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Pathfindersonline • View topic - Salute or not salute....

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 Post subject: Salute or not salute....
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 12:19 pm 
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I need some advice, and maybe a few places to look, in order to answer a question that I'm pretty sure I already know the answer to.

When raising or lowering the US Flag, the color guard does not salute the Flag, but rather follows it with their eyes. Am I wrong or right? I was trained that the color guard does not salute, even after the Flag is going up the pole. Also, when presenting the colors on a stage, should the Flags remain out of the stands until after the Pledge has been said?

I'm bringing this up because the club that is our current Conference Color Guard is constantly saluting the Flag when they are in formation at Flag Raising/Lowering, and they also post the colors, salute, and then we have the Pledge.

I know that the Pathfinder Drill Manual says that a Color Guard does not salute. Do any of the military manuals say otherwise?

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 12:29 pm 
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IMO, it doesn't matter what other manuals say if the PF Drill Manual is not silent on a matter. But I defer to the many members of this forum who are experts in all matters pertaining to drill.

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 8:15 pm 
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"E. When the captain and his helpers have the flag ready to raise, the counselor notifies the
director. The director then calls the Pathfinder to attention and commands PRESENT, ARMS.
The captain and his helpers then quickly raise the flag to the peak of the pole (If there is a bugler
present, he plays “TO the Color” at the command PRESENT, ARMS.) When the flag reaches
the peak of the pole (or at the conclusion of “TO the Color”) the director commands ORDER,
ARMS. The Pathfinder engaged in raising (lowering) the flag secure the lanyard without
command. They do not salute."
(Source: NAD Pathfinder Drill Manual. Page 23)

It would appear that the NAD Pathfinder Drill Manual does indeed state that those who are rasing and lowering the flag. The USMC & Air Force Manuals do state that those raising or lowering the flag should execute a hand salute. The Army manual didn't say (or I'm too tired to read correctly) whether or not to salute when raising or lowering the colors.

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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 12:39 pm 
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I believe I must clarify what the Pathfinder Drill Manual says about the color guard. I must also make a very important distinction between a so called "Pathfinder Color Guard" and a "Military Color Guard. The difference comes in the form of guards. All military color guards have some form of guards or escorts. Many pathfinder color guards do not employ these because Pathfinders do not carry any resemblance to weapons(real or not). That is the reason why Pathfinders have not become accustom to using guards. When military manuals say the color guard salutes, they are referring also to the guards that accompany the flags. The flag bearers and halyard pullers are another matter. They have much more leeway on the subject and I believe it changes from command to command. The issue must be resolved at the level of rules for saluting. All military manuals that I have read indicate that saluting is optional when the person is engaged in activity that prevents safely rendering honors and could not stop safely. For example, a person driving a car is not required to salute a superior in the interest of safety and keeping their hands on the wheel. It would be similar in this case. halyard pullers do not want to let go of the rope, and flag bearers want to keep both hands on the ferrule in the interest of stability.

To summarize, the military manuals regard the color guard as being made up of more than just flag bearers and the rules of saluting applies to all. It is my opinion that the Pathfinder Drill Manual refers only to those who are in direct contact with the flag and it would be a problem for them to try and salute with the rest of the group do. To try to answer the question, I think that it would be up to the individual situation to determine if there was a "correct way." it might help to know if there was a particular scenario that was questionable. In these matters I always go with the rule: "Always treat the National Colors with respect and show no dishonor." It would seem that any situation where one could safely salute the colors would be an appropriate time to do so.

I hope that helps to answer the question. I look forward to the opinions of others on the forum.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:02 pm 
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Here is the situation:

Conference Color Guard is raising the Colors on a flagpole. The command "Present Arms" is given to the assembly, and the Color Guard, once they release the Flag, immediately salute. The way I was taught was that as a part of the Color Guard, I do not salute when the flag starts going up the pole. Same with lowering the flag, my hands need to be prepared to recieve the flag when it comes down. A bit difficult when I'm saluting.

And then here is another situation:

Conference Color Guard carries in the Colors. "Present Arms" is given, and the Color Guard is instructed to Post Colors. Then they step back and salute the flags. After "Order Arms", they leave the stage, and then we have the Pledge of Alliegence. Again, I've gotten use to having the Colors still be in the hands of the Color Guard as the Pledge is being recited, then Post the Colors.

My fear is that we in the Oregon Conference are being taught an incorrect way of saluting. I researched other areas and organizations on this subject, and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts do it two different ways. Perhaps this is the source of information that others are using. If that is the case, we should follow Pathfinder guidelines, not Scouts.

But that is just my opinion. I'll be watching the Drill competitions at Oshkosh for ideas.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:20 pm 
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Ah, I think I have a better picture now.

It sounds like whoever trains your Conference Color guard is utilizing US Army procedures for raising and lowering flags at a fixed pole. The Army does salute when the flag is being raised and when the flag is being lowered. These regulations can be found in FM 3-21.5, Appendix K, paragraphs K-1 and K-2. Having not seen the ceremony myself, I cannot say for certain if these are the procedures your conference color guard is using but from what you've said, it seems like that would be plausible. In the absence of better explanation in the Pathfinder Drill Manual, I would think that these procedures would be correct. I must point out that these procedures do not conflict with the procedure suggested in the Pathfinder Drill Manual. In paragraph E on page 31 of the manual, it states that "The Pathfinders engaged in raising (lowering) the flag secure the halyard without command. They do not salute." The reference to not saluting only refers to members of the color guard who are actively engaged in raising or lowering the flag. At least that's my interpretation. Now, if they were trying to salute with one hand and handle the flag with the other, that would be a problem. :?

Now to the issue with posting colors indoors. Since there are no official Pathfinder regulations its open season on procedures. Unless your conference has implemented its own regulations, anything goes. Provided the proper respect is shown that is. I cannot think of any indoor military color guards that do not salute at some point. Each branch may do it a little differently but they still salute. In addition, saluting is a very acceptable way of showing respect or paying honor to something or someone.

The Pledge of Allegiance is something that is also kind of up for grabs. The Pledge of Allegiance is covered in the United States Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, Paragraph 4. It only states that persons saying the pledge should face towards the flag and render either the hand salute or salute with the hand over the heart. I know of no place where there are rules about when the pledge is said in relation to the color guard. I can see that it may make the program flow better if the pledge is said during the flag ceremony. However, in my conference, the decision about when to say the Pledge is made outside of the consultation of those involved with the flag ceremony. It may be a simple issue of mis-communication.

In all things relating to the flag, I always say that as long as you follow the cardinal rule, you are ok. This rule of course is: "No disrespect should be shown to the flag." Hope this has provided some more insight on the issue.

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