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The Hand Salute

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respect and courtesy are required of all members of the naval service; the junior member takes the initiative, and the senior member returns the courtesy. SALUTING One required act of military courtesy is the salute. Regulations governing its use are founded on military custom  deeply  rooted  in  tradition.  The  salute  is  a symbol  of  respect  and  a  sign  of  comradeship  among service personnel. The salute is simple and dignified; but,  there  is  great  significance  in  that  gesture.  It  is  a time-honored  demonstration  of  courtesy  among  all military  personnel  that  expresses  mutual  respect  and pride in the service. Never resent or try to avoid saluting persons entitled to receive the salute. (The privilege of saluting  is  generally  denied  prisoners  because  their status  is  considered  unworthy  of  the  comradeship  of military personnel.) The most common form of salute is the hand salute. However,  there  are  other  types,  such  as  gun  and  rifle salutes, which are discussed later in this chapter. The Hand Salute The hand salute began in the days of chivalry when it was customary for knights dressed in armor to raise their visors to friends for the purpose of identification. Because of the relative position of rank, the junior was required  to  make  the  first  gesture.  Another  school  of thought traces the salute back to a custom at the time of the  Borgias.  Assassinations  by  dagger  were  not uncommon at that time, and it became the custom for men to approach each other with raised hand, palm to the front, to show that there was no weapon concealed. In the U.S. Navy, it’s reasonable to believe that the hand salute came from the British navy. There is general agreement that the salute as now rendered is really the first  part  of  the  movement  of  uncovering.  From  the earliest  days  of  military  units,  the  junior  uncovered when meeting or addressing a senior. Gradually, the act of  taking  off  one’s  cap  was  simplified  into  merely touching the cap or, if uncovered, the head (forelock), and finally into the present form of salute. The  way  you  render  the  hand  salute  depends  on whether  you  are  in  civilian  clothes  or  in  uniform. Personnel  in  civilian  clothes  render  the  salute  in  two ways: 1.   Hat in front of the left shoulder (men only) 2.   Right  hand  over  the  heart  (men  without  hats; women with or without hats) NOTE These forms of saluting are used only to salute the  flag  or  national  anthem,  never  to  salute officers. In this chapter, the hand salute usually refers to a salute rendered by personnel in uniform. Except when walking, you should be at attention when saluting. In any  case,  turn  your  head  and  eyes  toward  the  person you’re saluting (unless it is inappropriate to do so, such as when a division in ranks salutes an inspecting officer on command). Navy personnel salute the anthem, the flag, and officers as follows: Raise the right hand smartly until the tip of the forefingers  touches  the  lower  part  of  the headgear or forehead above and slightly to the right of the eye (fig. 9-1). Extend and join the thumb and fingers. Turn  the  palm  slightly  inward  until  the  person saluting can just see its surface from the corner of the right eye. The  upper  arm  is  parallel  to  the  ground;  the elbow is slightly in front of the body. Incline the forearm at a 45º angle; hand and wrist are in a straight line. Complete  the  salute  (after  it  is  returned)  by dropping the arm to its normal position in one sharp, clean motion. 9-2 Student Notes:



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