US Army Customs and Courtesies
A custom is a social norm stemming from tradition and enforced as an unwritten law. A courtesy is a respectful behavior often linked to a custom. A military courtesy is such behavior extended to a person or thing that honors them in some way. Military customs and courtesies define the profession of arms. When you display military customs and courtesies in various situations, you demonstrate to yourself and others your commitment to duty, honor, and country.
And your professionalism and pride. As a new soldier and future Army leader, you must recognize that military customs and courtesies are your constant means of showing that the standard of conduct for officers and Soldiers is high and disciplined, is based on a code of chivalry, and is universal throughout the profession of arms. You show respect for people by standing when they enter a room or enter a conversation. Either by standing at the postion of Attenion or Parade rest depending if its an officer or nco and which will be covered later on in this paper.
Saluting,The salute is not simply an honor exchanged. It is a privileged gesture of respect and trust among soldiers. Remember the salute is not only prescribed by regulation but is also recognition of each other’s commitment, abilities, and professionalism. Some historians believe the hand salute began in late Roman times when assassinations were common. A citizen who wanted to see a public official had to approach with his right hand raised to show that he did not hold a weapon. Knights in armor raised visors with the right hand when meeting a comrade. This practice gradually became a way of showing respect and, in early American history, sometimes involved removing the hat. By 1820, the motion was modified to touching the hat, and since then it has become the hand salute used today. You salute to show respect toward an officer, flag, or our country The way you salute says a lot about you as a soldier. A proud, smart salute shows pride in yourself and your unit and that you are confident in your abilities as a soldier. A sloppy salute might mean that you’re ashamed of your unit, lack confidence, or at the very least, that you haven’t learned how to salute correctly. When not at attention or saluting, you allow officers the position of honor at a table.These informal gestures demonstrate your character and respect for
Army Values.Uncovering—removing a beret, hat, or headgear—isn’t just good manners; it’s a signof respect to others. You should remove your headgear indoors, unless you are under arms.Officers and enlisted Soldiers uncover when they sit as a member of or in attendance ona court or board, when entering places of divine worship, and during attendance at an official reception. Simple courtesy is an important indicator of a person’s bearing, discipline, and manners. It is a fact that most people respond positively to genuine politeness and courtesy. Walk down a street in most towns and cities and see the response you get from people when you just say “good morning.” It is no different for soldiers. Some units substitute the greetingwith their unit motto, such as “Airborne!,” or “Shadow by God.” These reiterate pride in the unit and demonstrate the discipline and professionalism of a unit’s soldiers This can all be referred to in AR 600-25 if you would like to look up more on US Army customs and courtesies as well at FM 7-21-13. There are two postions that enlisted and officers alike assume when talking to their superiors. ATTENTION: When an officer enters a room occupied by enlisted personnel or cadets, the room is called to attention.It is not proper, however, for officers to follow his custom at the approach of a senior officer. The question then is how to get officers to attention without the command. Generally, this is accomplished by the individual officers assuming the position of attention when appropriate or one officer anouncing the presence of the senior and the other officers then assuming the position of attention. For example, if the classroom were filled only with cadet officers and the PMS entered the room, one of the cadet officers would announce, “Gentlemen, the Professor of Military Science.” likewise, when speaking to an officer, soldiers and cadets will stand at attention until instructed otherwise by the officer. PARADE REST: Like “Attention”, Parade Rest is a form of respect given to NCOs by those junior in rank. When a Senior NCO enters an area of junior enlisted soldiers or cadets, the room is called to “at ease”. All personnelshould immediately go to the position of “stand at-ease” until told to “carry-on”. Likewise, when speaking to an NCO, soldiers junior in rank or cadets, will maintain the position of “parade rest” until instructed to “stand at ease”, “at ease”, or “rest”/relax. Things you should never do or say:
Never criticize the Army or a leader in public. Never go “over the heads” of superiors—don’t jump the chain of command. Never offer excuses. Never “wear” a superior’s rank by saying something like, “the first sergeant wants this done now,” when in fact the first sergeant said no such thing. Speak with your own voice. Never turn and walk away to avoid giving the hand salute. Never run indoors or pretend you don’t hear (while driving, for example) to avoid standing reveille or retreat. Never appear in uniform while under the influence of alcohol. If you don’t know the answer to a superior’s question, you will never go wrong with the response, “I don’t know sir, but I’ll find out.” Here is a section straight out FM 7-21-13 about customs and courtesies and what they do. FM 7-21.13 ____________________________________________________________ 4-2. A custom is an established practice. Customs include positive actions—things you do, and taboos—things you avoid. All established arts, trades, and professions, all races of people, all nations, and even different sections of the same nation have their own practices and customs by whichthey govern a part of their lives. 4-3. Many Army customs compliment procedures required by militarycourtesy, while others add to the graciousness of garrison life. The breach of some Army customs merely brands the offender as ignorant, careless, or illbred. Violations of other Army customs, however, will bring official censure or disciplinary action. The customs of the Army are its common law. COURTESIES 4-4.
