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R.W. "Dick" Gaines
Gny Sgt USMC (Ret.)
1952 (Plt #437-PISC)--1972




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March 27 2006 at 8:35 AM
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Response to On Saluting and Veterans, Military Retirees, etc.

MILINET: 2nd Resps (8) "Hand Salute Vice Hand Over Heart For Vets--MG Vernon Lewis, USA (Ret.) Inbox
to undisclosed-re.
More options 7:08 am (1 hour ago)
27 March

MILINET: 2nd Resps (8) "Hand Salute Vice Hand Over Heart For Vets--MG Vernon Lewis, USA (Ret.)


Major, wanted to respond to Capt Dolan (ret). I just had a Marine go
through an NCO of the Quarter board where one of the questions he
missed (along with what are the six purposes of grenades) was,"What is
the proper position to be in while in civilian attire during the
morning colors?" He answered that a Marine should stand at the rigid
position of attention and was told that Marines in civilian clothes
are actually supposed to have our hands over our hearts under those

Learning new things about our Corps even after 14 years.

Semper Fidelis Sir

----------------------ANOTHER RESPONSE-------

It has been my observation that Army officers do return salutes in mufti. Moreover, I have more than a vague recollection that we were taught as Lts that it was de regeur that Marine officers in civilian clothes while covered do return salutes when appropriate. As a matter of common practise, when I am saluted, I tend to return it as a common courtesy, covered or not, as the non-naval types lose the fine point of our not saluting when not covered.


---------------------------------ANOTHER RESPONSE-----


“It is my understanding that retired Army officers return hand-salutes with a hand-salute when they are in mufti on military installations.”

You understand correctly, and it is indoors and outdoors, covered or un-covered.

Seeking some guidance on this, I asked a crusty old SF Colonel friend why the Army did this.
His response was telling: “Soldiers salute each other”.

I think the concept is a little disconcerting to Marines, but his sentiment is unassailable.
Disagree that it is in any way silly.

I do it on a regular basis to express my regard for those who have served.

Semper Fi,
Vic Young

---------------------------------ANOTHER RESPONSE------

What's wrong with this? It separates the veterans from the civilians and it still shows respect. I would love to see a sporting event on TV and see a large group of people saluting instead of putting hand over heart, you would know that they were veterans.

I have canvassed our Purple Heart chapter and out of 25 % so far that have responded, all are in favor of the salute.

A little change now and then won't hurt anybody.

Semper Fi, John Cooney

---------------------------ANOTHER RESPONSE-------

At Yankee stadium in the '40s, as a civilian kid, I stood and placed my hand over my heart when the National Anthem was played . A civilian now, I'll do as I did then. The hand salute whilst in mufti is silly.


----------------------------ANOTHER RESPONSE-------

My vote, in civvies… hand over heart. We are believers in tradition,
and that's the tradition.

Bob Capeci

---------------------------ANOTHER RESPONSE---------

From: Col Wayne Morris USMC (Ret)

Subject: Straw Poll Results for Hand Salute or Hand Over Heart Issue


Altho certainly not a scientific poll, the results of the "feeler" I put out on 21Mar06 are discussed below:

521 Replies
457 YEA (88%)
64 NAY (12%)

Altho a few of the Enlisted responders attempted to make it an "Officer/Enl Issue," this ol' Mustang doesn't see it that way…nor did a much larger majority of NCOs/SNCOs of all Services and all eras…was really surprised at how many of the truly Old Salts (WWII/KOREA & both Enl/Off) are FOR it…!

MOST of the YES's were couched around that which Gen Lewis brought up in the Email forwarded by Gen Dula (that I received from MajGen Dave Richwine)…and…which I've added at the bottom of this page as a refresher.

They liked the idea of the show of camaraderie and that it would set MilVets apart, etc. Many mentioned that they had earned the right to render the Hand Salute and thought it more appropriate than the Hand Over the Heart tribute.

MOST of the NO's came from Marines & Sailors (then too, 87% of those responding were Marines & Sailors)…MOST citing the Naval Service protocol of being "uncovered" when inside…not rendering the Hand Salute uncovered/inside unless "under arms."

One Former Commandant of the Marine Corps responded NO…gave very sound reasons as for why not that were similar to other NO's.

Some of the NO's cited current (various) regs that fly in the face of Gen Lewis' comments about no regs telling Vets what they can/can't do in this matter…will not go into them here, but as some mentioned, perhaps these "regs" need to be revisited when considering that which we face in today's environment. Hard Core believers, however, have already said they'll have none of this. Some of the NO's were NO only because they discussed the current regs and were NOT against such a change IF current regs they cited (or still go by), were changed.

Additionally, some of the NO's were also concerned about "form"…in that they would rather see a Hand Over the Heart than the sloppy manner in which some Vets/Retirees (would) render the Hand Salute. While I can understand that, I can (living here next to CamLej) think of a whole helluva lotta AcDu types who "need to work" on their Hand Salute! Besides, no "new ground" is broken in this regard…age old issue. Would wager a cold one at SywanykS that there's probably some ol' salt, "up there with SKY-6" and reading this thru some sort of cyber space interface folks in Heaven have with the I-Net, who complained about the sloppy manner in which "Sir So-and-So" (some Knight of Olde) raised and lowered the visor on his helmet…!

Others simply don't want to change tradition.

And then…some NO's thought the whole thing rather ridiculous when considering some of the other issues ongoing in the World, at this time. Would comment on that perception but don't want to wade off too far into the rice paddies so as to get this out in a timely manner.

And as an Oh By The Way, quite a few folks piped up saying they have been rendering the Hand Salute all along since leaving the AcDu ranks…they don't care who doesn't like it and don't make the mistake of bringing it to their attention if you don't like it. Since I know some of these folks quite well, I just hope to be somewhere in the area when some poor soul decides to play Drill Instructor with them and show them the errors of their ways…! Oh yeah…most of them WERE Drill Instructors…! What an interesting group of folks I've come to know over these many years…!!!

------------------------------ANOTHER RESPONSE-------

Okay, a couple things come to mind. Don't we have more important things to consider right about now? Besides, what are you going to do when someone who never served in the military renders a hand salute (besides be glad he is rendering courtesy to the colors instead of fidgeting or picking his nose)? I find that 583 Veterans polled is not a true test of the waters. Yes, maybe an "overwhelming majority" of those "actually polled" want it, but we should also take a look at the VFW and Legion posts who never responded. They should figure into the "poll" also. Perhaps their lack of response should be taken to mean there are other more important matters at hand? So here is Woody's take. If you wish to render a hand salute, GO FOR IT!!!! Especially if you are former army where saluting indoors and/or without a cover (headgear) is authorized (do what you were raised to do). If you are a Marine, I expect you probably would not. Therefore if you prefer to place your hand against your heart as prescribed in the Drill Manual (excerpt below), then DO IT! The bottom line is show your respects, the way you were raised. We, Veterans know what the colors mean. We know about HONOR, COURAGE, COMMITMENT AND SACRAFICE and whether we render a hand salute or placed hand over heart will make little differential on the wretched few who will never have the Honor or pleasure of wearing the uniform. As the General states no one is going to tell us "NO" anyway. Just like we cannot enforce non-service members from not rendering a hand salute.

Semper rendering appropriate courtesy to the Colors,


----------------------------------END RESPONJSES------------------


R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952 (Plt #437)--'72

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This message has been edited by Dick Gaines from IP address on Mar 27, 2006 8:36 AM

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