-established military custom for juniors to remove their headgear in the presence of superiors. In the British Army as late as the American Revolution a soldier saluted bv removing his hat. But with the advent of more cumbersome headgear in the 18th and 19th centuries, the act of removing one’s hat was gradually converted into the simpler gesture of grasping the visor, and issuing a courteous salutation. From there it finally became conventionalized into something resembling our modern hand salute.
As early as 1745 (more than two-and-a-half centuries ago) a British order book states that: "The men are ordered not to pull off their hats when they pass an officer, or to speak to them, but only to clap up their hands to their hats and bow as they pass."
Whatever the actual origin of today’s hand salute, clearly in the tradition of the US Army it has always been used to indicate a sign of RESPECT – further recognition that in the profession of arms military courtesy is both a right and a responsibility of every soldier.
Compiled by the
U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps Historian
Fort Lee, Virginia
Get it.. its a sign of RESPECT... It does not really matter who initiates the gesture of we are one team one force then we should have the respect and admiration for each person skill and job... The premise that who initiates is a false premise and units that have good order and discipline know the difference.
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LTC Marc King
LTC Marc King
>1 y
Thanks Chaplin! Did not want to respond myself for fear of looking "superior" if you get my drift! Hope you enjoy your Memorial Day!
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SPC James Campbell
SPC James Campbell
1 y
I understand that lifting the visor was more than just a courtesy. It verified on a field of battle that there was not an enemy in the armor, sneaking in under false colors.

I also read some time ago that at one time, the salute was an actual tip of the headdress. The artillery was given a pass on that because their hands were always fouled with spent powder and they transferred this to the cap brim.
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LTC Marc King
LTC Marc King
1 y
Nice add! Thanks
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PFC Small Arms Repairer/Technician
PFC (Join to see)
8 mo
Gentlemen, I always thought our hand salute derived from the British when they saluted with palm outward to show they were not carrying a small knife in their cuff or sleeve. We just changed it because we wanted to be less like the British after the Revolution.
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