What is your funniest salute story?

Your best excerpts from RallyPoint


shadow

RallyPoint is a digital platform for the military and Veteran community to come together and discuss topics both socially and professionally. Members can build peer to peer relationships across branches, generations, and conflicts forged by the common bond of service. Here is an example of a discussion in which members discussed humorous salutes.

 

What is your funniest salute story?

 

U.S. Air Force

“If we spotted a 2nd Lt. exiting the DFAC we would line up single file so they could walk through a saluting gauntlet.”

Master Sgt., U.S. Air Force

U.S. Army

“I realized that what I thought were 3 little squares were actually 3 little stars. About poked my eye out trying to quickly get my hand up.”

Maj., U.S. Army

U.S. Navy

“As the Captain approached he rang the bell and passed the word “Pigeon, Arriving!” as the Captain stepped onto the quarterdeck. Tim snatched off his ball cap and flapped it violently next to the microphone. It sounded exactly like a bird flapping it’s wings.” Petty Officer 3rd Class, U.S. Navy

U.S. Coast Guard

The best I had was turning a corner on post and nearly tackling the Post Commander (2-star). I snapped the salute about 3″ from his face and screamed, “HOLY SH%%, SIR!!” Master Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Coast Guard

U.S. Marine Corps

“Now I have a choice, do I come to attention and risk dropping the coffee all over the Commandant of the Marine Corps or do I continue to empty the grinds and risk what could be the worst ass chewing of my career?” Cpl., U.S. Marine Corps

In addition to service members and Veterans, civilian supporters can join RallyPoint, too. Civilians on the site include spouses, family members, caregivers, survivors, and all supporters of those in uniform. Within the community, members can also build their professional network, ask questions, share photos and stories, connect with members in a secure environment, and explore educational and career opportunities. If you fit any any of the categories discussed above, you can start your own discussion or contribute here: https://rly.pt/JoinVA 

 

Disclaimer: The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products or services on the part of the VA

Author

Tim Hudak

  joined the VA in December 2013 and is on the Veterans Experience Office team. Tim, a Chicago-land native enlisted in the Marine Corps straight out of high school. As an intelligence analyst he deployed to Al Anbar province, Iraq with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 in 2006 and 2008. After the Marine Corps, Tim used the GI Bill to earn a degree in Intelligence Studies from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and co-founded the university’s first student Veteran organization. Tim is active in many Veteran organizations.

Comments

  1. Denise A. DiResta    

    It’s summer 1988 Basic Training/AIT at Ft. McClellan, Alabama adjacent to the city of Anniston, Alabama. We were at the M16 qualifying range. I enlisted as a 95B – Military Police with Airborne School immediately after graduation. It was hot & humid the dirt/sand was everywhere especially on my elbows and it hurt when I had to fire in the prone position (laying down).

    So I had an idea to stick a feminine pad to each of my elbows which I believed would alleviate the pain from all the dirt/sand grinding on my elbows in the prone position. To my surprise it worked but after I came off the firing line I had to use the latrine and on my trek there some officers were coming towards me. I snapped a salute and (wait for it….) upon returning my arm to its normal position the feminine pad flew out on the ground.

    We all came to an immediate halt! They paused for a half second realizing what they were looking at, looked at me, said nothing and proceeded on their way. I scurried to pick up the pad and double timed to the latrine. The next day once I was sure nothing was going to happen to me regarding this incident I couldn’t wait to tell all the female soldiers in my unit and boy did we laugh about it during the rest of our training. Good times serving my country.

  2. Dwayne Harris    

    I was in Iraq, 2004-2005. In the fall of 2004, I had to go on a mission about 3 and a half hours away. After we got there and downloaded, I told 2 of my soldiers that we were going to walk over to the mess hall and grab lunch. As we were walking through the big courtyard, a Major and Col. were walking towards us, I said good afternoon gentlemen, and did not salute. After all, we WERE in Iraq, the Battle of Fallujah was going on, again, not far away. Just after they passed me, the Major turned around and yelled, “come here Sgt.” So, I d around and walked the 15 feet back to them and stood at Parade rest, as I should have. He ripped into me saying that I knew GD well that I was supposed to salute. This was all in front of my soldiers, by the way. And I explained to him that where I was assigned in Iraq, if we saluted, someone would probably have gotten shot. He ripped me again and said “don’t give me that sh%^” So I came to attention, and gave them a sharp salute. So, not really funny, but that’s my story.

  3. Barry Hoffman    

    My son was commissioned 2nd Lt. after graduating VMI in 2002. As dad and Viet Nam veteran I was honored to initiate his first salute. I did , he saluted and immediately afterwards said “Dad, look at your feet!”. They were apart, splayed 90 degrees, and the farthest from attention they could be. I was embarrassed but we laughed it off cuz I hadn’t saluted anyone in over 30 years. In 2018 at my sons promotion to Lt. Col., at the Pentagon no less, I was ordered by his boss, a two star General, to give HIM a proper salute! My son had related the story of his first salute 16 years prior. I saluted the General properly and we all had a good laugh over it.

  4. John C McMenamin Jr    

    After Admiral Rickover retired as the USN Naval Nuclear Power Program’s top-dog he was replaced by Admiral Dunn who decided to perform some surprise inspections. I was an E5 and supposed to be a ‘roving’ watch in number 2 reactor mechanical spaces on the USS Nimitz in Newport News VA (circa 1983) for Nimitz’s first complex overhaul, but I also had an upcoming evolution that had yet to be successfully completed on ‘Numb-nuts’. I had my feet up on my desk, and had yet to fall asleep reading the Tech Manual and Op Manual, for the procedure, when my peripheral vision saw gold braid (sh*t, I was supposed to roaming!). I looked down, saw coraframs, looked up saw no hearing protection I do not remember if he was wearing dosimetry). I don’t remember even getting to my feet, and said “sorry sir you are not allowed in this space without the proper protection, you must leave.” With a smile on his face he said, “thank-you sailor and left. I never heard a word from my ‘management’. I don’t think I slept well for a week waiting for a shoe to drop.

  5. Let's play    

    I was Security Police Gate Guard Section. . We don’t have any funny stories about saluting. It wasn’t a game for us in my unit. There wasn’t anything funny, but you can make fun of your time in the service of course it was all a big Damm game to you.
    I had lots of fun every day. I used to play this game I called it “How many people can I Fuck with today” . That consisted of how many tickets I can issue, how many DUIs write. If I could fuck with someone I did it.
    You played your game I played mine….

  6. VeeCee    

    As a new seaman onboard a carrier. Dress uniform liberty. First time in France. First time drinking copious amounts of wine. First time riding in rough seas in a Liberty Boat. But I felt fine, not drunk, not sea sick, a young man loving life. Anyway I get up to quarterdeck face off with the Chief on deck and snap a smart salute to the flag and then to the Chief and say “ permission to come Eurp”. With no warning I spewed a stomach load of sour grapes onto the Chiefs dress uniform. Chief is just staring at me with a “ What The F@@k Is Wrong With You Boy?” Look. Apologies spew out of my mouth just as fast. Promises to pay for dry cleaning. Suddenly he starts to laugh and says “just be glad my shift is over you dumb little Sh*t” and walks away laughing.

  7. J. C. Swift    

    I have a decent salute story. About two years ago, my buddy and I (both SrA at the time) were walking into the DFAC at Shaw AFB when a SSgt in ABUs walked out carrying a To-go box in one hand and a drink in the other. As soon as he noticed us wearing flight suits, he must have assumed we were officers, because he quickly balanced his cup on top of his to-go box and threw up a sharp salute. Naturally, we were about to waive it off and let him know it wasn’t necessary when we both saw his cup tip off the box and spill its contents all over his midsection. We all froze and stared at each other. Then he glanced at our name tags and realized his mistake. He muttered, “Oh, you gotta be KIDDING ME!” and we all burst out laughing. Easily my best salute story. This is why I make sure I know who I am saluting now.

  8. Daniel Razo    

    While in MCRD back in 2004, myself and another recruit had to go to the chowhall and retrieve hotplates for sick recruits. It was morning time and an officer approached us as we marched towards the hall. We prompted a sault and he stops and yells “recruits, do it again!”. We were puzzled as we had correctly saluted at the same time and waited for him to salute back. He made us march back to our barracks while running 15 feet in front of us and making us salute him along the way. He would circle us the whole way back to our barracks for salutes. I don’t know if he was merely punishing us for saluting him (we did it correctly). He made us march back to the chowhall and continued to run ahead of us and face us for a salute. We finally reached the chowhall and he whispers to us “You guys are brave men for signing up to defend your country”. Those words really touched us and pushed me to give it my all in boot camp. USMC 04-08 3rd battalion 7th Marines. 0311

  9. Michael Francis Finnegan    

    I was Marching my squad home from the mess hall one evening and to my right I noticed three wac’s on the sidewalk I had my squad eyes right and present arms as we continued to march I noticed the rest of the base was standing at attention and realized the flag was coming down and unfortunately my drill sergeant was just across the street whoops!!! Time for a do over.

  10. Al Larson, LT, USN    

    As newly commissioned Ensigns in the Navy, we were headed to the barracks. The tradition at the time was to hand a silver dollar to the first person who saluted us. A Senior Chief had stationed himself at the top of the stairs and as we climbed up, he would salute with his right hand, and hold out his left for the dollars. He made quite a haul as this was the last year that silver dollars actually had silver in them. As a boot Ensign, I was made aware how much the Chiefs knew and how much I had to learn.

  11. Francisco Vagnoni    

    Not being a long time U.S. Army person, I can never say I had any time that I wasn’t ready for the “Man” to be in my face. So I can only comment on the choice of aircraft the was with this article. A Grumman Gulfstream, Now I was a lifer with them going to Savannah, Ga from Bethpage Long Island N.Y. Gave them 47 years . I am proud to be a Vet and Love the U.S.A. would give my life for her.

  12. Dorothy Williams-Jeffries    

    I was in basic training at Ft McClellan and we were at a parade. We had a 2nd Lt in the company who had just finished her training also. When the company commander said parade rest, everyone went to parade rest except the 2nd Lt she saluted, looked around and saw everyone was
    . parade rest dropped the salute and stuck her fingers in her mouth. This was in 1973 at Ft McClellan Alabama. Dorothy Williams.Sgt

  13. Ernest Govea    

    I was in downtown Los Angeles in my Air Force uniform walking down a street. I was an Airman 1st Class, two stripper, E-3. Suddenly, up ahead of me I saw a young man walking toward me in a uniform I did not recognize at all. I knew Navy, Army and Marine uniforms and this was definitely none of those branches. As he got closer I studied his uniform as closely as I could and concluded he was from a foreign allied army. but I could not ascertain his rank or even whether he was enlisted or an officer. I didn’t know if I should salute or not. When he was about six feet away he snapped a smart salute to me which I returned automatically as we passed each other. His salute took away the uncertainty of whether or not I should salute and it was the one and only time anyone ever saluted me.

  14. Steve Pontius    

    As a 2LT, at Langley, HQ TAC, I needed a new service cap.
    Went to clothing sales and saw caps with solid silver trim which looked better than my black/silver trim.
    I purchased it and put on my gold 2LT bar.
    For 2 weeks I noticed EVERYONE was saluting me.
    Finally a nice Major advised I was wearing a General’s service cap!
    How embarrassing.

  15. Randy Kelso    

    1963, NATTC Millington, Tennessee, newly minted E-2 just out of boot camp. Showed the gate guard my orders which were for Aviation Electronics School to commence just a few days later. The guard pointed to a chief seated at a nearby desk outside, under a pavilion roof. As I had been taught in boot camp, I saluted the chief who looked totally astonished. Then I realized that I had goofed, so I lowered the salute. The chief ignored my gaffe and processed my orders, then told me to report to the Commissary Division. Six weeks later I was relieved from the galley’s deepsink duty and I wonder to this day if the misplaced salute had anything to do with my assignment to mess duty.

  16. Ron Stugart    

    I was saying goodbye to the Chaplain I was assigned to. He and I had a great relationship and he was not a demanding Captain but more of a friend. We even roomed together while on temporary duty near Quang Tri Vietnam. He was about ready to board his small plane taking him to the airport to head back stateside. As I was starting to salute him he gave me a left handed salute and I returned mine left handed also. Was a special moment. We both chuckled. What a great guy.

  17. Michael Shepherd    

    I was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army deployed to Iraq and working with a Major over the Interrogation facility at Abu Ghraib. He was telling me the convoys that needed to take place over the next week but kept referring to me as a Specialist. After the fourth or fifth time I snapped to attention, saluted and said “I understand Captain”. He turned red immediately and proceeded to tell me he was not a Captain but that he was a Major and had earned that rank. I quickly replied “I am not a specialist and I have definitely earned my rank. To this, silence was the only thing he could think of as he stormed off.

  18. Bob Franklin    

    My last day in the Marine Corps. I was running into the hanger with my papers for the CO’s signature. It was raining so I was in a hurry to get in the dry. Just as I ran past him I saw the butter bars but since I was past him I kept going. Until I heard him scream out, Corporal! I skidded to a stop and turned to face him. He advances chewing on me the whole time. “Corporal, do you not see these bars on my collar?” I grinned and said, “Corporal sir?” while pointing to my sergeant stripes. He got all flustered and said, “Sorry sergeant.” gave me a quick salute, then did an about face and quickly walked away. I stood there in the rain just enjoying one of my last moments in the Corps.

  19. Frederick L Bradley    

    I was in Saigon getting ready to head back the the states in December 1968, I was heading toward the processing center carrying my 95 pound duffel bag on my left shoulder. My M-16 was slung over my shoulder. I weighed about 140 pounds at the time. Well, a jeep came around the corner and I saw 4 stars. It was Creighton Abrams. I stopped and raised my right hand to salute and the momentum caused me to fall backwards because of the weight of my duffel bag. I’m laying on my back still saluting. The General was laughing and saluted back. True story.

  20. MSG (Retired US Army) Burke    

    The year was 1985 and I was at OSUT at Ft. Knox training to be a tanker (M60). I was leaving the chow hall and when I got outside I saw a captain walking towards me and I forgot which hand to salute with. The noticed he was a chaplain so I decided to jog by him and he would show me grace. Well I was wrong! The chaplain told me to come to him and then proceeded to call the drill sergeant over and he told the drill sergeant what I did. Man, that chaplain hung me out as bait for the drill sergeant who chewed my butt and had me doing push-ups for what seemed a lifetime. Also, I am left handed which supports my confusion. Thanks for that memory chaplain and drill sergeant.

  21. Doyle K Stewart    

    1983, Zweibruecken AB Germany. I was a young Airman First Class and was walking out to the flight line during a TAC EVAL exercise. On the flight line, you do not wear headgear (“cover” for my Navy and Marine friends) and rank is not worn on poopy suits (chemical protective gear) except for name and rank written on masking tape and stuck to your chest.

    As I stepped up on a curb, my chem suit pantleg hung at the top of my boot. i paused and looked down as I reached to correct the malfunction. A LtCol walking the other direction must have thought i was avoiding eye contact, and thus the proper military courtesy. He grabbed my shoulder and pulled up suddenly. Not accustomed to being grabbed, I immediately grabbed his collar with left hand and cocked my right hand back prepared to punch whoever had grabbed me so suddenly.

