Bruce Anderson recently complained about an Army general, the military officer in uniform standing next to VP Pence at a football game, who did not render the hand salute during the national anthem and cited an Army Field Manual while calling for people to complain. He is a little ahead of himself. Under customs of the service, military personnel do not salute indoors when not in uniform. The general was not wearing a hat, so he is considered to be out of uniform and no hand salute is required. Protocol directs that he come to attention and face the flag, which is what he did. A Field Manual is not the law, which is found at 36 U.S. Code § 301 — National anthem, and states that uncovered military may (voluntary, not mandatory) render a salute indoors, but even though permitted (and not required) military people don’t do that because that is not the tradition of the services. The general committed no offense. The rules, customs and traditions can be confusing to people who are not familiar with them or who never served.
Mike Sciales, Major, USAF (ret), Boise
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