Reveille, Retreat and Taps at Hill AFB

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Vernon Jackson, 75th Air Base Wing Command Chief

Editor’s note: The following is in response to an Action Line comment made about people on base ignoring the responsibility of paying respect to the flag.

HILL AIR FORCE BASE – I’m happy to address the question of proper customs and courtesies on Hill AFB, especially as I realize we are a diverse group of military, civilian and contractor employees and some may not know what is expected.

Nested in our Airman’s Creed are traditional customs and courtesies. Daily, we show respect to our legacy by way of reveille, retreat, and taps.

Please allow me to provide a brief description of these events and a refresher of what’s expected of us all, in and out of uniform.

Reveille is played at 7:30 a.m. to signal the start of the official duty day and precedes the playing of To the Colors.

When the bugle sounds, service members, who are outdoors and in uniform, are to immediately stop any activity, face the installation flag or music if the flag is not in view, and assume the position of parade rest. Then, upon the first note of To the Colors, render a hand salute until the conclusion of the song.

There are no formal procedures for civilians and non-uniformed service members, while outdoors during the playing of reveille. During the playing of To the Colors, they should remove all non-religious headdress using their right hand and hold the non-religious headdress over their left shoulder as their right hand lays over the heart.

Motorists should remain in their vehicle, pull to the side of the road, turn on their hazard signal, and sit in silence until To the Colors concludes.

Retreat is played at 5 p.m. to signal the end of the official duty day and precedes the playing of the National Anthem.

The expectations are the same as they are for Reveille except military members in uniform render the hand salute and civilians and non-uniformed service members perform their actions on the first note of the National Anthem instead of To the Colors.

Taps is played at 9 p.m. to signal installation quiet hours and to honor service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice, their lives.

While there are no formal procedures for the playing of taps, when outdoors, remaining in silence until the conclusion of taps is customary.

As the Airman’s Creed indicates, I am a faithful to a proud heritage, a tradition of honor and a legacy of valor.

I highly encourage my fellow Team Hill members to proudly follow these traditions of honor every time.