    He must have thought my right hand motion was a salute. By the time our eyes made contact he was standing upright and returning the salute that I had not rendered. I opened my fist, moved hand to saluting position, and straightened his collar with my left hand.

    He reported said action to my CO, who incidentally was one of the best bosses I ever had, who told him that he would not have a “problem” with Airman Stewart if he “just leaves Airman Stewart alone!”

  22. Mike Amrein    

    I was a sp/4 just assigned to the !st Cav Med Evac in Bien Hoa, Vietnam. As I was walking through the company area, the CO, a Lt Col approached. I snapped to attention and saluted. He said, “We don’t do that here. What’s your name?” I said, “Specialist Amrein, Sir.” He said, “No, what’s your name?” I said, “Mike?” He told me his first name, and shook my hand saying he was happy to meet me. Since at least half to of the personnel in the company were officers, either doctors or helicopter pilots, saluting was not expected. Months later I was assigned to the 1st Aviation Brigade in Pleiku. I walked out of the mess hall and saw a Lt Col coming in. As I walked by I said, “Hi,Sir.” I was still wearing my 1st Cav patch on my shoulder. He spins around and gets nose to nose with me and says, “Is that how you address an officer in the Cav?” I was surprised and said, “Yes, Sir.” He must have thought I was being a smart ass. I don’t remember what else he had to say, expect he didn’t seem happy to meet me.

  23. Gerald Tegethoff    

    I was traveling by air after basic and AIT at Dt Dix.
    As I walked to my flight I saw 2 Captains walking towards me I was in my dress uniform.
    I snapped a perfect salute to both of the Airline pilots.
    They saw I was an 18 year old Pvt. and returned the salute with a chuckle.

  24. Bill Feffer    

    I worked in the Pentagon during the early 70’s. We usually only worried about saluting the 2nd lieutenants. One morning, a group of us, about ten guys were headed in to the PTC. We spied an admiral on his way out. We spread ourselves to about 10 foot intervals and began snapping our best salutes on him. After about the fifth guy, he threw his arm at us and walked on with a chuckle.

  25. John P. Tuohy    

    While approaching a newly commissioned 2nd Lt. I gave him a very snappy salute with my left hand. The look on his face was worth a million dollars. I could hear the wheels in his said asking “did he just salute me with the wrong hand??” I quess in the confusion he returned my salute and slowly kept walking.

  26. Ruth Elaine Webster    

    A few weeks before I separated from the USAF at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX, I went to the CBPO (personnel office) to get all of my paperwork together. I was a SSgt/E5, Master Technical Training Instructor. As I left the personnel office, I passed a Marine 2nd Lieutenant who was standing with her back to me, so according to 3510 regulations, I was NOT required to salute. The 2nd Lieutenant apparently did not know that. As soon as I passed her (without looking), I heard her scream, “SSgt!! JUST what the H311 DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?” I turned around and asked her what the problem was. She said, “Do you not KNOW that you are required to SALUTE officers when you see them?” I replied, “Yes, Ma’am, but I came up BEHIND you and could not see your rank.” She said, “WELL, YOU CAN SEE IT NOW, SO WHERE IS YOUR SALUTE?”

    She made me do a “Basic Training Reporting Statement,” followed by a salute, and finally let me go on my way. This happened right outside of the Basic Training Personnel Office, where every new recruit goes to process in and finalize their enlistment.

    By the time I got back to my unit, I was BOILING MAD. So, I called the CBPO and spoke with someone who was well familiar with 3510 requirements for rendering a salute to an officer. He CONFIRMED that I was right. So, my NEXT call was to the US Marine Detachment on Lackland AFB. I explained the situation, and explained what the 3510 regulations were.

    The Marine Detachment Commander listened to my story and then asked me what she looked like. As soon as he heard her description, he slammed the phone down on his desk, and went “thundering down the hall,” telling someone else in his office the following:

    “SHE’S OUT THERE DOING IT AGAIN!! SOMEBODY GO AND GET HER!!!”

    He then came back to the phone and apologized to me profusely (and Marines RARELY, if EVER apologize to ANYONE), explaining that this particular 2nd Lieutenant had a “habit” of hanging out by the CBPO/Basic Training offices to collect salutes, and that they were “trying to correct her major malfunction!!”

    33 years out of the USAF, and I still laugh about it to this day!!

  27. Mike Stefanick    

    As a wise ass, I was always looking for a way to screw with officers, especially the newbies. Myself and two other sergeants were walking towards the BX and saw a Boot Louie coming our way. He had his arms full and was juggling his packages to get them all into his left arm before he got to us. He barley succeeded, he was still juggling as he got to us. We kept walking, I think he got two steps past us, dropped his packages, and screamed “Don’t you salute officers on this base?” At which I looked thoughtful for a moment and replied, “Not today lieutenant, it’s Tuesday.” , and we kept walking. We looked back that Louie had a befuddled look on his face. We laughed thinking what a jerk, wondering how the discussion would go at the “O” Club that night.

  28. SallyAnn McChesney    

    After a few days in “Grad status” at Lackland AFB, I was ordered to escort a new AF recruit/ WAF to Wilford HallHospital for a screening. While standing outside the hospital entrance, I began to turn 360 degrees every minute to second (or so it seemed) to salute anyone who exited the door ‍♀️

  29. Barry Dowd    

    I was an Air Force E-6 working on Patch Barracks Germany in the early 90’s. I was walking back to my office from another building, crossing the street with no traffic I saw three other service members all converging towards the same corner I was crossing over to. One coming head on, the other two coming from my left and my right. We all quickly started scanning each others rank, everyone was in BDU’s so that made it a little tougher. Turns out the guy coming right at me was an Air Force E-5, the one on my left was Air Force 1st Lt and the one on my right was an Army CPT. Didn’t really know the protocol on who should salute first, but it just so happened that at about 4 paces away from each other we all popped up are salutes at the exact same time, gave our salutations, and dropped the salutes in unison. No one said anything else, we all just kind of smirked and went on our way.

  30. Larry Whiteside    

    In 1967 as I was getting ready to ship out of Dong Ha South Viet Nam to an out post called Con Thien. I was with the 1st Bn 4th Marines 3rd Platoon. There was a PX Truck where you could stock up on smokes and chili sauce for C-rats etc.. Anyway a Major walked past and I didn’t salute him. Officers up there on the DMZ didn’t like saluting as they might take a sniper shot. Needless to say he ate my ass out pretty good. About an hour later I had bought a cigar and was smoking it. Walked around a tent and damned if that same Major didn’t walk up on me. Well my left hand had a carton of smokes and some other pogey bait The cigar was in my mouth and all I could do was grab the cigar out of my mouth with my right hand and salute the major with a cigar in my right hand. He just said corporal you may not stay an E-4 if you don’t learn how to salute properly.

  31. Tom Beaudin    

    Former President Clinton once said he was out in the middle of no where in a desert to inspect something. There really was hardly anything at all there. But there stood a Marine in dress blues to greet him with a salute.

  32. Rick Schultz    

    The funniest salute story I have is when I was in Vietnam and playing poker with a couple of other grunts and our platoon leader, a fist looie. We were also having a few warm beers and the day was hot (as usual)so we all were bare chested and just tossed our tops around the sand bags. When chow was called I grabbed my shirt and headed for the chow line with the rest of the grunts while the LT went to officer’s mess. As I was standing in line I got a bunch of funny looks and other soldiers were saluting me so I saluted back. It was after s few minutes that the guy in front of me turned around and said “when did you get promoted/”. I looked down at my name tag and realized I had on the LT’s blouse with the silver bar on it so I took it off, turned it inside out during chow and went to find my uniform. I caught up with the LT and he didn’t even realize that he had been demoted to Spec.4! We got a great laugh out of that!

  33. Tatiyana Lancaster    

    During AIT (Advance Individual Training) we were allowed to smoke in a roped off section by the barracks. My buddy and I were talking and an officer came into view of me – but she could not see him. I rendered the proper salute and when she realized his presence, she immediately saluted him. Problem was, she had her cigarette hanging from her lips. Of course the officer began reading her the riot act, so she took it from her mouth and again saluted – this time with her left hand since she had her cigarette in the right. The Captain must have thought she was smoking more than a regular cigarette – but all he could do is yell at her giving her the ”proper saluting protocol’, tell her she was ate up and shook his head as he walked off. I’m sure it was a topic of conversion at the O-club that night… lol

    1. Theron Sherman    

      One tour in Korea, as I was heading back up the hill from the motor pool, I noticed a 2nd LT coming down the hill. I quickly instructed the enlisted with me (about a dozen NCO’s and lower ranks) to spread out before the LT noticed. Every few steps an enlisted soldier saluted him and he saluted back. He didn’t catch on until almost through all of us. His arm must have been tired.

  34. Tara Beth Johnson    

    My 3 year old asked me why the young soldier saluted me as we proceeded through the gate. I explained to her mommy is a captain. Her incredulous response, “You drive a boat!” No baby, Mommy’s an AMEDD officer.

  35. B. Williams    

    I was a member of the NATO TACEVAL Team inspecting an Army ADA Battalion. Walking across a field with my German co-worker to the actual battery we walked past an Army Captain who immediately gives me the Sergeant, I don’t expect much from the Germans in terms of military customs but as a US Air Force member I expect that you will render a proper salute. So we looked at each other kind of puzzled because we were instructed to acknowledge the officers with a greeting but not a salute in the field. We repeated that to him and he said I’m waiting. We said ok and saluted. He took 3 steps back, ducked his head and returned the salute and said good day. We’re looking at each like WTF was that? So we asked the TACEVAL Director what’s the protocol for saluting. We gave the Captain’s name to the Director. Great ending to the story, not only did his battery fail the security (guards were asleep when we came to inspect at 0330) and TRANSEC (improper destruction and documentation of key material) portion of the eval, he had to apologize to both of us in front of the TACEVAL Team.

  36. Arnold Bookheim Jr.    

    Okay, this one is completely on me. I told my wife this story and she said I was a real wise-a**.
    I was attending the NCO Prep School at England AFB, Louisiana in 1966. We were taking turns commanding the prep school squadron of 20 A1C “cadets” in drill practice, and at the finish, the drill commander was to face and report, with a salute, the three observing “officers” who were actually NCO’s, and the Prep School Commandants. Out of earshot of the Commandants, I informed the squadron that I would salute left handed … and I did! I was betting they would not notice. The only sound was some muffled laughs behind me.
    Don’t think for a minute, though, that I didn’t take the Prep School seriously. I finished second in the class, and WON THE DRILL AWARD!

  37. Austin Dulaney    

    I have to say my funniest was also the most embarrassing. It was week 2 of Basic at Fort Benning Ga in 2008. We had just received instruction for our lead drill sergeant on how to salute with a rifle. I was on KP duty and sweeping the walkway outside the DFAC the next part of the day. I used my broom to salute what I thought was the proper way with a item in hand. I don’t think I ever saw a major laugh that hard before and never since. Course, the drill sergeant didn’t think it was funny.

  38. Michael J Mastroianni    

    I was walking down a sidewalk with another soldier when we approached a major. I saluted but my friend had a cast on his right arm. He did a full, precise salute with his left hand. We walked a few steps, turned around and waited. A moment later the officer turned to look at us. He gave a slight grin.

  39. Karen Kaaoush    

    In AF Officer Training School, I was assigned to flag duty one day. We raised the flag quickly for Reville as we should. Later at Retreat, we lowered the flag just as quickly. It wasn’t until I was at my first duty station almost a year later after first attending Comm School that I learned others had seen our error.
    A fellow 2Lt, who graduated OTS 3 weeks behind me, told me the funniest story he had from OTS was when they were marching to chow and had to stop to salute the flag as Taps was being played. They could hardly stand at attention, they were laughing so hard at seeing the flag lowered so quickly. We both had a good laugh when I told him I was responsible.

  40. John Raletz    

    I met a senior Army Lieutenant Colonel from Louisiana when I was a young Major at Ft Leavenworth. We became friends. It is then I learned that an endearing term for folks from Louisiana is “coon ass”. Well, some years later I was now a senior Lieutenant Colonel and as I was walking across the PX parking lot I saw my old friend some distance away. He was back for a visit. So I called out to him, “Hey Coon Ass”! He turned and smiled, then we began walking toward one another when I discovered that the ole coon ass was now a brigadier general. Almost thru my shoulder out of place raising a salute in record time 😉

  41. Mark Corchado    

    October 1981, fresh out of basic training at Lackland AFB, my buddy and I were walking back to our barracks. Per our training, we were briskly walking side by side, in step, with our portfolios (book bags) in our left hand as required. Having just graduated BMT, we felt pretty good about ourselves. We noticed a vehicle approaching but the sun was low in the sky and made it difficult to see. Just as the vehicle got beside us my buddy yelled out, “its a staff car!” Before I had time to react, the vehicle quickly stopped and a captain jumped out yelling at us about rendering the proper salute to a staff vehicle. At the time, most Air Force vehicles were painted dark blue. Staff cars (O-6 and above) however, were painted with white tops. If the officer was in the vehicle a rank placard would be displayed on the front bumper. My buddy and I both missed it. We quickly rendered the proper salute, the captain jumped back in the vehicle and went on his way. I thought for sure we were both getting recycled back to day one of basic training.

  42. Karen Kaaoush    

    While at AF Officer’s Training School, I was assigned flag duty for revile and retreat one day. We raised the flag quickly as we should, but at the end of the day, we lowered the flag quickly as well.
    It wasn’t until I arrived at my first duty station after comm school that I was told anyone else was aware of the error besides our team.
    The fellow 2Lt was behind my OTS class by 3 weeks and shared the funniest moment he had at OTS. The day they were marching to chow and the flag was lowered so quickly, they could hardly stand at attention they were laughing so hard.
    Little did he know I was responsible for this, so we both had a good laugh.

  43. Clay Fisher    

    In 1978 I was an Army spec/5 91C stationed at LAMC hospital on the Presidio of San Francisco. One day I was walking outside the hospital about 20 steps behind the chief of dentistry at the hospital (as I remember it 42 years later), a full bird colonel known by most to insist that service members adhere to military protocol in a place where many officers and enlisted disregarded it at every opportunity. An older enlisted man passed the colonel without saluting. The colonel stopped him in his tracks, called him to attention, and started reprimanding him UNTIL he saw the Medal of Honor on the enlisted man’s chest. That colonel stopped mid-sentence and snapped and held the sharpest salute I ever saw in my short military career. The enlisted man returned a slightly less-sharp but still respectful salute and at the time my impression was that he held the colonel at salute a little longer than was customary.

