United States Marine Corps History and Information

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US Marine Corps Salute and General Information on Marines Saluting

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United States Marines Corps General Saluting Details


a. Members of the US Marine Corps are required to render a salute to officers, regular and reserve of the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and to foreign military and naval officers whose governments are formally recognized by the Government of theUnited States.

b. Military courtesy requires the junior to salute first.  The salute is to be rendered willingly, promptly, and cheerfully as well as being executed smartly and correctly.

c. When meeting an officer who is either walking or riding, salute between six and thirty paces to give the officer time to return your salute.  Hold the salute until it is returned, and accompany the salute with “Good morning, Sir or Ma’am,” or some other appropriate greeting.

The Marine Hand Salute or Present Arms.

Examples of Marine Hand Salutes

d. Render the salute only once if the senior remains in the immediate vicinity.  If conversation takes place, however, again salute when the senior leaves or when you depart.

e. When passing an officer who is going in the same direction as you, come to the left and abreast of the officer, salute and say, “By your leave sir or ma’am.”  He or she will return the salute and say “Carry On” or “Granted.”  Finish your salute and pass ahead.

f. When armed with a rifle, the rifle salute is executed except if on guard duty when “Present Arms” is rendered.

g. Do not salute if you are engaged in work or physical training unless spoken to directly.

h. Upon the approach of a senior officer, individuals of a group not in formation are called to attention by the first person noticing the officer, and all come smartly to attention and salute.

i. You will not salute indoors, except when under arms or under battle conditions.

j. Individuals in formation do not salute except at the command “Present Arms,” which is commanded by the individual in charge.

k. You will salute all officers in their government or personal vehicles, but give no verbal greeting.  The D.O.D. sticker on the front left hand bumper or center windshield of an officer’s vehicle will be blue.  You will salute that vehicle regardless of who the driver is and whether or not he or she is in uniform.


l. You will salute the white government cars that the Regimental Commander and the Depot Commander ride in.

l)  Regimental Commander.  The Regimental Commander’s car has a scarlet license plate with the title “C.O. RTR” on the front and rear of it.

2)  Depot Commander.  The Depot Commander has a scarlet license plate with the Marine Corps Emblem and one five point star on it.


The command is hand, SALUTE; TWO.

  1. When SALUTE is given,
    • raise your right hand smartly in the most direct manner until the tip of your forefinger touches the lower part of the headdress above and slightly to the right of your right eye.
    • Your thumb and fingers should be straight and touch each other.
    • You should be able to see your entire palm when looking straight ahead.
    • Your upper arm should be level with the deck and forearm at a 45-degree angle.
    • Your wrist and hand should be straight, a continuation of the line made by your forearm.
    • At the same time, if not in ranks, turn your head and eyes toward the person or color you are saluting.
  2. At the command TWO, return to attention.
    • Move your hand smartly in the most direct manner back to its normal position by your side.
    • To insure simultaneous execution of the second movement of the hand salute when troops are in formation, the preparatory command, “ready” will be used prior to the command of execution, TWO.

You may salute without command from attention, while walking, or while seated in a vehicle. When walking, it is not necessary to halt to salute. Keep walking, but at attention. The salute is rendered when the person or color to he saluted is six paces distant, or at the nearest point of approach if it is apparent that he/she (it) is going to approach to within six paces. The salute will not be rendered if the person (color) to be saluted does not approach within thirty paces. Hold the first position of the salute until the person (color) saluted has passed or the salute is returned; then execute the second movement of the hand salute.

Whenever the command present, ARMS is given (since Young Marines do not bear arms), you will execute the hand salute on the command ARMS. Stay at that position until the command ARMS of order, ARMS is given. This salute is normally used during parades, ceremonies, etc. whenever there are male marines carrying arms present. Whichever command is given — present, ARMS or hand SALUTE –Young Marines will acknowledge said command.



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