Posted on Apr 15, 2014
COL Armor Officer
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Should_you_salute_gate_guards__
So, a military etiquette thing that has always caused me to wonder. Especially since JBLM put Soldiers back on the gates.

(Military) Gate guards salute Officers after checking their id. I always return the salute, whether in uniform or not. 90% of the time I am in civvies, swinging by before/after work or on my lunch break.

Am I technically right to return the salute while in civvies? I'm going to continue regardless, as it seems rude not to return a salute.


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SGT Ben Keen
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LTC - I think returning the salute regardless if you are in uniform or in civvies is a great move on your part.  It shows the Soldiers that you are returning the respect they are showing you.  I remember pulling guard on post a few times, some officers wouldn't even acknowledge we were there other than by handing us their ID cards.  Others would stop return the salute and greeting of the day and move on.  For some reason, the ones that never really acknowledged us got hit more often with the random car searches right before PT formation... ;-)
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SSG Michael Bacon
SSG Michael Bacon
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LTC: Concur w/SGT KEEN; Class Act, on Your Part.
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MSG Mechanic Trainee
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very well said, respect begets respect
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GySgt (Other / Not listed)
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Not sure what your regs are Sir but I will say that when saluting either initiating or recognizing in civilian attire for us Marines is replaced with a position of attention. Ive seen officers come to the position of attention to acknowledge a salute when they were not in the right attire to salute back but I've also seen Marines who verbally recognize or throw some type of hand and arm signal to acknowledge you. For Marines, as long as there is something done to recognize the salute, that's all we care about so we can cut the salute.
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Sgt Packy Flickinger
Sgt Packy Flickinger
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SSG Michael Bacon Thats because salutes arn't usually returned. I saluted an Air Force officer once while at medical and the sole reply was "hey". I'd consider Marine and naval officers on a par.
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Maj Foreign Area Officer
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My recent experience at ft Bragg prompted me to search an answer. As was pointed out, Marines don't salute back when in civvies. Yet guards insist on saluting, and not cutting on their own, even when I'm on my motorcycle in civvies. Guess they don't realize both hands are needed...
As for not getting saluted, I'm not a salute hound and I don't let it get under my skin, but the salute rate from soldiers here is dismal. Maybe it's a sof thing? !
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MSG Mechanic Trainee
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back in my day if the car had the dod sticker on it that identified them as an officer you saluted, whether its the wife or children driving it
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LT John McFarland
LT John McFarland
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Agree 100% with Gunny.
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MAJ Assistant Battalion Operations Officer (S3)
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Sir,

Per AR 600-25 Salutes, Honors, and Visits of Courtesy para 1-5d:

The practice of saluting officers in official vehicles (recognized individually by rank or identifying vehicle plates
and/or flags) is considered an appropriate courtesy and will be observed. Salutes are not required to be rendered by or
to personnel who are driving or riding in privately owned vehicles, except by gate guards who will render salutes to
recognized officers in all vehicles unless duties are of such a nature as to make the salute impractical. When military
personnel are acting as drivers of a moving vehicle, they should not initiate a salute.

This does not say that the officer in the vehicle should or should not return the salute.

However, later in the regulation it states when salutes are not required: 1-5i:

Salutes are not required to be rendered or returned when the senior or subordinate, or both are—
(1) In civilian attire.
(2) Engaged in routine work if the salute would interfere.
(3) Carrying articles with both hands so occupied as to make saluting impracticable.
(4) Working as a member of a detail, or engaged in sports or social functions where saluting would present a safety


Based off this I would go with return the salute if you are able. I always do as it is out of respect.
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CPT Rn Care Coordinator
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I'm one of those "Reserve Officers" and in civilian clothing, and after returning my ID card, the gate guards at MacDill AF base always smile, greet, and salute. I return the salute to complete the interaction. I don't see anything on my ID card or uniform that indicates "Reserve" so how would one even know?
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CW5 Cyber Battle Lab Senior Tech
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My dad came with me on Bragg and the gate guard thanked him for his service. A small but thoughtful gesture from one veteran to another.
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SPC Indirect Fire Infantryman (Mortarman)
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Or as not to conduct a sniper check while in country. :-)
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LTC Substitute Teacher
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I return the salute if the Guard (military or civilian) salutes, if driver safety permits. Normally it does, since the car is stopped, but I believe the regulation makes it optional to the driver due to driving safety.
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