    1. Rick Sauer    

      There has never been nor is there now a regulation that a MOH recipient be saluted. There is no protocol that
      has ever been adhered to that a MOH recipient be saluted by a senior commissioned officer. I served with a MOH recipient the day that his actions were cited for his MOH. He was a soldier’s soldier until the day he passed, and I was with him when he did.
      He would never ask for an honor, and would never use the MOH that he wore around his neck to harass nor demonstrate to
      someone that he was above them. No MOH recipient I have ever met would ever use that MOH for something that benefited
      themselves, yet I have seen them use it only to highlight and honor those that they served along side. This story is something that I would say never occurred. I find it disrespectful to all MOH recipients.

  44. Clay Fisher    

    In 1978 I was an Army spec/5 91C stationed at LAMC hospital on the Presidio of San Francisco. One day I was walking outside the hospital about 20 steps behind the chief of dentistry at the hospital (as I remember it 42 years later), a full bird colonel known by most to be a stickler for protocol in a place where many officers and enlisted disregarded it at every opportunity. An older enlisted man passed the colonel without saluting. The colonel stopped him in his tracks, called him to attention, and started reprimanding him UNTIL he saw the Medal of Honor on the enlisted man’s chest. That colonel stopped mid-sentence and snapped and held the sharpest salute I ever saw in my short military career. The enlisted man returned a slightly less-sharp but still respectful salute and at the time my impression was that he held the colonel at salute a little longer than was customary.

    1. Catherine Wheeler    

      Nice to see you’re still around, Clay. I remember Captain Arrowsmith (91C
      instructor)walking down the street toward the hospital mouthing the words “don’t salute”. Of course, I saluted!

    2. Rick Sauer    

      That is a myth that one is supposed to salute a Medal of Honor recipient. Normal protocol is that on salutes an officer
      higher in rank then oneself. I served with a MOH recipient when the actions that day resulted him him being awarded
      the MOH. We stayed close for over 40 years until the day he passed. He would never even think about acting with proper
      military courtesy what ever the occasion. I never met a MOH recipient who ever felt like he desired something special nor would ever ask for anything that his soldiers did not receive. They are all more professional then the story alleges above.
      They all are a step above the professionalism that the rest of us hope to achieve.

      1. Rick Sauer    

        should have been “think about not acting without the proper military courtesy”.
        Please excuse the typo error.

  45. Richard Beeman    

    I got an early out in September of 1967 after 4 years as a Navy Corpsman to begin college. In the first few weeks of my freshman experience at the University of South Florida in Tampa, I was walking across the open expanse of the campus center and saw two older men in suits and ties walking toward me. With the immediacy of 4 years of repetition, I smartly saluted these two gentlemen. As I saw the surprised look on their faces, I realized I had just saluted two civilians who had no idea what I was doing.

  46. Robert Mike    

    I was an Army MP gate guard at Tan Son Nhut airbase in 1969 along with an Air Force SP. One day, a jeep approached our gate, I leaned into the jeep to see a couple of Sergeants from the 82nd Airborne driving through (I, myself was an MP in the 82nd) and then waved them on through. But the jeep suddenly stopped. The sergeant sitting in the passenger seat was actually a major; a tall, serious looking Black major. He gave me a well-deserved chewing out for not saluting him and respecting his grade. I snapped to attention and smartly saluted him as he deserved. The next day, a jeep approached the gate with a sergeant driving and what looked to be the major from the previous day’s encounter. I naturally snapped my heels together and brought my right arm up and fired off a class A salute. Well, those two sergeants went rumbling through that gate, laughing like a couple of hyenas.

  47. james MacIlveen    

    walking down the street in San Diego and a Captain and an Admiral wilked down on the opposite
    side of the street. I did not brace and salute. A Marine gunnery sargarent observed and royally chewed my ass out for not saluting

  48. al stephens    

    1966, fresh out of Navy boot camp. While looking over the a school base in Memphis TN. we failed to salute a Marine Core officer. Needless to say we never made that mistake again.

  49. Paka    

    Retired SFC here. When I was a SSG sitting in my car waiting for a Platoon of AIT (School) Soldiers to cross the road. The PVT standing at the position of attention with his hand held up to stop the traffic, looks intensely as if to determine what is happening, suddenly notices the Platoon has crossed and snaps to Parade Rest, Salutes my car and then went back to the position of Attention then back to Parade Rest and then moved out with his Platoon. To this day I can only imagine what must have been going through this Privates head while doing the Hokey Pokey to salute a SSG.

  50. Frank Trask    

    In 1952 I was in the Fire Direction Center [FDC] reading a map for our 105 Howitzer Battery in Korea when 2 men walked in. I said ‘Hi” and turned around to see 2 Brigadier Generals. I quickly straightened up to salute and smacked my head on a log that was part of the roof. I did get the salute off and then held my head. The 2 Generals had a good laugh and said keep up the good work and left.

  51. William S McGurk    

    I went from Navy basic training to A-School in 1984. I’ll never forget the new Marine 2nd LTs who hung out in front of the galley at lunchtime, waiting for the unobservant students who walked by without saluting so they could ream them up and down about the virtues and requirements of saluting an officer. My belief is that those new gold bars were detailed to the galley as part of THEIR training!

  52. E. JAMES OUDMAN    

    BACK IN 1965, I WAS ON A TROOP SHIP (U.S. BREKINRIDGE) OR HOWEVER YOU SPELL IT. WE WERE PACKED IN LIKE SARDINES HEADING FOR VIETNAM FROM OAKLAND. WE STOPPED AT PEARL HARBOR BUT WE COULDN’T DISEMBARK THE SHIP. IF SO, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN ALOT OF AWOLS. THAT WAS THE BEST CRUISE THAT I HAD WITH CHOPPY WATERS AND NO DRAMIMINE. NEEDLESS TO SAY, I GOT SEASICK. THE SHIP HAD 5 DECKS AND I WAS ON DECK 3 ENCLOSED. I QUICKLY DECIDED TO HAVE GRAVITY HELP ME GO DOWN TO THE BOTTOM DECK WHERE THE HEAD WAS AND RAN PASSED A FIRST SGT. THEN I RAN TOWARD THE HATCH OF THE HEAD. THERE WERE TWO GUARDS THERE AND I TRIED TO GET INTO THE HEAD LIKE A LINEBACKER TO NO AVAIL. I YELLED BACK TO THE SARGE “DO YOU WANT ME TO ‘DO IT’ RIGHT HERE?” THE SARGE SAID “LET HIM IN!”. I BARGED IN AND LUCKLY I HELD IT TILL I FOUND A COMODE. I DEPOSITED MY ‘COOKIES’ AND AS I WAS WALKING OUT OF THE HEAD, I FOUND OUT WHY THE HEAD WAS BEING GUARDED. A FULL COL. AND A MAJOR WAS INSPECTING THE HEAD. I JUST SAID “SORRY SIRS”. I NEVER DID SALUTE (OOPS). I LOST MY APPETITE TIL I GOT TO VIETNAM. (TOOK 21 DAYS TO GET THERE). I ATE THE NEXT DAY ON LAND OF WW11 C-RATS, WHICH IS WHAT WE HAD FOR THE WHOLE YEAR WE WERE OVER THERE……… PS. THAT WAS THE LONGEST YEAR OF MY LIFE!

  53. Mark Bohlmann    

    During the summer of 1972 as a SP5 writer for the AG USAREUR following his approval of a Decision Paper with a tight suspense date, I was assigned to hand carry the signature copy to the DCSPER for his action. His office was in a separate building across the parade grounds. There was a fairly dense hedge surrounding it. We were not supposed to walk across the parade ground, but the gaps and paths through the bushes showed that I was not the first to disregard that policy. Walking at a fast clip I plowed into someone walking the opposite direction through those bushes and knocked him down. Shocked, I stared briefly at the man laying on his back and quickly saw that he was a 2 star General. He said, son if you’re trying to figure out if you salute a General you just knocked on his ass or help him up, you help him up first and then you salute. After I helped him up and we exchanged salutes he asked where I was assigned and what I was doing crossing the parade grounds in such a hurry. I explained the above and he replied, well he’s not in his office anyway he’s on his way to a meeting or was… I’ll read it when I’m done with that. We both continued in our opposite directions.

  54. Cason Herd    

    2008 Naples, Italy, me a brand new MA3 walking toward the precinct with a arm load of food for the first classes and Chief. I look up to see the local 2-star walking toward me, I immediately panic trying to free up my right hand for a salute shifting bags and boxes around. I look up and about 15 feet from each other the 2-star has stopped as well and I noticed he also has his hands full. There’s about a good 10 seconds of us standing their staring at each other trying to free up our right hands when the 2-star looks and me and says, “You know what, we’re good I get it.” We walked pasted each other with a respectful nod and a laugh.

  55. joseph haddakin    

    I almost missed saluting a vehicle while walking to D.C Navy Yard in the early 80s. Luckily the license plate caught my attention. 17751110….& no, there were no standards posted on vehicle.

  56. Dwight N Tovey    

    I finished Coast Guard boot camp in 1976, then promptly went to visit my girlfriend who was living in Colorado Springs and working at the Air Force academy. She took me to work with her one day to show me around, and of course I wore my uniform. What I didn’t realize was that the C.G. uniform is very similar to the A.F. uniform, with the main difference being the insignia on my hat. I encountered a lot of cadets who weren’t sure what they were looking at, but that sure doesn’t look like an enlisted A.F. thing, so it must be an officer. I got saluted a lot, which created a fairly awkward situation for young Seaman Apprentice straight out of basic training. My girlfriend thought it was hilarious.

  57. Charles A. Lee    

    USAF: we Sentry Dog Handlers were required not to salute officers when on post with our dogs in case the dog misunderstood and attacked. The officer would just raise his hand, salute and lower it.

    I taught my dog how to salute, and one night on post, the officer raised his hand in the usual way. I whispered “salute” to the dog (Rex) and Rex raised his right paw to eye level on cue.

    The sergeant in charge of the kennel told me a few days later that the officer had gone around telling anyone who would listen about being saluted by a K9 GI.

  58. Christopher E Jones    

    Eielson AFB, Alaska-1995th CS

    I left the squadron, and heading back to the dorm saw the most beautiful woman in uniform that I had ever saw in the distance, that walk that cadence, that shape, then I could see her face and I was mesmerized, and my face drawing into a smile, she did likewise and we held this feature while passing, then suddenly, her angelic voice speaks and says, *Airman, aren’t you going to salute me?” I turned and in that moment getting a better look at her, noticed, the Captains bars and saluted and stammered. “Apologies Mam!” She returns my salute and pivoted away, leaving me with my hand up among other things and a warm feeling. It was Alaska after all. I later recounted this to my shop and they all fell on the floor laughing, and much like this post, everyone starts telling their greatest non-salutes, this was in 1990.

    1. Alan Taber    

      Nowhere near as funny, but as a Navy recruit in 1964, I was doing basic at Great Lakes Naval training center in December; brutally cold, WIND, ice on everything – trees, roads and a foot thick on the sidewalks. We had no cold weather gear, just our work blues, white hat and pea coat. I was going somewhere, head down buried in my pea coat when I realized I had passed somebody – who turned out to be a female officer with an attitude. She called me out, reamed me out and put me down for 20. After several attempts on a very uneven solid ice surface she said “You’re hopeless, get up!” I got up saluted and we went our separate ways. Henceforth, when transversing the same conditions, I would count to 30 and salute the sidewalk. A Taber, et5

  59. Jay Rose    

    This is a pretty good U.S. Navy story that occurred onboard the USS George Washington (CVN 73) circa 1997-1998 during Operation Southern Watch subsequent to our “med cruise” being brought to a sudden halt as we were rerouted to the Persian Gulf to deal with more of the “best of” the follies of Saddam Hussein.

    I was a lowly Electricians Mate 3rd Class (E-4) at the time, and was accompanied by another E-4 to the coveted area of the Battle Group Commander (a Rear Admiral ‘Lower Half’ or O-7 for those unfamiliar with the different and somewhat confusing ranks of the naval services) as we were summoned to assist with an “urgent” issue. The area is on the 03 Deck which is the topmost deck on an aircraft carrier just below the flight deck, and there are many other ‘important’ areas on the particular level, including the Skipper’s Quarters, the Combat Information Center (CIC), and the like, however this ”flag” area has blue drapes with a gold star embroidered on it just as one would enter to warn you just how important this particular area is.

    Before departing to the “flag” area, we were warned by engineering central to be on the lookout as the place is swarming with top brass, and during a very tense time on our deployment. I don’t remember the particulars as it was a very long time ago now, but do remember that I was carrying a stack of technical manuals. So, as we are approaching the “flag” area, we are talking, and not thinking much of it yet as we still had a little ways to go. An aircraft carrier is quite large.

    The story gets interesting as we are about to take a turn into another corridor, and B-O-O-M, I walk right into a “Chief”, oh, wait a minute, I looked up as I scrambled to pick up my load of binders and see one very shiny silver star on the collar of the “chief”, and oddly, but almost instinctively blurt out the words “oh, shit, it’s the admiral” while in a combined state of shame, fear, and embarrassment. The admiral lost his balance as we struck pretty hard, and he also dropped whatever he was holding. Now, I was about to apologize to the man, but before I could utter a single word, the admiral smiled, looked at us, and said “oh, shit, it’s a couple of petty officers”. Now my mind is really blown.

    The admiral insists on helping us pickup whatever we dropped, and started to ask us about our day as we collected ourselves. He went on to ask us if we had any recommendations about the command, and that he’s always willing to listen, and thought that it’s a great opportunity to do so. Even though it’s a tense state at that particular juncture in our deployment, and he is literally the most important person onboard any of the 11 or so warships within a couple hundred nautical miles or so, he took the time to chat us up, treat us with respect, and make a point of the fact that simple accidents do happen, at least it was nothing major! Wow! This officer was a real class-act that impacted the rest of my naval career in such a positive way. I went on to see many different types of leadership styles, some very poor, but from ranks much lower than the Battle Group Commander. This “accident” turned into one of the best lessons in leadership that I ever had the privilege to learn.

    My naval career was shorter than I anticipated as I found out that I have a very rare genetic condition that affects about 1 in every 5,000 or so people. This condition still causes my joints to become very loose, and I sprain, strain, and injure myself all too often as a result, oh, yeah, with the occasional broken bone. I decided to ‘make the best of it’ and went on to study at Oxford University, graduating with distinction, and then used my GI Bill to take some masters classes in business. Before my body became “totally disabled”, I had risen to the ranks of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a global manufacturing company, and used some of these very same lessons to be a good listener and very “hands on” just as the admiral showed me the way over 20 years prior.

    To wrap-up the telling of what happened that day, we ended up completing the necessary “urgent” equipment repairs that we were called up for. It was actually something very minor, but when the flag staff calls down with a request, somebody “makes it happen” very quickly. When we got back down to engineering, many decks below, our Lead Petty Officer (LPO) asked if we had a routine visit, and “if we bumped into the admiral”…

    If he only knew!

