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News > Commentary - Advice from the shirt: Music and uniforms
Advice from the shirt: Music and uniforms

Posted 8/26/2011   Updated 8/26/2011 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Master Sgt. Gene Brandt
ESC first sergeant

8/26/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- While standing in the middle of the Hanscom track and soccer field, a strange thing caught the attention of the Airmen doing squadron physical training (PT). The start of the duty day was being announced via Reveille. Some people kept running around the track, some folks stopped and stood at attention with one or two at parade rest. These Airmen were looking for guidance, so some research seemed mandated.

So the question is: While in uniform (airman battle uniform, battle dress uniform, flight suit, blues of any nature and in any approved combination of the Air Force PT uniform) what should you do when the music plays? The answer is found in Air Force Instruction 34-1201, paragraph 2.21. It is paraphrased below.

In every case, if you can see the flag, you will face the flag for the raising or lowering. If you cannot see the flag, you face the direction the music appears to be coming from and render honors in that direction.

For Reveille, the start of the duty day, typically around 7:30 a.m., you should stand at attention in any version of the uniform and render a salute to the flag or the music as appropriate. The salute is dropped when the flag is raised or the music stops, whichever comes later.

For Retreat, the end of the duty day, typically around 5 p.m., you should stand at the position of parade rest facing the flag or the music when you hear "Sound Retreat." This acts as a preamble to the national anthem. Upon hearing the first notes of "The Star-Spangled Banner," assume the position of attention and render your salute. The salute is dropped when the flag is lowered or the music stops, whichever comes later.

That is the long and the short of what to do, outside, wearing a uniform, when the music plays.

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