Courtesy among members of the Armed Forces is vital to maintain discipline. Military courtesy means good manners and politeness in dealing with other people. Courteous behavior provides a basis for developing good human relations. The distinction between civilian and military courtesy is that military courtesy was developed in a military atmosphere and has become an integral part of serving in uniform. 4-5.
Most forms of military courtesy have some counterpart in civilian life. For example, we train soldiers to say sir or ma’am when talking to a higher ranking officer. Young men and women are sometimes taught to say sir to their fathers or ma’am to their mothers and likewise to other elders. It is often considered good manners for a younger person to say sir or ma’am when
speaking to an older person. The use of the word sir is also common in the business world, such as in the salutation of a letter or in any well-ordered institution. 4-6.
________________________________________________________________________ Military courtesy is not a one-way street. Enlisted personnel are expected to be courteous to officersand likewise officers are expected to return the courtesy. Mutual respect is a vital part of military courtesy. Army courtesies vary and are abundent and are all meant to show self- disipline and respect. here are some more courtesties that the army observes. When talking to an officer of superior rank, stand at attention until ordered otherwise. When you are dismissed, or whenthe officer departs, come to attention and salute.When speaking to or being addressed a noncommissioned officer of superior rank, stand at parade rest until ordered otherwise. When an officer of superior rank enters a room, the first soldier to recognize the officer calls personnel in the room to attention but does not salute. A salute indoors is rendered only when reporting.
When an NCO of superior rank enters the room, the first soldier to recognize the NCO calls the room to “At ease.” Walk on the left of an officer or NCO of superior rank. When entering or exiting a vehicle, the junior ranking soldier is the first to enter, and the senior in rank is the first to exit. When outdoors and approached by an NCO, you greet the NCO by saying, “Good morning, Sergeant,”or “All the Way” (insert Sir, Ma’am, Sergeant) for example. The first person who sees an officer enter a dining facility gives the order “At ease,” unless a more senior officer is already present. Many units extend this courtesy to senior NCOs, also. When you hear the command “At ease” in a dining facility, remain seated, silent and continue eating unless directed otherwise.
Customs and courtesies are to be observed at all time and should never be taken lightly. Regardless of rank or time in service. It pay to be tactful aswell if you ever do come to confrontation with a superior officer over you. And never allow yourself to make hasty disicions that may end up costing you more than what you want. Here are some good tips and guideline you could use to help you with these situations in the workplace.
before you speak. Allow yourself a pause to consider how your words could be perceived, and to prevent yourself from making hasty comments.
2.Consider the other person’s viewpoint and acknowledge it. For example, say: ” I understand that my Nco’s want me to push myself and be a leader”.
3.Consider cultural differences and try to act in a sensitive way without offending the other individual
4. Be discreet, tell your buddy about your problems that you seem to be having and see if they cant help you out and bring it up to others.
5.When you’re irritated. Keep your cool and speak calmly and clearly. Assume the best.
6.Stay neutral and dont get sucked into the moment if angered, remeber that you are a professional and you need to act accordingly
7.If your issue is too big for your just to brush aside, bring it up to the individual who is causing you to feel this way and calmly explain your thoughts. Dont allow yourself to get hot headed. maintain your composure and continue with the day and just think about what was said and what you can say.
No matter what the situation. Disrespect of an Nco or officer is never the right answer. situtations can resolve themselves if they are taken upon with tact and a clear head. which i could apply to myself everyday whenever i feel like im getting alittle over my head. Self- Control, is vital in being tactful and is one of the qualities that are demonstated in a good leader. Good leaders control their emotions. Instead of hysterics or showing no emotion at all, leaders should display the right amount of sensitivity and passion to tap into subordinates’ emotions.
Maintaining self-control inspires calm confidence in the team. Self-control encourages feedback from subordinates that can help in understanding what is really happening. Self-control in combat is especially important for Army leaders. If you lose your self-control, you cannot expect those who follow you to maintain theirs. its good to maintain a balance in your emotions. if you are an emotionally balanced leader, you are able to display the right emotion for agiven situation and can read others’ emotional state. You draw on your experience and provide your subordinates the proper perspective on unfolding events. You have a range of attitudes, from relaxed to intense, with which to approach different situations. You know how to choose the one appropriate for the circumstances. Balanced leaders know how to convey that things are urgent without throwing the entire organization into chaos. They are able to encourage their people to continue the mission, even in the toughest of moments. In conclusion: The Us Army customs and courtesies are always to be adheaded to and are a guideline to success and demonstrate good morale character and fiber. and if you should ever feel like your cant keep your cool. Just remember to take a step back! assess the situation and approach it with tact. So as not to offend your superior and peers alike.
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