  60. James L. Matheny    

    As a newby rite out of mp school in 84, assigned to 24 infantry div, I was given post as guard for building one, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf commanding, as a pvt2. You had to be 6 ft or taller to stand this duty, as direct by the general. Spit shined and starched to a T, me and my fav patrole partner, took our positions on each side of the front door of building one. Nervously awaiting the generals chopper, reminding myself of all the last min instructs from my Ssg, focused on being a statue at parade rest. As the generals chopper settled on the pad, we snapped to attention, locking up so tite, couldn’t get a needle in my ass with a jack hammer. My first experience any where near a high ranking officer, and I am awestruck. My partner gives command to sallute as norm approaches, my brain tells my arm to move, but my arm is frozen, no movement, not a twitch. My partner sallutes norm, as I stand frozen in place. He glanced at me as he enters the building, and says something over his shoulder to an aide. A short while later, I am relieved by my Ssg, who chewed my ass all over Ft Stewart. It was darndest thing, I had lock up so tite I could not move, needless to say, I didn’t get that post again,lmfao!

  61. Jim Himes    

    Wow, lots of great stories. Here’s mine:
    My first assignment out of Tech School was Nellis Air Force Base. While stationed there I joined the local police department as a reserve police officer as well as the Sheriff’s Jeep Posey (a volunteer search and rescue team). I drove a new White Ford Bronco with big blue stripes on the sides and RESCUE on the side and back windows. Nellis AFB has a second gate that leads to an Annex area and I used that gate a lot. Every time I came in through that gate I received a snappy salute from the guard. At first this was amusing, since I was an E-4 at the time. But it almost got me in trouble once when I had the OIC (a 20-year Major) and NCOIC (an E-7 MSgt) in my car at the time and sure enough I got saluted. The Major turned to me and asked why I was getting saluted since there was no way the guard saw his rank; the MSgt spoke up and said “He gets saluted every time he comes through the gate.” I tried to explain I didn’t know why when the MSgt says “They think the bronco is a staff car and our young Sargent here is the permanent driver.” Of course, the truth was “When in doubt – Salute” was taken very seriously by the guards, as they had been chewed out too many times for occasionally missing a salute.

  62. Ray Nelson    

    In 1975, while I was in the Marine Corps., I was going through Embassy Duty School, I was tasked to fill in for “Driver Duty”, not knowing whom I was to be driving for. After picking up the sedan for my duties I was informed it would be the Commandant of the Marine Corps, “HOLY S***!!!”. Boy was I nervous. I drove to his residence in DC and picked him and his aide up, not sweat there. Then my troubles began. Then drove to Henderson Hall (USMC Headquarters) and got out. Walked around to his door and opened it. Being right handed and not thinking I saluted him with my LEFT hand. Of course be a well trained Marine I didn’t switch my hands and just held position. My passengers exited the sedan without saying a word and went inside. I did my duties without error the rest of the day and turned my sedan in, thinking no wonder noticed. Until I got back to my billeting and was informed to report to the 1st/SGT. Which I did and found him and the Commandant’s Aide in his office. And for 15 minutes I felt lower than than an ant’s butt.

  63. Melvin C Mosely    

    In boot camp I just left the mess hall and saw two officer approaching, not sure what to do, I saluted with both hands. Didn’t know you only needed one hand.

  64. Michael Bowen    

    A1C and stationed at Kelly AFB, TX – AF EW Center, My office was down the hall from the Joint EW Center, so we occasionally saw other services. However, zero clue did I have as to what our sister service officer uniforms looked like. One afternoon, while walking from Ardisana Hall back toward my barracks I spotted a Naval person in khaki uniform. Cluelessly, I struggled to identify what the heck he was – there were gold things on his collar, sure, but enlisted or officer, I was not certain. About five steps before we met, he said, “it’s okay, son. You can salute. I’m an officer.” So, I snapped him a good one and moved on.

    Of course, now I have more time as a DONCIV (18y) than I did as a Airman/Sergeant (6y); occasionally I have to square away a young MC or MSC officer who forgets that they’re actually in the military.

  65. Kevin J. Thomson II    

    Back around 2003 during a six month deployment in the Navy while attached to World Famous VF-11 Red Rippers, we were having awards quarters about 2/3 through the deployment in the hangar bay of the carrier. As our C.O. approached me and I snapped a salute he pinned a medal on me and said “congratulations petty officer.” Then as he took a small step back and we saluted each other he whispered “So..your wife wrote me a letter” The CMDR then quickly side stepped and saluted the next sailor for awards before I could respond. I could see the smirk on his face as he tried not to laugh pinning the next sailor.

    All the usual thoughts went through my head. But if it was a ‘Dear John’ letter to get rid of me why would she send it to him unless she was trying to ruin my career? A few days went by without sight of our skipper and finally I caught him on the roof suited up for flight-ops. “SIR!, What was the letter about that my wife sent you?” He laughed and replied “Oh, I thought I told you , she just wanted to say how much of a good job she thought I was doing out here!”

    What a relief that was…We will be married 20yrs in just a few days.

  66. Ira Hoffman    

    First of 3 stories: 1966, Basic Training Fort Dix. I had injured my right leg, and was in a cast. It was pay day and we were paid back then in cash. Each G.I. would report to the officer, salute, then say something (maybe “reporting for pay”??). Since I had crutches, with the left crutch holding me up, I raised the right crutch, moved it left to right, and reported for pay. The officer said: Hoffman, you don’t have to do that. I Don’t remember if anybody else thought that this was funny.

  67. J B Henson, Jr    

    In mid 1968 a buddy and I had come in from the field and were spending the day at Tan Son Nhut airbase and PX before heading back to our base camp. As the son of a career Marine Officer, I knew rank and to salute all officers (when appropriate). As two Air Force Officers came our way I honestly had a bug hit one eye just as they approached, the timing keeping me from saluting as my buddy did. The 1st Lt snapped at me asking ” Soldier, don’t you salute when your buddy does?” I threw up a sharp salute and loudly said “NO SIR!” The Lt said alright then and turned abruptly to leave. I had meant to say Yes Sir. I often wondered as they walked off if the Major with the Lt had heard what I said?

  68. Robert Simonelli    

    Marines I was called into the Majors office and with him was the Marine Bull Dog and had to salute both the major and the bull dog

    1. Samuel James Mullins    

      Marines do not salute indoors nor wear a cover indoors.

      1. Jay Rose    

        Absolutely, 100%, Correct!

        A few years ago, there was a Marine Veteran who refused to take off his ball cap for his driver license photo. He ended up taking it to court, in California if memory serves me correctly, and told the judge “once a Marine, always a Marine, and the Marines are my religion, so if people of other religions get to wear their head covering in their photo because of religious preference, so should I!”

        As far as being a Marine, or a vet in general for life, yup, check, I 100% agree.

        Regarding the Marines wearing their cover indoors, other than while standing watch. Um, what are those words that I am looking for again, oh, yes, “ain’t happening!”

        So, it sounds like the judge either did not serve, or at least didn’t serve in the Navy or Marines where we never wear our cover indoors (or salute) except for a handful of exceptions.

        If I were the judge (read: I’m not even a lawyer) I would have chewed him out for wasting my time with a superfluous argument, fined him for contempt of court, maybe even threw in a fine for perjury since he testified that he had an obligation, religious or otherwise, secondary to being a Marine Veteran to wear his ball cap indoors for an official photograph that is also only allowed for a handful of rare exceptions.

        Frankly, this was a case of very poor judgement, and an embarrassment to the Corps. It doesn’t take a lot for someone to shed some bad light on us, so I once heard a relevant phrase that really blew me away, I will pass on this bit of wisdom:

        “Assumption is the mother of all f*** ups.”

        Thanks for pointing this fact out, I hope you enjoyed my reply!

  69. Ronnie D Jackson    

    It was during Tech school at Amarillo Texas in 1965 , I was walking down the side walk heading to the BX when I met a Full bird walking toward me I had a cigarette in my right hand when I saluted him I still had the CIG. in my right hand ,I was told in a very nasty way to never salute an officer that way.

  70. Thomas J. Hoover    

    I was an airman basic at Lackland Air Force Base and at the Medical clinic I was standing just inside the Entry doors when a full Bird col. Physician walked in. I snapped to and popped the salute I had been practicing Daily for the Last month. He stopped and looked at me in wonder. He finally said, “Son , that is the finest salute I’ve seen in decades, but you are inside and you don’t have to salute inside.” I’ve been a Dr myself for most of my life and I can’t imagine being in the position I put that guy in.

  71. Vince Wilding    

    A gang of us had just finished a GMT session on the subject of Saluting, where we had seen a film about when a salute is necessary, and when it was not. One of the situations where it is not required (according to the GMT film) was when you are on one side of a street, and the O is on the other side of the street. We were discussing this as a USMC ButterBar passed ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET, he saluted US, and yelled out “Good Morning, SAILORS!”. We then used the final checkpoint from the film: “When in doubt, salute!”

  72. James D Edwards    

    2007 Samarra Iraq FOB Brassfield Mora . I Spc Edwards was headed to force protection detail along with Spc Greenhill walking with a purpose to not be late dusk was setting in and insignia cannot be seen on the new ACU’s we were approached by none other than CSM Dunckleburg (THE KERGAN) standing about 6 foot 9 inches of ass kicking 82 Airborne Ranger. We stepped to the side and gave the greeting. As I looked at Greenhill he was SALUTING WITH HIS LEFT HAND! Lock up tighter than and MRE bag. CSM looked at me and said with all he had CAN YOU FIX THIS? Shaking in my boots I said yes CSM DUNCKELBURG! As we carried on I looked at Greenhill and said ARE YOU F@&$ing STUPID and we went on to the tower.

  73. Robert A. Lewis, sr    

    I was a young airman and I was about to enter the HQ building. As I approached the building, an young individual, in a aircrew uniform was on the way out the building. As I approached saluting range, I began to prepare myself for the best salute ever. Our eyes met and I rendered the best salute ever. I felt good, but I could tell that the recipient of my salute felt very awkward. I was puzzled. This is when I realized that I had just saluted an lower ranking airman and not a commissioned officer. Aircrew members usually wear flight suits and I assumed that if you had a flight suit on, you were an officer.
    Moral of the story. If in doubt, salute.

  74. Popeye    

    As we all know, the junior is supposed to initiate the salute and hold it until the senior returns the salute. I was the Honor Recruit in my Boot Camp Company. As such I had the go receive an award during the Pass-in-Review ceremony. There were 5 people I needed to salute. It was simple. Salute, have it returned, drop salute, side step one large step, salute, have it returned, drop salute, and repeat until after the 5th person. Then march back to my company and fall back in ranks. The Reviewing Officer was a 2 Star Rear Admiral and our Commanding Officer was a Navy Captain. The Reviewing Officer salute went off without a hitch, but the one with the CO, not so much. I saluted, He delayed returning the salute while he sort of inspected me, then he saluted me back but unlike the Rear Admiral, he held his salute for a bit longer. I dropped my salute while he was still saluting me and the look on his face made me instantly realize I needed to resolute him. I raised my arm to salute him again and he started to drop his arm. Then with me now saluting him, he needed to salute me again, and I thought I should drop mine since he was no longer saluting. Both our arms reversed directions and he ended up saluting me while I was standing at attention. I tried to raise my arm again but he dropped his salute and just said, “Carry On”. That was the longest 5 seconds of my life.

  75. Rick Mansfield    

    I finished basic training in the spring of 1975. I went to Aberdean Proving Grounds for AIT. Shortly after arriving I was approaching a female officer. I snapped a salute and said good morning sir. She promptly put me to attention and ask why I called her sir. I quickly replied ,I was taught to call officers sir in boot camp. She then educated me on calling female officers ma’am.

    1. Daniel Murphy    

      Sir, is probably appropriate for most female officers.

  76. Wesley Heckman    

    In 1984 I was a Marine LCpl on a CSSD to Pohang Korea, we were building Camp Mujuk, Occasionally we would have to drive the the nearest Army base for parts or supplies. We were in a an old M-151 Jeep with no doors. In the passengers seat we would always lean back and place our right foot up in the door way. We never knew why but for some reason it appeared as this foot in the door was a signal to the Army that you were an Officer, so we took turns driving around the whole base getting saluted by Army guys.

  77. stanley b shack    

    I was court martial for disobeying and Illegal order? Not funny to me but may be funny to other us army veterans..

  78. Barry Bardone    

    While attending Air Police school at Lackland AFB, Texas, in 1965, we were informed of a surprise inspection coming one night. We were billeted four to a room and ready for inspection. After one knock on the door, it swung open. I was standing behind it. A major and others entered the room. I stepped from behind the door and shouted “Attention” as I saluted. The startled major drew back from me and his head struck a metal bar of a bunk bed cocking his hat to one side, and he saluted back. With all the dignity he could muster, he tried to regain his composure and said “As you were” and promptly retreated into the hall. He never inspected the room nor saw the smile on the Sargent’s face accompanying him.
    Barry Bardone, USAF ’65-’69

  79. David McKeown    

    While doing Basic Training at Ft Bliss TX in 1984, two of us private were assigned to tidy the main Bn HQ. there were officers everywhere. We were told that on seeing an officer we were to snap out a salute and proclaim the greeting of the day, “Fit to Fight”.
    I had to rake a whiz and while I was using the urinal a full bird colonel came in. “Fit to fight!” I shouted. The colonel quickly said “No need to salute, private. You’ve got a dick in your hand”.

  80. James Leon Sanders    

    I was at the airport in Mobile Alabama in my dress blues with two stripes back in the 1960’s. I walked outside for a minute and there coming up the steps was a full bird colonel and a general. I popped them a salute and they both returned it and I was on my way. Scared the crap out of me.

  81. Richard Braun    

    Phone rang in the office I answered it, Airman Braun, may I help you Sir, the answer I received back is this is Spiro Agnew VP of the United States, I placed my hand over the mouth piece of the phone, looked at the 1st Lt. and said Sir I not kidding the VP wishes to speak to you, he snapped to attention sitting in his office chair and stayed that way the whole time he spoke to the VP. It was all I could do to not split a gut laughing at him.

