Military Customs and Courtesies


Navy/Sea Cadet Corps personnel salute the anthem, the flag, and officers as follows:

Raise the right hand smartly until the tip of the forefingers touches the lower part of the headgear or forehead above and slightly to the right of the eye, extend and join the thumb and fingers.

Turn the palm slightly inward until the person saluting can just see its surface from the corner of the right eye.

The upper arm is parallel to the ground; the elbow is slightly in front of the body. Incline the forearm at a 45º angle; hand and wrist are in a straight line.

Complete the salute (after it is returned and senior officer has dropped his) by dropping the arm to its normal Position in one sharp, clean motion

The following are some of the major points you should remember when rendering a salute:

If possible, always use your right hand. Use your left hand only if your right hand is injured. Use your left hand to carry objects and to leave your right hand free to salute.

Accompany your salute with a cheerful, respectful greeting; for example, “Good morning, Sir or Maam.”

Always salute from the position of attention. If you are walking, you need not stop; but hold yourself erect and square. If on the double, slow to a walk when saluting.

Look directly into the officer’s eyes as you salute.

If you are carrying something in both hands and cannot render the hand salute, look at the officer as though you were saluting and render a verbal greeting as previously described.

Salute officers even if they are uncovered or their hands are occupied. Your salute will be acknowledged by a verbal greeting, such as “Good morning,” or “Good afternoon.”

Army and Air Force policy, unlike the Navy’s, is to salute when uncovered. Suppose you are in an office with several Army personnel, and all of you are uncovered. An officer enters and the soldiers rise and salute. You should do likewise; to do otherwise would make you seem ill-mannered or disrespectful.

If you are walking with or standing by a commissioned officer and the occasion for a salute arises, do not salute until the officer salutes. Assume that you are walking with a lieutenant. A commander approaches. Do not salute the commander until the lieutenant salutes; but as soon as the lieutenant starts to salute, you should quickly do the same.

When approaching an officer, start your salute far enough away from the officer to allow time for your salute to be seen and returned. This space can vary; but a distance of about six paces is considered good for this purpose. Hold your salute until it is returned or until you are six paces past the officer.

Salute all officers who are close enough to be recognized as officers. It is unnecessary to identify an officer by name; however, ensure that he/she is wearing the uniform of an officer.

Salute properly and smartly. Avoid saluting in a casual or perfunctory manner. A sharp salute is a mark of a sharp Sailor and shows respect for the uniform/person.


How do you address an officer/instructor?
“Yes (No), Sir/Ma’am”
“Aye, aye, Sir/Ma’am”

How do you address a senior cadet?
“Yes (No), Petty Officer!” or “Yes (No), Chief!”

How do you address your shipmate?
Rank and Last name (Seaman Jones)
Last name (informally)

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