Straight Talk: Reveille

  • Published
  • By Col. Stacy L. Yike
  • 66th Air Base Group commander
What a beautiful time of year to be in New England! I hope you can take advantage of all the great events going on this weekend. Head to the Minuteman Commons on Friday afternoon for the First Friday celebration. Join the group for apple picking in New Hampshire on Sunday. They depart from Base Chapel parking lot at 11 a.m. Or, go to the bowling alley on Monday for $1 per game bowling all day for Columbus Day. Whatever you do this holiday weekend, remember to be safe and take some time to recharge your batteries. Thanks for all you do to take care of Hanscom and the Electronic Systems Center mission!

Question: An article was published a couple weeks ago about the importance of paying respect to our colors during retreat, the signal of the end of the official duty day. But, I still think there is a lot of confusion about what to do during reveille, the signal of the start of the official duty day. Can you please elaborate on the proper protocol so we're all paying the proper courtesies?

Answer: We spend so much time talking about proper respect to the flag that we forget to discuss what to do during other bugle calls. So, I turned to the expert to make sure we have all the details exactly right. Who better to ask than our own command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Call? Read on for his response.

Reveille can be confusing for those who haven't read deeply into protocol rules of engagement. Most personnel do not know that there are two methods of protocol, depending on whether the U.S. flag is raised during reveille. Hanscom displays the U.S. flag 24/7 instead of raising it each morning, meaning reveille is just a traditional bugle call to signify the start of the official duty day. Therefore, you are not required to stop or salute. The same is true for the retreat and taps bugle calls when the flag is not lowered.

At Hanscom, we play the national anthem immediately after the retreat bugle call and that is why we stop and salute - to honor our nation. The following are proper etiquettes when the U.S. flag is raised or lowered or when the national anthem and "To the Colors" is played.

Military in uniform stand at attention and render a salute. Military out of uniform or veterans stand at attention and place your right hand, with a hat if wearing one, over your heart or you may render a salute. Civilians place your right hand, with a hat if wearing one, over your heart. Military performing PT and wearing PT uniform outdoors should stop, stand at attention and render salute. Vehicles in motion should pull over and stop.

For further information, check AFI 34-1201, which states in part, "If your base flies the U.S. flag a continuous 24-hours and no music but reveille is played with no action with the flag you are not required to stop and salute, reveille is just a bugle call. Retreat is much the same as for reveille, retreat is just bugle call but even if the flag is not being lowered it is the playing of the national anthem or "To the Colors" that requires proper honors to be displayed."

I hope this clears the air on what to do during reveille at Hanscom.