  82. RAYMOND ZADER FRALEY    

    WHILE SERVING IN VIETNAM, 01/69-09/70, WE WERE INSTRUCTED TO NOT SALUTE OFFICERS OF AN RANK, AND A SIMPLE NOD OF THE HEAD WAS SUFFICIENT IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE LIFE OF THE OFFICER WHO WOULD BECOME AN INSTANT TARGET OF AN ENEMY THAT MAY POSSIBLY BE WATCHING. ASS I WAS EXITING VIETNAM, I LEFT KONTUM IN CENTRAL HIGHLANDS HEADED TO BIN HOA TO VISIT MY OLDER BROTHER WHO WAS CAREER ARMY AND SUPPLY SSGT. FOR A CHOPPER UNIT ASSIGNED THERE, I FORGET WHERE I WAS GOING, PROBABLY THE PX AT BASE HE WAS AT, ALL OFFICERS HAD BLACK RANK ON THEIR COLLARS THEN, I WAS A SPEC. 4, A LT. WAS APPROACHING ME SO I GAVE THE HEAD NOD, WAS INSTANTLY VERBALLY SET UPON BY THE LT. CHEWED ME UP ONE SIDE DOWN THE OTHER FOR NOT SALUTE HIM, I THEN REALIZED HE WAS NEW IN COUNTRY HAD NOT HEARD OF THE HEAD NOD INSTEAD OF SALUTE OR HAD FORGOTTEN IT,, BUT LUCKILY A OLDER SSGT. WAS GOING PAST AND SAW THE COMMOTION AND STEPPED IN, HE GAVE THE YOUNG LT. A LESSON ON HOW TO RESPECT HIS UNDERLING’S AND INFORMED HIM OF THE HEAD NOD PRACTICE, THIS IN TURN PUT THE YOUNG LT. IN A POSITION OF RETHINKING WHAT HE HAD JUST DONE, HE SUDDENLY TURNED TO ME AND GAVE ME THE BIGGEST APOLOGY I EVER GOT IN LIFE FROM ANYONE, WE THEN WALKED TO A MESS NEAR BY SAT AND CHATTED A BIT OVER COFFEE ABOUT FAMILY AND LIFE IN GENERAL, HE GAVE ME HIS HOME CONTACT INFO. WHICH I SOON MISPLACED, I GAVE HIM MINE, CAN’T EVEN RECALL HIS NAME, WE NEVER RE-CONNECTED IN LIFE AFTER THE INCIDENT, I GUESS HE LIKELY MISPLACED MY STATE SIDE CONTACT ALSO. BUT I THINK HE WAS FROM SOME PLACE IN IDAHO OR IOWA, THE STATE NAME DID START WITH AN I, I HAD A YEAR TO SERVE, DID IT AT FT. CARSON CO. WHERE AFTER A COUPLE MONTHS I BECAME MEMBER OF 4TH INF. DIV. WHICH MY FIRST UNIT IN VIETNAM WAS ATTACHED TO FOR COMMUNICATION SUPPORT.

    1. Timothy Board    

      I was assigned to the Pentagon in 1973 as Enlisted Aide to Admiral Zumwalt, Chief of Naval Operations. I made a phone call to the USS Constitution and stated that I was Petty Officer Board calling from Admiral Zumwalt’s office. The sailor who answered responded “Yeah right and I’m the President of the United States” and hung up on me. I told my Senior Chief and he called back and demanded to speak to the Officer of the Deck. He read him the riot act and indoctrinated him in proper military phone etiquette. The next time I called the the USS Constitution the sailor answered with “Good afternoon, USS Constitution, Petty Officer (XXX), how may I assist you sir!” I imagine they still answer the phone with proper military etiquette to this day! Maybe I should call and see.

  83. Richard A Koerner    

    One day when I was stationed at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, I was going to the Base Exchange. On the way from the parking lot to the building, I passed a Major, nodded and said good morning Major. Of course, the Major just about went nuts. He bellowed, “Staff Sergeant, Where is my salute”? I calmly replied to him, “I’m sorry Major, but you’re out of uniform, you’re not covered”. He reached up and realizing that he had forgotten his cover in the Exchange, apologized. I told him I was just making a point that we are not infallible and snapped him a salute. He returned it and we had a little laugh about it.

  84. Tim Whiteside    

    I had just been told by my doctor at the V.A. clinic in Stockton, California that they were going cut my pain medications by half. After quoting the oath that doctor’s supposedly are to practice by, ( Do no harm, etc ) I couldn’t help but flip the old “One finger salute” to the whole V.A. medical system. What a wonderful day that was!! Plus, it all happened via phone two days before Christmas. Thanks for such a great holiday gift V.A. I sure do love the “Blanket Policy” on prescription medications that are opiods! I’m praying that my fellow Veterans dealing with chronic pain can live with this obviously piss poor decision!

    1. JAmes Flack    

      Same thing here, now I am in constant pain from service connected disabilities. My pain Dr. at the Marion clinic does not care about the veterans and is rude and very condescending towards all veterans

    2. Lyman Jordan    

      Opioids are POISON. There are good alternatives.

  85. Bill Adams    

    While attending a school at FCTCLANT Damneck VA, my class (about 12 enlisted, all newly minted pushbutton E-4s) consistently met a number of young Ensigns along a sidewalk headed to their evening class in the building we were leaving.

    Of course we got the idea to string out, so they had to wear their arms out saluting us.

    About the third day of this, the ensigns had obviously figured out what we were doing. As the first ensign met the first enlisted in line, The ensign stopped did a sharp left face and saluted as we all passed, One after the other the rest of them did the same. This left us walking along holding a salute.

    Next day, as the first pair met, my classmates and I did the same to them, stop, right face , salute.

    We were all, ensign and enlisted, laughing or smiling as this went on.

    Sadly that was Friday, must have been their final day of whatever, we never saw them again.

    1. MICHELLE D CAVAZOS    

      I too suffer from chronic pain but maybe another way of looking at it would be they’re trying to do no harm by ensuring you don’t become another heartbreaking statistic in this opioid epidemic. Without divulging my personal medical history, I am sympathetic to your plight. As a retired USAF Pharmacy Technician, there are lots of options. Can you change your provider? Best of luck to you!

  86. Ken Vandevoort    

    I returned to the Air Force Reserve after leaving active duty 13 years earlier. This required going to tech school at Goodfellow AFB, TX. On the way back to class one afternoon, I heard “Sgt., don’t you salute officers?”. I turned around and realized I had walked by a Major. I saluted, apologized, and told him that I had returned to the Air Force after a 13 year absence and had never seen an officer with subdued insignia. He started laughing, put his hand on my shoulder and visited with me as we walked down the sidewalk.

    A couple of years later, I did a 75 day tdy at ESC HQ in the Protocol Office. Since we had a lot of Colonels in and out of the office, our instructions were to only stand for the Chief of Staff or we would never get any work done.

  87. Tom Veatch    

    Amusing, perhaps and a little embarrassing, certainly.

    In the early ’60s, It was fairly easy to identify officers in the USMC from a goodly distance when the uniform called for the tropical worsted shirt. Enlisted personnel wore a bronze EGA (Eagle, Globe, and Anchor) on both collar points in place of an officer’s rank insignia. If a quick glance at the oncoming figure with no chevrons on his sleeve noted that dark brown spot on the collar then you knew he was a private and there would be no salutes exchanged. The gold insignia of a 2nd LT was easily overlooked against the color of the tropical shirt under some lighting conditions making that spot of black on the collar very useful information. “Butter bar” lieutenants can be very jealous of their right to be rendered a salute by the enlisted ranks.

    I trust that I was not alone in offering a brisk salute to a few surprised private E-1’s during the first few days after the Corps removed the EGA from the collar of the enlisted uniform.

  88. Jim Savarino    

    I was a brand new Lance Corporal at the Naval Technical Training Center in Millington, TN. It was winter, I was wearing a field jacket. I was approaching a sidewalk when a Seaman walked past a Navy Captain without saluting.
    I said to the Seaman, “Sailor, don’t you salute officers?”
    Both of them turned and saluted me. I saluted immediately and kept walking, wondering what just happened…

  89. Richard Faw    

    I was walking into the Kleber Casern (FRG) compound on my way to the bowling ally. Just on the outside of the fence line and the gates was a huge oak tree. It made lots of shade and this young soldier comes walking out of the compound and I looked at him as we passed and said, “good afternoon bud”. About a pace and a half latter I hear, HEY soldier. As I turn he is pointing at his collar, now clearly seen as a WO1 subdued bar. I say “sorry Chief, I didn’t see your bar” and salute. He asks, “didn’t they tell you when in doubt, salute”? At which point I tell him, “Chief there was no doubt in my mind that you were a private”. I saluted smartly again, did an about face, and walked on.

  90. L. M. Washington    

    In 1985 during basic training at Fort Jackson SC Tank Hill. As I was walking down the red dirt road heading toward the mess hall for KP duty, I noticed Captain Schultz heading toward my way. So when we reach the appropriate distance I saluted and said good morning Captain Schultz, as I dropped my salute I realized I saluted with my left hand hopefully he didn’t notice. Captain Schultz looked at me with a smirk on his face holding back the laughter and said “Private Washington what did you just do”? and of course I said nothing, he smiled and said drop and give me 10 and as I started counting 1 Captain Schultz he walked away. So by the time he made it in the front door of the mess hall I was entering the rear door.

  91. David Fehlinger    

    I was working a clean-up detail at my first base because our jobs had been taken over by civilian contractors. I hadn’t been in the Air Force very long and a short chubby officer walked by me while I was picking up cigarette butts. He stopped to see if I would salute and once I zeroed in on his star, I did just that. I thought to myself, ” I hope all Generals weren’t that fat “. Must have been a reservist…..lol

  92. Timothy E. Copeland    

    I was in Tech School at Chanute, AFB ILL. school when the Thunderbirds had a show. I hadn’t been assigned my class date so I was used as a “traffic cop”. I was holding up traffic with my right hand as a Cpt. walked by. It was my first salute after basic and I knew just what to do, I threw up the best Left Handed salute you ever saw. The Cpt. gave me a look as if something was not quite right and turned and walked away. When I let the traffic from my right pass, a Full Bird Col. rolled down his window and let me know that he caught the improper salute, but noticed the worried look on my face afterwards so he said that he did not need to correct me on the proper “Right Hand Salute”. He smiled and said what a good job I was doing as a “traffic cop”! Every salute I rendered after that, thousands, I recalled that one improper salute.

  93. J. Nixon    

    During basic training at Fort Sam Houston in 1969, the company commander “volunteered” me to play basketball with them on Saturday afternoon. Without gym shoes, I had to play in my stocking feet and ended up badly spraining my left ankle. I held it under cold water while everyone else finished their game. Then, with my combat boot strapped on tight, I hopped out of the gym with the group fully expecting to ride back to the training area with the CO. But he had plans to go to the Officer’s Club, and the NCO’s were headed to their club. So he just pointed down the street and said, “The bus stop is down about two blocks. Catch the bus back to the company area and report to the company clerk. He’ll get you some help.” And with that, they got in their cars and left. So, off I went hopping down the sidewalk. Within a few yards of the bus stop, I saw two officers approaching from the opposite direction engaged in a heated conversation. When I got up to them I simply saluted, said, “Good afternoon, sirs,” and kept on hopping. When I got to the bus stop, I looked back and they both were just standing there laughing. I saluted again and they returned my salute before going on their way. I ended up finishing the last half of basic and the first half of medic training with a cast on from my toe to my knee. During that time, I even learned how to salute while on crutches without missing a beat.

  94. Shirley    

    II served as a Woman Marine 1953-55, during the Korean War, Eisenhauer was then President. After basic training at Parris Island, I was sent to Camp Pendleton, a very spread-out base. Another WM arrived from my boot camp platoon at Camp Pendlleton at the same time as i. We were told to check in with Disbursing, which was about a mile away. Walking back to our headuqarters, the Commanding General’s car met us on the road, No one told us we must salute a General’s CAR, After we returned to our WM headquarters, we were called to the office of the W M CO and told that we could lose our stripe for not saluting the General (He had called th WM CO and told her two WMs did not salute him.) She gave us a warning and told us we could have lost our stripe (which we had possessed about two weeks). After that episode, believe me, we always salute the general.

    g

  95. Glenn Giro    

    On my last day in the Army in 1972, a buddy had driven me to Finance to do that last thing before you muster out. I had cashed in over 6-months of E-5 pay and Separate Rations I had not received since my promotion and had over $1,300 dollars in twenty dollar bills stuffed into every available pocket. As I walked from the building to my buddy’s waiting car, I passed a fairly new 2LT (only a National Defense Ribbon) and provided the customary salute. A few steps from the car, I heard that dreaded shout from behind, “SOLDIER!” I turned and said, “Sir?” He asked me, “Do you want that button, soldier?” I looked down and realized I hadn’t buttoned one of my fatigue shirt pockets after stuffing it with money. I reached down, pulled the button off my shirt, and with my thumb and forefinger, shot it towards the 2LT, saying, “Not really.” I immediately got in the waiting car and my buddy quickly put it in gear and drove away. I could only imagine the thoughts going through that 2LT’s mind as he wondered that this wasn’t how he had been told in Officers Candidate School that this was how it was supposed to go.

  96. EN2 Craig A Morrow    

    While stationed at NAS Chase Field in Beeville, TX a Shipmate and I were working in the recreation department Auto Hobby shop. We were working on an oil change and noticed two gentlemen approaching in blue uniforms that looked like USAF. Both had two stars on their shoulder boards, so we popped tall and saluted and welcomed the Generals to our shop. It turned out they were Saudi student pilots and were actually lieutenants. We felt pretty dumb, and they just laughed at us.

  97. 1 Lt Harvey Thompson    

    I’ve been out of the Army since 1969. I happen to be in the second week of a prima donna cold and not in the best of moods. I was getting ready to escape for a healing rest when I encountered this collection. Much to my delight, I can now report I’m going to bed happy. As one of your contributors wrote, humor can improve situations. Thanks too the editor and the contributors.

    1. Spooky    

      We had that problem too at Lackland AFB when I was in AFSC 30630 – waiting for the bus into San Antonio. Lackland hosted a ‘Foreign Language School’ near the K9 kennels and there were WAY too many foreign military non-coms – all dolled-up with decorations which made them LOOK like they were officers. Just to be safe we just saluted all of them.

      1. Spooky    

        We were marched to a building on Lackland to receive official notice of our tech school assignments when one of our ‘Road Guards’ ( ‘Morgan’ ) was told to “get the door”. He walked over to the door just as a Bird-Colonel was stepping out. Morgan quickly snapped to attention and threw-up his salute. Trouble was he was holding the door with his LEFT hand and his Road Guard flashlight in his RIGHT.

        You got it – smacked the battery end of the flashlight into his forehead and fell over backward! The Colonel helped him up as our TI (Tsgt Vardel) rolled HER eyes. Morgan was the same height as our TI and the first 2 weeks he couldn’t face her (nose to nose) in formation without rolling HIS eyes or smirking 😉

  98. Weasel One    

    I was assigned to the Pentagon as an E-9, had to take a trip to an Air Force base in the midwest. As required to save money, the secretary put in a request for airlift support. Wow, the request was approved. On the day of the trip, I reported to Andrews AFB and discovered there was a dedicated C-21 with my name on it. There were two other enlisted personnel on the trip with me and one of them made a window placard with my rank on it as a joke. When we arrived at our destination, the base didn’t know who was on the aircraft. They only got the word that a C-21 was inbound from the Pentagon. As the airplane taxied up to base ops, there was a welcoming party of two colonels, one major and one captain standing at attention saluting the aircraft as it stopped. When the door opened and I deplaned, I returned their salute and wish I had a picture of the look on their faces.

  99. J Holland    

    Had a handful of salute oops, but the one that sticks out was in boot camp. San Diego early 90’s
    No female recruits. We had a female officer over our division who came in to our class room to question our knowledge of our stay there. She asked what do you do when you see khaki’s and can’t tell if they are an officer or not? We all simultaneously said “when in doubt, whip it out”.
    Our company commanders who taught us that jaws dropped in complete fear.

  100. Raymond Lummus    

    In 1978 I was selected for the Marine Corps Warrant Officer program. So on February 1, 1980 my wife and I report to my CG’s office on Okinawa to be appointed. After that was done we were walking to the parking lot, wearing my bright new bars. Two young enlisted Marines salute me and I guess it didnt register and they held their salutes giving me an odd look. Finally my wife nudges me with her elbow and the light comes on so I finally returned their salutes. Talk about feeling stupid!

