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U.S. Army Installation Etiquette

Jun 7, 2017, 14:21 PM

For many of you, living on, working on, or visiting military installations are normal parts of life, but for some, attending a basic combat training or advanced individual training graduation will be the first time you've been on a military installation.

In case you fall into the second category, we put together a short list of etiquette rules to be aware of during your visit. Some of these are straight-forward regulations and some are guidelines, but we hope it provides you the general information you need to make your trip go a little smoother.

  1. Before you enter the installation, pull over to the visitor’s center if you’ll need a map or directions to a specific place on post. We love our security officers who check ID’s and help keep the installation secure, so we try to avoid adding more to their plate by making them double as tour guides. If the visitor’s center isn’t open, it’s ok to ask the security guard for directions, just try to keep it brief. Additionally, if you arrive in the evening, please dim your headlights or turn them off completely. It makes it difficult for the security team to do their job if they are blinded by headlights.
  2. Military installations typically play reveille (the flag is raised during this time) around 6:30 a.m. and retreat (the flag is retired at this time) around 5 p.m. Each installation does this at different times, but it’s important to be aware of this music. When you hear it, no matter where you are outside, you’ll need to stop whatever you’re doing, place your right hand over your heart, and refrain from talking until the music is complete. If you’re driving, you should pull over and wait at attention in your car or you can exit your vehicle, place your right hand over your heart, and wait for the music to end. If you choose to exit your vehicle, please keep all children inside the car and you can keep your door slightly open if you need to be able to hear them or take care of them.
  3. Certain installations do have a dress code, even for family members. Please check with your Soldier to ensure you are within the installation’s regulations. You can find the most recent dress code regulation for Fort Leonard Wood here.
  4. Don’t forget to always walk on your service member’s left. He or she is required to keep their right hand free at all times so that they’re able to greet other service members appropriately. If you forget this, an elbow to the eye will quickly remind you…I’ve been on the receiving end of a few of those and have learned my lesson!
  5. Keep in mind that service members in uniform are required to maintain professionalism at all times. Though you should feel free to affectionately greet your service member at graduation with hugs and kisses, those should be reserved for that time only. Personal displays of affections, including handholding on some installations, should generally be avoided so that your service member can maintain professionalism.

We hope this helps make your visit go much smoother and you enjoy your time at graduation! Let us be the first to welcome you to the Army family!

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