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News > While times change for Reveille and Retreat, paying proper respect stays the same
72nd MSG mission:retreat
The retreat ceremony holds many significant purposes. It marks the end of the duty day. It is an opportunity for military members to pay respect to the flag. It is a tradition that is upheld every day at military installations around the world. Usually retreat is handled by a small detail of Airmen, but Oct. 1, 80 members of the 72nd Mission Support Group held a group retreat ceremony in front of the 72nd Air Base Wing headquarters building. (Air Force photo by Margo Wright)
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While times change for Reveille and Retreat, paying proper respect stays the same

Posted 7/30/2010   Updated 7/30/2010 Email story   Print story


Tinker Public Affairs

7/30/2010 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  -- Starting Aug. 1, Tinker Air Force Base will change the schedule for Reveille and Retreat.

Reveille is played when the flag is raised at the beginning of the day. It currently is played at 7:30 a.m., but beginning Aug. 1, Reveille will play at 6 a.m.

Retreat is playing the national anthem when the flag is lowered. It currently is played at 4:30 p.m., but beginning Aug. 1, Retreat will play at 5 p.m.

Taps, which began as a way to signal "lights out" at the end of the day, now is played as a form of respect at military funerals and military honors. Taps will continue to play at 10 p.m.

"The move to 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. allows Tinker AFB to be in synch with other bases in the Air Force. We often receive questions and comments from distinguished visitors who are surprised by our designated times. Also, when our Airmen are TDY to other locations, they notice reveille and retreat times are different from what they are used to here at Tinker," said Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center Command Chief Master Sergeant Kevin Vegas.

Paying respect

"The adherence to military tradition should come as no surprise to anyone with military roots and anyone currently serving, however our structure has broadened and now includes civilian employees and contractors. The expectations behind Reveille and Retreat are worth revisiting for some people and for providing an orientation for others who have recently been introduced to our military lifestyle," Chief Vegas said.

The bugle sound of Reveille signifies the start of a new day and to signal to all who hear it that the flag is being raised. Reveille comes from the French and it means to awaken from sleep. Retreat, in this context, means the securing of the American Flag, signaling the end of the duty day and provides an opportunity for paying respect to the flag, the chief said.

During the playing of Reveille, Retreat and the National Anthem daily, even as a civilian or in civilian clothes, you should stop and face the flag or the music if walking and stop your vehicle safely if you are still in your vehicle. All of us who regularly work at Tinker AFB should already know these basics. If you are sponsoring guests including contractors, you should inform them of these requirements. As 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. approach each weekday, you should turn down your radio so you can render the proper respect and fulfill the requirements of Air Force regulations and Federal Law.

What do I do when Reveille or Retreat is played?

Whether in uniform or not in uniform: At the first sounds of Reveille or Retreat, stop where you are and turn to face the flag, or in a case where the flag is not visible, turn in the general direction of the flag or the sound and, if in uniform, stand at parade rest. If not in uniform, protocol still dictates that you stop and face the flag or the music out of respect.

When do I come to attention and salute the flag?

In uniform: When the Retreat music concludes, come to attention and render a salute when you hear the first note of the National Anthem.

Not in uniform: Do not salute if you are not in uniform. Come to attention and place your right hand over your heart. Remove your hat with the right hand and hold it at the left shoulder while your right hand is over the heart.

Exception: Servicemembers and veterans not in uniform may render a salute during the hoisting, lowering or passing of the flag; this was changed by the 2008 Defense Authorization Act; Congress realized they omitted the National Anthem and have added an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal year 2009 (S. 3002, section 1081) to amend title 36, USC, to allow veterans and servicemembers not in uniform to salute during the National Anthem if they so desire.

How long do I hold my salute?

Remain at attention saluting the flag until the National Anthem has finished playing.

What if I'm wearing my physical training uniform?

Proper military customs and courtesies apply while wearing the PTU during reveille and retreat (attention and saluting)

What do I do if I'm driving at the time of Retreat?

At the first note of Reveille, Retreat and the National Anthem, you should bring your moving vehicle safely to a complete stop as you would if an emergency vehicle were approaching and put the car in park. Base guidance is that personnel turn off any music playing in the vehicle. Everyone inside the vehicle, including the driver, should remain seated at attention.

8/13/2014 6:44:10 AM ET
Wow... Really nice blog. Awesome Post. Please keep posting bro your are doing really awesome job. Thanks for sharing this useful information with us.
Chris Ethan, India
8/11/2010 11:18:29 AM ET
I am sorry to see the time change as this was a good reminder and opportunity for me as a civilian to pay respect to our flag. I think we all need reminders in our every-day life of the freedom our country enjoys and the great priviledge to live in this country that we enjoy...thanks to our military.
Julia Gant, 72 FSSFSFR
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