  101. Doug Pruner    

    Some things don’t change.
    Just now reading an old copy of Male Call, ca. 1945. This was a comic strip distributed to the various service papers on every front, as were several others. This was done by Milton Caniff, famous as a civilian for Terry and the Pirates and then Steve Canyon, both AAC/USAF oriented.
    Caniff knew his “dogfaces” and their lives.
    This one has a GI and his date coming out of a movie house into a rainstorm. His last match blows out. “Oh, phud!” (panel 1).
    (2) Sees two soldiers nearby in the dark. “Hey! Got a light, bud?” “Sure.”
    (3) The man’s lighter reveals two stars on his lapel. You can imagine the GI’s reaction.
    (4) His date, “What’s the metter? You didn’t like the picture?” “Too many stars.”

  102. William b Lewis    

    Officer got angry at me for not saluting him first before he was require to salute me back. He forgot to wear his rank insignia on his cover. I told him “I don’t see a bar”

    He latter shook my hand and and said he was sorry

  103. Robert A Long    

    I had broken time and was a 33 year old E4 in the Marines. I got saluted all the time. Never did figure it out but got used to it. I made Sgt. One day a butter bar walked past me and saluted. I returned the salute as any good Marine would and said “Thank you, I ll be in the area all day.” When he realized his mistake, he couldn’t figure out what to say. His final answer was “don’t tell anyone.” I went right back to the office and told everyone including the CO.

    A few days later he and I were walking somewhere, he was in pt gear and I was in uniform. I got saluted again, I told the Sir “see it happened again.” He called the kid over and asked him how he knew he was an officer. The answer was classic. “I didn’t sir, I was saluting him ( me the Sgt.). I see now he is a Sgt. My mistake.”

    I never let him live that down.

  104. Joseph Michael Rodriguez    

    In 1978 I was a Marine Corps Gunny ( Gunnery Sergeant) teaching broadcast journalism at the DOD, Defense Information School at the now closed Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, Indiana. It was one of many schools at Fort Harrison with enlisted and officer staff of all US Military Branches with students both enlisted and commissioned from not only the USA but many foreign countries as well. One day I was walking to the all ranks mess hall with my future wife, a Lt. in the US Navy ( O-3 in the Navy) visiting on a 96. ( yes I know UCMJ fraternization) A young junior enlisted US Air Force student started to pass us in the opposite direction without saluting the Lt. I stopped him asking him why he did not salute an officer. He stated that he did not know that the Gold bands on the wrist of her coat sleeve were rank insignia and did not notice the insignia on the collar. He quickly saluted and apologized for not saluting the “Major”, confusing her Nurse Corps staff insignia on the left collar point for a gold Major’s leaf. I told him that she was not a Major. He then noticed her double silver bars grade insignia on the right collar point and apologized again for not saluting the “Captain.” I told him she was not a Captain but a Lieutenant. He apologized again, saluted again with a totally confused look on his face as we both told him to carry on.

  105. James David Lanier    

    Went through basic training at Fort Polk,La in 1975. One of the trainees forgot to salute the company commander (Cpt Mark Reno). So our platoon sgt made a set of captain bars in a document protector and nailed it to the tree outside our barracks. We had to salute that oak tree for the next sixteen weeks!

  106. Randy Kelso    

    More than half a century has gone by, and I can laugh about it now, but it wasn’t funny at the time.

    As I returned to the hangar at NAS Miramar in 1966 with about a week to go on active duty as an E-5, I walked across an open field. From the corner of my eye I got a glimpse of a man wearing an Ensign’s uniform, approaching at a 45 degree angle at a range of about fifteen yards. I maintained my course, looking straight ahead. Then I heard him shout “Sailor, you are supposed to salute officers!”

    I turned and looked at the man. I don’t know where he got the uniform but I had never in nearly 4 years of service seen any officer dressed so sloppily. His cover rested on his ears; his sleeves were so long they covered his knuckles. His trousers were so long he was walking on them with his heels. Being so short I thought about challenging him, suspecting that he was a phony (where is the Master-At-Arms when you need him?), but better judgment prevailed (I didn’t want to rock the boat this close to walking out the gate for the last time) and I saluted. He waited a few seconds, returned the salute but held it for a long time. When he finally dropped his hand I dropped mine and continued on my way. He was one of only two commissioned jerks I ever encountered (if in fact he was commissioned). The rest of our officers were superb men, IMHO, and I greatly admired them all.

  107. Brian Gray    

    I was walking to my car with a buddy and his wife. She was 9 months pregnant and ready to drop any moment. We had our arms full with groceries. She saw the Commanding General approaching us. She knew he needed to be saluted but our arms were full. So she jump in front and snapped off a salute that would have made a Drill Sargent happy. The General snapped a salute back and without even breaking stride told her to “suck in that gut and square those shoulders! We had to stop and put our groceries down we were laughing so hard.

  108. Sherry Maroni    

    In May 1973 I was a new Navy Ensign at the Officers Indoctrination School at Newport Rhode Island. Since we had to wait for our ordered uniforms to arrive, we had been practicing our saluting in our civilian clothes – No covers. The uniforms finally arrived and since it was summer, I wore the Summer Service Dress Blues – Light blue skirt and blouse with matching cover piece. As I was walking from point A to point B, I was approached by an enlisted man. He gave a “sort of relaxed” salute which I returned only my hand went up under my cover to my forehead instead of to the cover’s brim. My cover flew off my had and landed on the ground behind me. We looked at each other for a split second and I said to him, “That’s okay just go on.” I have no idea what my facial expression was but he must have seen how embarrassed I was. He dropped his salute, bent over and picked up my cover, brushing off any minuscule debris that might have been on it and handed it back to me. As I said, “Thank you.” he gave me a very proper salute, holding it until I had returned my cover to its proper place and again returned his salute, this time correctly at the cover brim. He said, No problem, ma’m. Glad to be of service.”

  109. Christopher Cushman    

    While stationed over in Boblingen-Stuttgart Germany (US ARMY). An E-3 and myself also an E-3, was on maintenance detail. We were transporting a trashcan across the quad. While 3 officers approached us, I have the trashcan handle in my right hand and saluted with the left. Neither officer noticed what happened, but we did as we looked at each other and doubled timed across the quad in a flash.

    I will never forget that moment.

  110. Steve Hericks    

    Wildflecken, GE In DEC 1992. I was a company commander (captain). I had an appointment at the base headquarters but misplaced my cap somewhere in my headquarters. I was going to be late if I spent time looking for it. I decided if I sprinted from door to car then it unlikely I would encounter a superior officer….my office to car, it worked, car to post hq it worked….as I was leaving the post hq I got surprised by a LTC who came around the corner just as I made my sprint. I slowed to a walk and saluted….I didn’t know it then but I had just met my new battalion commander.

  111. Christopher Cushman    

    While stationed in Boblingen-Stuttgart Germany (US ARMY), an E-3 and myself also E-3 was on maintenance detail. While transporting a garbage can across the quad. 3 officers approached and me having the garbage can in my right hand saluted with my left and keep walking, neither officer was aware at the time. We both looked at each other and doubled timed it across that huge quad quickly.

  112. Christopher Cushman    

    While stationed in Boblingen-Stuttgart Germany (US ARMY), an E-3 and myself also E-3 was on maintenance detail. While transporting a garbage can across the quad. 3 officers approached and me having the garbage can in my right hand saluted with my left and keep walking, neither officer was aware at the time. We both looked at each other and doubled timed it across that huge quad quickly.

  113. Gary Burger    

    Had a female in my companywho could tell the difference between a Navy chief insignia and an officer’s insignia. Since saluting a chief would result in an a$$ chewing she said she would watch me and salute if I did. I would start as if to salute and then run my hand through my hair. She would continue to salute. Eventually I took pity on her and stopped and she watched me closer before moving her arm. I think the chiefs figured out my game and stopped haraassing her.

  114. Christopher Cushman    

    While stationed in Boblingen-Stuttgart Germany (US ARMY), an E-3 and myself also E-3 was on maintenance detail. While transporting a garbage can across the quad. 3 officers approached and me having the garbage can in my right hand saluted with my left and keep walking, neither officer was aware at the time. We both looked at each other and doubled timed it across that huge quad quickly.

  115. Juan Jimenez Sgt USMC    

    I was in Staging Battalion in Camp Pendleton in 1969. I kind of like on purpose didn’t salute a female second Lieutenant. Well she wrote me up and we went to see the Battaion CO. After dressing me down, the First Sgt. took me aside and said not to worry about it. You are on your way to Vietnam next week, not her. So I didn’t worry

    1. JL E    

      Your attitude is typical of the disrespect that females must deal with on an every day basis in all branches of the military. You must be very proud of yourself. How very professional.

  116. Brendan Samuels    

    It was morning after PT on Ft. Sill. My buddies went into the Block House DFAC to grab some food quick. I stayed outside as I was wore out and wanted to have a smoke. Was not paying attention at all; just kicking around rocks in the lot. When I see an officer out of the corner of my eye. Coming out of nowhere. As I was tired I did not even think and went to salute…with the cigarette in my right hand. The officer smirked and saluted back as he walked by. Was relieved he was cool about it and could just laugh.

  117. Jeff Metheny    

    I think that I was in my 2nd week of basic training at Ft. Jackson in 1986. I do not think that I had even seen an officer before this event. We were to draw our first pay. A pay officer (1LT, I think) had set up a little table and we were to go up and report. I was a little more than nervous. When it was my turn I approached and rendered a text book salute. The problem was that my bottom half was at a text book perfect parade rest. He just looked at me and started shaking his head. At that time I realized my error and just went to parade rest. Got my $50, said “Thank you, sir” and walked away.

  118. Thomas R. Delgado    

    I was a Lance Corporal stationed at Henderson Hall, on a Saturday morning I had to go to the Navy Annex to pick up something I left at my work section and wore a pair of jeans with a hole on my way to the auto shop. It was a few months after we got a new Commandant and word had been passed about civilian apparel being worn. I saw a gold Buick Skylark parked in the Commandant’s spot when who but General Wilson dressed in civvies walked alone out of the building, my right hand shot down to cover the hole while I spoke loudly “Good morning General Wilson,” he stopped and stared as I walked into the building and then went on his way.

  119. Scott Peck    

    Our battalion XO (a major) often initiated the exchange of salutes with subordinates, eager to connect with the troops, who considered him an idiot. Once he saluted me (a captain) with his left hand. I couldn’t ignore his blatant mistakes. I invited him to the O-Club, where we discussed the history of salute. He didn’t acknowledge I was giving him informal OPD, but his salute was squared away after that.

  120. MATTHEW L BUSHONG    

    I did time at ft Sam in tex in 96 and had the unfortunate meeting an tag major that salute with left hand, me just a E-1 and smart as a whip, I chose to tell him he was wrong, and fould out he was injured in the war, and the only one at that time that can salute left, but did get work detail for a week, but since I was a E1 what would have been the difference,,lol

  121. George Dube    

    I had the misfortune to be in the Chicago airport when the Grest Lakes Boot Camp had just graduated a class. I’ve never returned so many salutes!
    U.S. Navy Captain

  122. David    

    First liberty 1951, San Diego, 3 of us walking (Of course in step), we passed a hotel with a Doorman and one of my friends saluted him.

  123. Glenn Marshall    

    When I was in basic training in the Air Force I was told that whenever saluting an officer I should say “Good day sir” or something to that affect. I remembered that throughout my whole enlistment and when approaching an officer I snapped a crisp salute and simply said “Same to you sir” A general stopped me once and asked why I always said that to him. I told him I do that because no matter what you are thinking about me when I approach you, I get you back. The General said “Absolutely ingenious.”

  124. Glenn Marshall    

    When I was in basic training in the Air Force I was told that whenever saluting an officer I should say “Good day sir” or something to that affect. I remembered that throughout my whole enlistment and when approaching an officer I snapped a crisp salute and simply said “Same to you sir” A general stopped me once and asked why I always said that to him. I told him I do that because no matter what you are thinking about me when I approach you, I get you back. The General said “Absolutely ingenious.”

  125. P    

    I had just been promoted to Major. I entered a room and everyone in that room snapped to attention and saluted. I turned around to see who had entered the room behind me. It took me a minute or two to realize I was the officer everyone was saluting.

  126. Phil Menendez    

    I was in embassy training in Henderson Hall Va. I was walking in the compound when woman marine officer stopped by calling m. I turned around and then realized she was a captain so I stood at attention. Well needless to say she reamed me out. She if I knew what the 2 bars meant so I said yes sir and it went on and on as I kept screwing up because I was so nervous. Meanwhile the crowd got larger and larger as I kept screwing up by calling her sir. I finally said that I had no idea what I was saying as I was so nervous. She started laughing and the crown did too. She said “at ease Sargent” and I again said yes sir. She finally just said “go away and don’t cross me again. During my stay I saw her at a disco in DC and we had drinks and danced!!!

  127. Charlie Burke    

    While TDY to Keesler as a Senior NCO it was a brief period where the AF had us wearing our rank on shoulder epaulets with our blue uniforms. Being 6’4″ my rank was sometimes a challenge to see. On one occasion I was outside on break when I saw a student leader (rope) chewing on a group of students for his own amusement. As he was a bit shorter than I he misread my epaulets and snapped to attention and saluted. After I shared a few words of wisdom I informed him of my correct rank. Behind the subjects of his earlier wrath were barely containing them selves.

  128. Sherry Lee Nelson    

    I laughed hard on this one

    U.S. Coast Guard
    The best I had was turning a corner on post and nearly tackling the Post Commander (2-star). I snapped the salute about 3″ from his face and screamed, “HOLY SH%%, SIR!!” Master Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Coast Guard

  129. Stephen R. Wells    

    I was in the Navy during the 1980s. I came home on leave to Killeen Texas (Home of Fort Hood) I started having problems with my appendix so I was told to go to the ER at Darnel Army Hospital. I was also told I could only go to the ER in uniform or I would be in trouble. The only uniform I had with me was my blue jump suit (coveralls) since I was on leave. So I wore that. I was a 2nd class petty officer at the time so on my collar was a silver 2nd class pin on one side and a silver caduceus on the other. A young pfc soldier waiting outside of the ER saw me coming and had no idea what my rank insignia meant so he popped me a sharp salute. Of course I saluted him back out of curtesy. I then asked if he knew what rank I was wearing, to which he promptly answered “No Sir” ! I smiled and said I was in the Air Force and the eagle on the insignia meant colonel and the two stripes meant corporal. I then asked him if he knew what a Sargant Major was and he nodded. I then told him I was colonel corporal and that he was in a lot of trouble for not knowing the ranks of his brothers in arms. His eyes almost popped out of his head. Then I laughed and told him the truth.

    That was the funniest example of “When in doubt….. salute!” I have ever seen. It has been 36 years and thinking about that day still cracks me up. I bet he brushed up on the rank structure that same day LOL!!!! BUT!!!! The joke was on me and my appendix popped while I was in surgery that afternoon and I almost died. The moral of this story God hates jerks LOL!!!

