Posted on Apr 15, 2014
COL Manager, Project Management Office
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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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Capt George Kent Brashear
Capt George Kent Brashear
3 mo
I'll jump in here because back in the sixties I was an enlisted air policeman and worked hundreds of hours at various base gates. We were required to salute the blue officer decal on the car bumper regardless of who was driving the car. Believe me it was demeaning to have to salute a 14 year-old dependent. But we did. So when there was an officer in the car who returned my salute I felt respected, rewarded, and human. This gate duty went a long way toward me becoming an officer. I set out to get myself a blue decal, and by George, I finally got one. My wife has schooled many young officers' wives on proper gate etiquette, always acknowledge the salute in some way, but never demand one. And, by the way...I saluted first lieutenants when I was a second lieutenant.
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CPT John Dobise
CPT John Dobise
3 mo
I always saluted First Lieutenants, while I was a "Butter Bar." In fact, my first CO at Ft. Bragg was a First Lt.
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COL Jon Lopey
COL Jon Lopey
14 d
Captain Brashear: Great answer! I too was an enlisted Marine and saluted a lot cars with blue stickers with spouses and kids but it was the right thing to do. I too saluted 1st Lieutenants when I was a 2LT. I had company commanders who held the 1LT rank and some had extensive experience and impressive credentials. Thanks for serving and for being a stellar leader. COL L
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Capt George Kent Brashear
Capt George Kent Brashear
14 d
COL Jon Lopey - Thanks, Colonel. May I call you Jon? I'm 75.
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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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MSG Mechanic Trainee
MSG (Join to see)
3 y
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
2 y
Agree 100% with Gunny.
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Capt George Kent Brashear
Capt George Kent Brashear
3 mo
Sgt Packy Flickinger - Was that Air Force officer in uniform? A doctor? Inside/outside? Did the officer know you? I apologize for the slight.
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COL Jon Lopey
COL Jon Lopey
14 d
Gunny: You are right - There are different customs and courtesies in the USMC vs. Army. For example, it is customary to salute when reporting to a senior officer in the Army even though you are indoors. The USMC did not require that unless you were under arms. Great point. I still return a salute when it is rendered. Semper Fi, COL L
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MAJ 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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SPC Indirect Fire Infantryman (Mortarman)
SPC (Join to see)
>1 y
Or as not to conduct a sniper check while in country. :-)
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LTC Substitute Teacher
LTC (Join to see)
>1 y
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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COL Jon Lopey
COL Jon Lopey
14 d
MAJ: Great point. I still render a return salute while at a gate. Normally, I get a salute while still stopped and I think it is appropriate to salute when you receive the same courtesy from a hard-working, professional MP or security officer. Great points, however. Thanks for serving. COL L
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COL Jon Lopey
COL Jon Lopey
14 d
SPC: You bring up a great point about saluting in a combat zone. You are right, generally such formal customs and courtesies are dispensed with in combat zones. However, there were times when such signs of respect were appropriate, especially when dealing with high-ranking officers of our service or foreign dignitary. Usually these were in areas where there were robust force protection measures present for those VIPs. COL L
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