CUSTOMS OF THE SERVICE
Naval customs and traditions play a significant
role in your career as a naval officer.
expected to pass on and perpetuate the more
venerated customs and traditions of the Navy. When
Navy customs and traditions are appreciated and
properly applied, they produce high ideals and esprit
de corps among members of the naval service.
Knowledge of military courtesy is important to
everyone in the Navy. Whether or not you realize it,
you are practicing military courtesy all the time.
Knowing what to do at the right time can keep you
from encountering some embarrassing situations.
Navy personnel who know and practice naval
courtesy make good impressions and exude
self-assurance that will carry them through otherwise
difficult situations. Furthermore, all members of the
naval service observe these evidences of respect and
The junior member always takes the
initiative, and the senior member returns the courtesy.
One of the essentials of military courtesy is the
Regulations governing its use are
founded on military etiquette deeply rooted in
traditions and customs.
Far from being a servile
gesture, the salute is a symbol of respect and a sign of
comradeship among service personnel. The salute is
part of the uniform and all that it represents.
Accordingly, as a standard practice, the junior starts
the salute, and the senior returns it.
returns the salute in the same form in which a seaman
By saluting first, a person demonstrates
respect for the senior rank, not inferiority, to the
MANNER OF SALUTING
Be precise and military as you salute.
following rules apply to the hand salute:
Give hand salutes, and other marks of respect
appropriate to rank, to officers of the armed
services of the United States in uniform (and in
civilian clothes, if recognized) and to
high-ranking dignitaries of foreign nations.
Salute the occupant of automobiles that display
the flag of a high-ranking dignitary.
Keep your head and eyes turned toward the
person you are saluting.
Execute the hand
salute as follows:
1. Raise your right hand smartly until the tip
of your forefinger touches the lower part of
your headgear, slightly to the right of your
2. Keep your upper arm parallel to the ground.
3. Keep your thumb and fingers extended and
joined with your palm down.
4. Keep the tip of your middle finger to your
elbow in a straight line.
5. End the salute by dropping your hand down
to your side in one clean motion. Avoid
slapping your leg as you do so.
Salute at a distance at which recognition is
easy, normally within 30 paces. Salute when
the person being saluted is about six paces
from you or at the nearest point of approach.
Hold the salute until the person saluted passes
you or returns your salute; then end the salute.
Accompany your salute with one of the
1. From first rising until noonGood
morning, . . .
afternoon, . . .
3. From sunset until turning inGood
evening, . . .
Salute only if you are at a halt or a walk. If
running, come to a walk before saluting.
If seated and covered, rise and come to
attention before saluting.
If you overtake and pass a senior, salute when
abreast of the senior and ask, By your leave,