  130. Harry S Rouse    

    At Ft. Ord, CA, the grizzled old Master Sergeant yelled at the green recruit across the road, “Private, get over here now, double time!” The recruit raced across the road, snapped rigidly to attention, saluted and replied, “Yes, sir!”.
    The Sergeant yelled back, “Boy, you don’t salute me. I work for a living.”

  131. C L Smith    

    During a log day in Vietnam, I caught the first helicopter back to battalion headquarters to get my foot treated for having stepped on a booby trap. Got medical treatment and was walking back across the helicopter pad, with a full 50 pound pack and a uniform I had worn for at least 3 weeks, to catch the last helicopter back to my unit. LTC George Patton IV had just gotten out of his shiny observation helicopter, with his two staff officers, and were walking in the opposite direction, at least 50 yards to the side. He sent one of his staff over to chase me down, so he could scream at me for not saluting. I kept going, so I wouldn’t miss my ride and if he wanted to follow me to the field, he was welcome to it.

  132. SSG Christopher Underhill (ret)    

    I was driving a duty van on Ft Meade. I got bored and started practicing my salute in the rear-view mirror. No palm showing, touching the eyebrow just right, dropped to the side correctly, etc. Then, I checked the rear-view mirror for traffic and noticed a Sailor in another duty van behind me, grinning, returning my salutes and having a ball laughing at me.

  133. Rich Adams    

    I had just completed basic at Great Lakes Naval Training Center and was flying home for leave through O’Hare. I kept seeing what I believed to be officers with gold stripes and acknowledging them with “good morning sir!” I also wondered why their uniforms were a bit shabby for naval officers. Then I saw two of them pre-boarding the airplane and realized they were civilian pilots.

  134. Dogfather    

    In Vietnam Nam in ‘71, a Lt was coming off a sortie and was running to the mail room. We used to stuff our flight caps in the lower pocket of our flight suits and that’s where his was at the time. As he slowed down to salute a passing apt the guy said, “Lt, why isn’t your cap on your head.” The fastest retort on record was, “Sir, I can’t get my head in my pocket.” Ah the old days.

  135. James    

    Shortly after starting basic training myself and two other privates were returning from doing laundry when we saw our first officer. I saluted with my left hand and I think one of the others did as well. The Lieutenant made us drop and start doing push-ups. He then went back into his office. It was several hours later when the drill sergeant finally came looking for us and told us to get back to the barracks.

  136. Daniel Ade    

    I had only just graduated from basic (USAF) training. at Lackland AFB and was stationed TDY to the base’s 3720th Drum and Bugle. While walking back to barracks on my first day of duty, a Lt. Col passed by slowly (in a car), and I was so proud that I whipped up my first post-basic, snappy salute, however, he immediately stopped and reprimanded me for using my ‘left’ hand, after all, I am left handed. Needless to say, that never happened again!

  137. Paul Henderson    

    A surgeon friend of mine reported to his first duty station without any prior military training. Immediately after arriving at his base a group of Airmen approached him, and he knew he was supposed to return the salute, so he raised his left hand and saluted. The Airmen had a good laugh, and years later, so did he.

  138. Dennis KLUGE    

    August 1970 … I had been in Germany for 18 months and clearly enjoyed the good food and awesome beer during that time. I came down on levy orders for Vietnam, so it meant flying home in dress greens. Sadly I had put on a few pounds enjoying all that Germany has to offer. My dress greens were uncomfortably snug, so when the opportunity presented itself I left the jacket unbuttoned. It was Sunday afternoon at Frankfurt and I was walking across post. I had opened the jacket up hoping not to see an Officer. But as i rounded the corner of a building, I nearly collided with a Captain – and I rapidly presented a salute. He bellared out ‘Sergeant, button your jacket and present a proper salute!’. I complied, sucking in my extra pounds, buttoned the jacket up. Stood erect and snapped out a proper salute, to which he returned … asking what was that noise? I had to explain that the back seam tore out when I raised my arm, but my jacket fit better.

  139. DAVID ALAN JONES RIDGE    

    I am a Marine and I was separated from active duty April ’69, so as I was working as a janitor for Goodwill Industries at Offut Air Base near Omaha, NE, I thought that it was comical to see how many return salutes I would receive when I saluted.
    My favorite is a one panel cartoon that when the salute was rendered, they locked elbows and they were turned round to walk back in opposite direction of their travel.

  140. keith way    

    In basic training in may 1968 i had a cold. Reaching into my back pocket with my right hand,to retrieve my handkerchief, i looked up and saw i was next to a captain. Since my right hand was in my pocket, i saluted with my left hand. The captain said he couldn’t believe it and let it slide.

  141. Morgan    

    I was in MOS school in the Marine Corps, and I was coming out of one of the training facilities. There was a SSgt who was walking towards the entrance and I saluted on accident. His chevrons were almost completely silver! Like, don’t you got black spray paint?! He saluted back very quickly in a panicky way, until he realized I was a PFC. Then he proceeded to lecture me for like 10 minutes on the importance of knowing the rank structure.

  142. Harlan W. Finch II    

    I was in Basic training in 78 at Fort. McClellan AL. I was walking on the side walk when 2 Lt’s walking from the other direction approached me. I snapped a salute. I then ran around the building so I could make contact with the same 2 Lt’s so I could snapped another great salute. My Drill instructor (Sgt. Ford) saw me and yelled at me to come to him front and center. He asked me “what the hell was I doing”? I told him I like to salute. Sgt. Ford punished me by making me stand in front of the post Headquarters building as there were hundreds of Officer’s coming in and out of the building. That night I iced my shoulder. Sgt. Ford taught me a lesson.

    1. Robert B.    

      So I’m walking through the hanger bay (ported) on the John C. Stennis CVN-74 with a CWO5. A Lt. Cdr. is walking our way. I salute as he passes and CWO5 continues talking to me. Lt. Cdr. stops as we pass, “Ahem”.. we both turn around. He says to CWO5, “Aren’t you going to salute me?” To witch the CWO5 replies, “ Comanders and above baby, Comanders and above.” And we walked away…. I always thought that was badass, as I respected any Chief Warrant Officer above all other officers.

  143. Kayyon Harley Army    

    I was in AIT on my way to the mess hall. My unit was crossing the street where a Humvee with a General rank was also passing..while crossing the street the driver started blowing the horn..I was thinking to myself why is he blowing me..I don’t know him..he kept right on blowing so I just started waving like he was a long lost friend..as soon as it dawned on me about the General rank and the driver was trying to get my attention to stop and Salute..my still Sergeant saw my foolish act and in front of everyone walking yo the mess hall told me to drop and give him 50…

  144. nancy wooten nancy53wooten@    

    I was walking toward the px and 2 butter bars(2lts)came toward.I was a new e-I-owe-yo one and had never saluted anyone without being told to. One of the lts said You have to salute us.We are officers.I said just bearly then I saluted with both hands and walked backwards and said Let me know when you have had enough.

  145. JIM B    

    IN 68 I was in macv hq in dirty fatigues and jungle boots , to pick up some important papers as I had never been in the bld I did not know what I was to do ,,… all the brace… I saluted some high ranking officers ,.. they knew from looking at me [all dirty and all ] one stopped me and said [with a smile ] don’t need to there are to many of us here you wont be able to hold even one of the papers so I said [A GOOD THANK YOU] AND LEFT

  146. Robert Horn    

    In 1964 at Fort Sam Houston I was a new captain/dentist learning the ropes. We just had learned what to do when Taps sounded. A fellow doctor and I had just finished a pitcher at the Officers Club annex after class and were walking to the PX to have supper when a bugle started blowing. We stopped and faced the flag in front of the PX, came to attention and saluted. A few seconds later a soldier tapped me on the shoulder and said: “Excuse me sir, but that’s Mess Call”.

  147. Wayne J Smith    

    In Oct. 1967 I was deployed to Vietnam after 8 weeks of Basic at Ft. Benning, Ga., and 8 weeks of AIT at Ft. Polk, La. Needless to say I did countless push-ups during those 16 weeks for “failure to salute an Officer”. After a couple of days in-country in Vietnam I was sent to my assigned unit at a base camp out in the boonies. On my way to my Platoon area I met a 2nd Louie and, upon seeing the bar on his collar, I instinctively snapped a salute. He grabbed my hand and jerked it down and told me in no uncertain terms that if I ever saluted him again out in the field he would break my f!@#$%@g arm!! He then explained that if a sniper were watching and saw me salute him then the sniper would know he was an officer and would take him out first.
    We became good friends during our Tour of Duty, and as it turned out he became the Company XO for the last couple of months there. He got me in out of the field to Long Binh headquarters for the last week or so of my time in-country.

  148. roman davis    

    A officer approached my formation, standing at ease. I snapped to attention and yelled…

    “Platoon! Attention! Half-Right Face! Present Arms.”

    The officer stopped with a condescending look and asked, “Why did you turn your platoon?”
    I said, “To keep the sun out of your eyes sir.”
    He looked up at the sun…and was blinded temporarily.

    After a moment he said, “Carry on.”

    I yelled “STAND AT…ease”

  149. Tj whipple    

    I had a Lance Corporal who worked for me and always complained about have to salute officers. The old “they are just a man like I am” thing. He would bend over or turn around and walk the other way, anything to keep from having to salute an officer.
    One day he got in trouble for it and came to me to bitch and moan and I looked at him and told him that the salute was the only time he ever got to make an officer, any officer ,stop and respond to him. It dawned on him and he changed that day. He would chase an officer down to get a salute. Saw him walk up to a couple of captains talking and threw one up and they tried to wave him off but he stood there til they both locked their heels and gave him that return salute.
    It’s all about perspective

  150. Todd M Stanford    

    As a SP4 in 7th Special Forces at Ft. Bragg I was assigned to TMC 13 and soon found myself in charge of the immunization room. HEADY STUFF! No, not really. I had to screen the HHQ records (mostly field grade officers and above) monthly then report who needed shots. Several refused to get them and insisted I was wrong, etc. It was not a fun, rewarding job to say the least. Every class for SF training got whatever shots they needed as they in processed. Often they would be lined up around the building waiting to see me as I worked my butt off screening shot records and administering what was due or overdue. In a day’s time I heard every conceivable excuse for not wanting to get a shot – “My mother caught the flu from a flu shot,” “My arm hurt for weeks last time,” ” I got all those a few weeks ago but the medic didn’t like me and lost my records,” etc. A long day of reasons (and they still got their shots). One young SM, stripped to T shirt and fatigue pants like everyone else, said, ” I have it on good authority that we shouldn’t receive more than one shot a day.” I replied, “Look turkey, my doc’s authority says you get what you need all while you’re here.” No more discussion, he got four or five different immunizations then he put his shirt back on – the one with 1LT bars. I immediately apologized and said I meant no disrespect that I had been overwhelmed with excuses why people didn’t want a shot…or two…or more. He just laughed and said no offense taken. I knew my days (and rank) were numbered but forgot the episode eventually. Being a small community, the officer and I crossed paths many times over the next several years. I would always sound off loudly with “All the way, sir!” and render a perfect salute. He would return my salute and instead of responding “Airborne” he would break into a big grin and go “Gobble, gobble.” He did very well in SF – he fit right in!

  151. William D Hileman    

    I was in tech school at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS, fresh out of basic. I was leaving the base exchange when I noticed someone walking towards me, but it did not look like a regular uniform. I did not know it at the time, because I’d never seen a flight suit before. By the time he was within 10-20 feet I realized he was an officer by the bars on his shoulder and thought “Cool, my first real salute!” and I rapidly brought my right hand up to my forehead. Unfortunately, I was holding an ice cream cone in that hand at the time. The officer got a rather big kick out of it and told me to “carry on.”

  152. Jenina Rose    

    I had left a building with my arms full of books and stuff. I see a Major heading my way so I greet him and wish him a good day.
    Major: “Sgt! You know better, you should salute me.”
    Me: “Major, if you can see, my right arm is not free. My verbal knowledgement of you should suffice. However. if you must stop me in my tracks and make late to see the CC so you can get your salute, I’ll be glad to do so. If the CC wants to know why I’m late, he’ll have your name. So, I saluted with my left arm, an walked away..
    JR
    USAF

    1. Dawn Hoffman    

      Why didn’t you carry your items in your LEFT arm that was clearly free enough to salute, them salute properly?
      I have been there. We all have. I have been out of the Army for over 10 years now and STILL keep my right hand free. Carry bags on my left shoulder. Just habit. Hard to break

    2. Jenina Rose    

      Please pay attention to what was written. I stated what I was carrying in “BOTH” of my arms. I didn’t feel I needed to go in great detail that I am right handed, which leads me to be stronger to hold everything with a short period of time to flip a salute.

      1. MICHELLE D CAVAZOS    

        You are NOT required to rearrange what you’re carrying in order to salute as long as you acknowledge the officer respectfully that’s all that is required. You followed proper etiquette. Aim High!
        My salute story didn’t happen to me directly but it was awkward nonetheless. I volunteered for a Colonel’s retirement ceremony, someone of importance. During the rehearsal he not only saluted with his LEFT hand but he followed it by doing an about face in the wrong direction. I thought to myself it must be nerves or emotion and any minute one of the two other colonels or general will say something to him but nothing. Given my role in this ceremony and the fact that I was a SNCO, I politely pulled him aside and ensured he knew what to do and how to do it correctly. He was so grateful! Can you imagine if I hadn’t been at the rehearsal?

  153. Donald Gray    

    Leaving Thailand to return home I had broken a bone in my right hand. I had a cast from my knuckles to my elbow. Walking to headquarters I passed an officer and automatically saluted. The cast almost knocked me out. The officer laughed and said don’t do that again you’ll kill yourself lol

  154. Max Toch    

    In ’68 I was in a clean jungle fatigue uniform at the 101st Airborne Div rear area near Bien Hoa. I had come in from the field a for an R&R flight to Sydney and either the flight was delayed or I arrived a few days early. I don’t recall which. With slack time, I had a beer or two and was feeling so good being off the line and being clean and dry. I then walked outside puffing on one of those narrow cool looking cigars popular at the time. I saw a LTC approaching. I snapped a quick salute with the customary “All the Way, Sir”. He stopped our eyes locked as I held my salute expecting his return salute. Instead he growled a reminder to take the cigar out of my mouth before saluting. Not being used to smoking them I forgot I was “looking cool” when I saluted. Cigar then went to left hand. Proper salute & greeting were rendered; he then returned my salute accompanied with the customary response, a gravelly voiced, “Airborne”. Then we went our separate ways never to cross paths again.
    Many of the field grade officers and senior NCOs in the 101st were Korean War vets back then. From the star on his CIB I remember him as one of them.

  155. Dan Smitth    

    As I got off a transport bus at Tan Son Nhut with training manuals under both arms, I heard “AIRMAN”
    I turned around, shuffling the manuals, to face an Air Force major in 1505″s, obviously new in country. There I stood, with US Air Force over my left pocket, two mosquito wings on each arm, and he loudly continued “Don’t you salute people in the Army!”
    I couldn’t resist, I replied “Sorry Sir, I didn’t know you were in the Army”
    Yes, I got written up, and yes, the CO threw it away when it crossed his desk

  156. Arthur Patterson    

    As an SFC LRRP in vietnam I had charges filed by a REMF Captain for failing to salute, although I did have a package in my right hand. My C O gave me the option of a court or article 15. Of course I took the article 15. Penalties, 2 weeks restriction to quarters and 2 weeks extra duty. Penalties waived since we’d just come off a two week mission.

    Then he says “there will be a fine as well.” “How much sir” I asked. “I don’t know but lets go over to the club and I’ll let you know when you’ve bought enough drinks. Being Vietnam I probably spent $30 – $40, but I did get to take part in the party.

  157. David. Shehorn    

    While still in Air Force basic training, my buddy and I were walking to the BX and two lieutenants were walking toward us. I saluted with my right hand, of course, my buddy saluted with both hands. The salutes were returned but the lieutenants were laughing at us.

    At Duluth AFB in MN, President Kennedy was walking towards the crowd of airmen to shake their hands. I was in the second row behind the rope barrier. I popped my salute and held a small camera up to my left eye to snap a photo — he returned the salute with a chuckle and I was able to take the photo and get a whisp of a handshake as I crowded forward. Strangely, I was the only airman who saluted him.

  158. Robert Paltjon    

    My Right arm and hand had been burned (first, second and third degree burn) from my upper bicep down to the top of my hand. It was wrapped in gauze.
    So, while walking down the sidewalk, here comes an officer… Not knowing exactly what to do, I proceeded to give a Perfect Salute with my left hand. He saluted back.
    After about 3 steps later, I hear this voice, so I turn around…
    It was that officer. He says; (my rank) What hand did you just salute me with? Did you just salute me with your Left hand? I replied; Yes Sir. He than told me; IF you can’t salute me with the correct hand, don’t salute me at all. I replied; Yes Sir.
    We both turned and kept going in our opposite directions…

  159. Ralph Thomas    

    I was 18 years old (looked 16), a one-striped airman, and in the Air Force stationed in the Midwest. I was working in the administrative unit of a ground electronics installation outfit. Our unit was run by a second lieutenant. One day it was raining profusely and the 2nd Lt. needed something from his car in the outside parking lot. He didn’t especially go get it and nobody else volunteered to do it either. I was the new guy, but he didn’t want to particularly ask me to do something personal for him. As an incentive, however, he said that if I went out and retrieved the object from his car, he would let me wear his raincoat, which had 2nd Lt. bars on it. I agreed. It was a pretty good walk to his car, and I marvelled as I was saluted several times on my way to and back from the car. It was an amazing experience and one that I would never have again. Some NCO’s looked at me with a jaundiced eye as they saluted, because I looked so young, but it was raining too hard and everyone was moving so fast for anyone to take any long notice. My career as an officer only lasted a few minutes, but it was an unforgettable (and hilarious) experience.

  160. Noel K. Newton    

    As I Was on the way to the mail room, two privates approached me, a new 2nd Lieutenant. One had his mail in his right hand and saluted me with his left hand. I likely would not have noted the improper salute had his buddy not.been with him and saluted properly. The triangle formed by the two salutes caught my eye and I stopped them and instructed the left handed saluter that the correct salute was with right hand.

  161. eugene e. hildebrand    

    while in boot camp RTC Orlando, FL I was on my way to the infirmary and was walking behind two Chief Petty Officers.
    As these were company commanders recruits were required to salute.
    Another recruit was walking towards us and had stopped to offer his salute. As the 2 Chiefs were about to reply a skunk walked across the path between them, one of the Chiefs yelled at the recruit to catch that pole cat.
    The recruit replied “Sir, I will salute him the same as you at a distance.”
    You just had to laugh at that response.

  162. jmac jmac    

    MCAS El Toro – first duty station – going up the side ladderwell of our hanger – Marine (who I thought was an officer) wearing leather jacket with velcro nameplate on right front of leather jacket exiting upper deck and descending down said ladderwell (covers on) – eye contact made – I pop a nice salute and then proceed to get chewed out by said Marine who as it turns out was a MasterSgt…..back then the velcro nameplate was worn on the leather flight jackets and it was hard to tell if the Marine was an officer or enlisted as it was difficult to see the insignia. I assumed an officer and rendered the proper salute. When in doubt salute right? Wrong – this guy was an absolute ass as he proceeded to cuss me up one side and down the other. I attempted to plead my reasoning for saluting to no avail. Needless to say he pissed me off and I got my first page 11 entry…..

  163. L. L. Thomas    

    U. S. ARMY

    Mine was when I reported to my post – a dispensary in Germany as the Pharmacy Technician. The 2nd day when I was arriving outside the Dispensary our Commanding Officer-a drafted Doctor was leaving the Dispensary. I saluted and he called me over and told me if I saluted him again outside he was going to issue me an Article 15. He then told me to carry on.

  164. M. Daniels    

    It was the last week of Basic training. I was doing my outprocessing and had my hands full. Walking down the sidewalk, a full bird is coming my way, so I tucked everything I could under my left arm and stuff my mouth with the rest and gave a salute. The Colonel looked at me, returned salute and stood there. He said “try again”, so I dropped everything and gave a proper salute. He laughed and walked away.

  165. Dorothy Gibala    

    I had separated from the Air Force in July 1973. Fast forward to my first civil service position as Secretary to Commissary Officer at Selfridge ANGB, MI in March 1974. I had to daily take the deposit paperwork to the bank for the Commissary Store. I was walking towards the bank and saw a Lt Col approaching me. Prepared, I extended my salute and he returned my salute. Then he said, “You haven’t been out long have you?” Oops, we both laughed and recalled that situation in years ahead.

  166. MSGT K. Edwards    

    I was the manager of an Officers’ Club in Iwakuni, Japan. I had been there less than 2 weeks. It was customary for a Japanese manager to help us to learn and understand Japanese customs and some of the language.The first words we were taught was “Ira masta ray” (sp?) I was told it meant “Welcome, I am here to serve you” or something to that meaning. It was dinner time and I was on duty and was told that the Japanese Admiral was coming for dinner. I waited at the top landing. The Admiral was 30 minutes late for his dinner reservation. I bowed and said the greeting that I was taught as the highest ranking Japanese officer entered the main entrance.(Iwakuni air base hosts the Japanese Martime Military) . The Admiral and his two aides froze when the heard my greeting. I was still in the lower bow position, awaiting his bow return when I saw him turn to his aide then the other. They said something I didn’t understand and started laughing, bowed and went into the dining room. A few minutes later the Japanese manager came running into the area that I was in and told me that the Admiral wanted to see me. He then shared with me the correct pronunciation. My Japanese manager later told me that I actually said “Well, you finally got here… I’ve been waiting for you”. Not really a salute… but it came to mind. More than 40 years ago.

  167. Donald Sullivan    

    About mid way through basic training at Fort Ord we had a green 2nd Lt. join our company commander as part of his training; fresh out of OCS himself. We were all enjoying some free time roaming around the barracks dressed as casually as you could. All of a sudden the 2nd Lt. came around the hallway corner and as was the custom, the first person that saw him yelled “Attention!”. That meant all of us basics would slam our backs to the wall at full attention. To our surprise, the Lt. did the same thing. Apparently that was the custom in OCS also and he acted in reflex. When he realized what was happening, with a very red face, he relaxed and continued down the hall after uttering a barely audible “At Ease Men”. We joked about that for the rest of our training.

  168. Dan Heaton    

    I was stationed at Hill AFB, Ogden Ut. it was mid-January around 20 degrees and it was lunchtime. I grabbed what I presumed was my overcoat and proceeded to the chow-hall. We walked about a quarter mile to and from the chow-hall and I kept getting saluted from junior officers and enlisted. Upon returning I noticed I was wearing our squadron commanders’ coat with silver eagles on the epaulets. The Colonel wore my coat and he said he kind of enjoyed it, no one was saluting and left him alone. I was an E-2.
    Dan H.

  169. james dwight akins    

    i was stationed in Saigon, South Vietnam as an MP in 716 Co in 1970.with PFC rank doing static guard duty. It was very Hot & humid & in the middle of the day. i was dressed in jungle fatigues & tropical jungle boots holding M16& 45 pistol holster around my waist & M79 grenadelauncher& double banderlero w/ M16 magazine clips around my chest wearing a hot helmet liner w/ MP on top. My captain CO( commanding officer) was jogging by in shorts & tee shirt & tennis shoes. I made BIG mistake?? I wanted to be ” friendly” & so i ” waved & said hello sir?” WRONG.He stopped in his tracks & gave me a tongue lashing & said ” When u see & recognize me as a superior officer yoy salute my ass. Do you understand private?” I said ” “Yes Sir”.HE CONTINUED ON HIS RUN & I THOUGHT THAT WAS THE END OF IT? Later back @ the barracks i was informed of an article 15 including reduction in rank & pay from.PFC E3 to E2 private
    i eventually.made it to E4 Specialist but i saluted EVERY officer i saw?

  170. Paul Michael Jarrell    

    The one time we were inspected by the CNET.
    Admiral some shit in p-cola. Lined up,. In perfect formation. A seagull triangulated a dump on my shoulder. I had a choice, rub it in and get gigs for a dirty uniform or leave it and let him figure it out .
    The latter served as a great opportunity to see the lighter ,more human side of the man!

    1. Christi Price    

      Are you kidding. What an a**hole!

  171. Dave Keough    

    Due to the build up in Nam Fort Dix was at capacity so were sent to Fort Hood for training. We were assigned to an actual company and wore the patches of the 3rd AD and lapel and hat pins. Hood was not a training fort so were playing by the numbers and that worked out somewhat ok. Then we were sent off to AIT still as a part of the 3rd AD. The hat and lapel were play the game 2 white stripes on a deep blue background. 8 troops in my unit were sent to Aberdeen Proving Ground. That’s when the fun began. If we were out at dusk or dawn we looked exactly like and officer. Of course we were slick sleeves at that point. Then throw in the foreign officers training there. Was one big saluting fest.

  172. len scheltmeyer    

    walking back to my barracks, I happen to pass a captain,being a enlisted man I snap off a salute. the captain returned my salute with the greenest mitten I have ever seen. later in the office the captain told me that his mother had sent him the mittens,so he was obligated to wear them.

  173. Fred Rodgers    

    The left hand salute was a feature of OCS. Senior candidates and TACs used it all time. Woe unto the candidate who fell for it. Yet it was difficult to not return any salute wherever it came from: if you didn’t return a right hand salute it was drop for 20, but if you fell for a left hand salute trick, the punishment at least 30 push-ups. We became adept at discerning which hand, and doing so quickly.

  174. William M Kaluske    

    While walking on base at NAS Norfolk, I was approached by a young ensign. I walked past without saluting. He shouted, “Hey sailor, you’re supposed salute officers”. I replied, that’s not required on Tuesdays”. He said, “Oh” and walked away.

    1. Sylvia Gamble    

      I had one of those. A 2nd Lieutenant at an Army Base in Alabama. I stepped out of the chow hall putting my cover on. All I saw was knees and lower. I heard “Aren’t you going to salute me?” I looked up and saw a butterbar barely old enough to shave. I looked at him and said “If you give me a chance to put my hat o I might just do that!” He turned around and stomped off.

  175. Gregory Lee Stegall    

    I could think a few, but the night of Boot Camp graduation is at the top of my head. – We went to downtown Waukegan, Yeah Baby… uhhh, not so much. Anyways, a fellow sailor needed help to get back from town, so I and another guy helped him to our barracks. The custom is to salute the Jack, turn and salute the US Flag and then ask the PO of the deck for permission to enter the Quarterdeck (an honored naval tradition and area). Drunk sailor…Half azz salute, turns to the meanest Drill and asks, request permission to enter the patio, daddy-o. Welp, he went back to day 1 of boot…I think 10 weeks then.

  176. Royce    

    Coming home from Mogadishu Somalia we landed at Robert Grey Army Airfield as we walked down the steps everyone saluted a COL- * GEN- **GEN- ****GEN. Not I….. I kissed the ground and walked to my left to see if my bag was ready to be picked up. My company commander was in disbelief but later we laughed our butts off.

  177. COL ROBERT ROWDY YATES    

    It’s all funny with the REMFS, why don’t you writ about those of us contemplating killing ourselves as we don’t belong in this bullsht “politically correct world”. And don’t want to be@

    1. 11B    

      This isn’t the proper forum for that. This is a light hearted article. Veteran suicide is a very serious issue. There’s lots of articles written about it and many resources to help address it. As far as the world being politically correct, the tide is turning my friend. Stand firm in your beliefs with conviction and get the right people into public office to represent us. When they fail to do so, be sure to contact their offices and let them know!

    2. MICHELLE D CAVAZOS    

      Col. Yates,
      If you, a loved one or another veteran is in need PLEASE reach out to the veteran crisis line (800) 273-8255 press 1. Help is available, suicide is not the answer, it will only leave those who love and care about you forever in pain. Be strong!
      We ALL need to let our District Representatives and up the chain Know that we’re not happy with the job they’re doing and if things don’t change you won’t continue to support them in office. For the people by the people!

    3. Ruth Elaine Webster    

      Col. Yates,

      I am a 100% Permanently and Totally Disabled (Female) Veteran, and have been living on disability for almost 33 years because I have such a bad case of PTSD. There have been MANY times when I just wanted to give up and end it all.

      The NATIONAL SUICIDE CRISIS LINE (800-273-8255) CAN and WILL help you, sir. You can ALSO just “Chat” with them on their website. This organization ALSO has availability to Military Mentors that you can talk with and they can often “talk you off of the ledge you are standing on,” to get you through the crisis you are currently in.

      Also, you do NOT have to be suicidal to talk with them. Being widowed, I live alone and have had to call on them many, MANY times when I was having a hard time just getting through the next minute, or talking me down after I had ja Panic Attack Nightmare.

      I don’t know where you are or what your situation is, but I can tell you FOR A FACT that the Mental Health Clinics connected to the Audie Murphy VA South Texas Medical Center in San Antonio are wonderful — Especially those in the North Central Federal Clinic.

      PLEASE stay safe, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. DON’T GIVE UP — there ARE people who can help you.

    4. Sylvia Gamble    

      Sir,
      There is help out there. I have thought about ending my life a few years ago but thought about what effect this would have on my daughter and grandson. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Ask for help like I did and see your family and friends enjoy your company for many years to come.

  178. L. J. Meerks    

    I had stuff in my right hand I saluted with left hand he returned my salute said carry on marine

    1. Johnny J Jakes, III    

      My fellow warrior i can truly understand your point! However, consider that according to the Bible (Proverbs 17:22) and backed up by modern science Laughter does good, just like medicine. There are time when a good laugh will make you feel better. Studies shows that laughter brings mind and body back into balance. It also helps to rid ourselves of anger, sorrow, and allows us to forgive.
      Wingman, go get your laugh on and see he much better you feel. Blessings and healings J3

Comments are closed.