How Well Do You Know Military Etiquette?

By: Becky
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Are you a current or former member of the military, or are you just a student of military customs? If you are, or were, a member of the military, you know that there are all sorts of customs and rules of etiquette you need to/had to follow. These rules of etiquette can be interesting to the outside world, but the ones who live it know how tedious it can really be. Either way, you've navigated to this quiz because you think you know military etiquette relatively well, right? Let's get started to find out if you know as much as you think you do.

For military personnel and their spouses, knowing when and where to engage in one or more of the hundreds, maybe even thousands, of military etiquette rules is critical to avoid being embarrassed or even reprimanded. But, how on earth are you supposed to remember all the rules? Well, some of them, thankfully, are rules that, as Americans, most of us are at least somewhat familiar with - unless you've been living under a rock. But the requirements become even more important if you are a member of the military, as these rules of etiquette are designed to show respect to higher-ranking military members.

Are you ready to prove how much you know about military etiquette?

If you are a military member, which hand do you put over your heart when the flag passes?

If you're in the military, in uniform or not, you salute the flag. The "out of uniform" addition came about in the last 10 years.

In the US Navy, when one is on a ship, what should one do when an officer passes?

One should place one's back against the bulkhead of a ship when an officer passes. This act is called bracing.

When is it OK to talk during the national anthem?

It is never OK to talk during the national anthem. Show some respect, close your mouth, and salute during the national anthem.

On a military installation, at what time is the flag retired?

On a military installation, the flag is retired at 5pm. If you are on the base, you must show respect by saluting while facing the flag while the flag is being retired.

At a military gathering, does the spouse precede or follow his or her spouse through a receiving line?

At a military gathering, the service member's spouse should precede the service member through a receiving line. It is up to the service member to introduce the spouse.

What is played before the US flag is lowered?

Retreat is played before a US flag is lowered on a military base. Retreat may also be played during combat to signal to the troops to retreat.

True or False? In a row of flags, the flags of other nations should be flown lower than the US flag.

In a row of flags, the flags of other nations should be flown at the same level as the US flag. State and local flags, however, should be flown lower than the US flag.

In Ruffles and Flourishes, which is the Ruffle?

In Ruffles and Flourishes, the "ruffle" is a drum roll. Ruffles and Flourishes are played when someone is being honored, like the president.

If you are in Cleveland, Ohio, and you see a row of flags that include the US flag, the flag of the State of Ohio, and the flag of Cleveland, should all of the flags be flown at the same level?

In any scenario, state and local flags should be displayed lower than the US flag. However, if there are flags of other nations, those are flown at the same level as the US flag.

What is played at sunrise on a military base?

Reveille is played at sunrise on a military base. Taps is played at dusk.

What is the position of a flag that is halfway between the top and the bottom of the flagstaff?

The reference of half-staff means that the flag is flown precisely halfway between the bottom and the top of the flagstaff. The flag should be raised to the top and then lowered to the halfway point.

What should one do with a worn flag?

When a flag has become worn out, it is appropriate to burn it. The ashes should be buried once the flag has been completely burned.

True or False? It is OK to wear the flag.

It is not appropriate to wear the US flag. Non-military people do tend to play fast and loose with this rule, though, since many of us wear clothing with flags.

True or false? It's OK to let the flag touch the ground.

This is false. The US flag should never touch the ground. The flag should be carried appropriately.

True or False? You don't put your hand over your heart when the national anthem plays.

While civilians put their hand over the heart while the anthem plays, military members salute. This is done even if the flag is not present.

In what instance would one NOT salute a superior officer?

In some instances, it is preferable to avoid saluting a superior officer. Trained snipers use the salute as a way to target superiors.

What gesture of greeting is required if you are in uniform?

A salute is required if you are in uniform. If you are a veteran, it is optional.

Playing drums and bugles before Hail to the Chief is called what?

Ruffles and Flourishes are played on drums and bugles before Hail to the Chief is played. Specifically, four Ruffles and Flourishes are played before this tune.

When a junior officer and a senior officer meet, who should initiate a salute?

When a junior officer and a senior officer meet, it is the junior who should initiate a salute. The senior, however, is expected to return the salute.

True or False? It is not required for a junior officer in the Navy to salute a senior officer in the Army.

This is false. If you recognize a senior officer, you should always salute, regardless of the service.

When a group of junior officers salutes a senior officer, how should the salutes be initiated?

When a group of juniors recognizes a senior, all members of the group should salute simultaneously. Additionally, if the group is standing still, the first junior to spot the senior should call the group to attention.

What should you do if you hear Ruffles and Flourishes when you are inside?

If you are inside, and you hear Ruffles and Flourishes being played, you should face the individual being honored. If you are outside, you should also present arms.

Are members of a work detail required to salute a senior officer?

Members of a work detail are not required to salute an officer; they should continue working. However, the member in charge of the work detail is expected to salute the officer.

Are second lieutenants required to salute first lieutenants?

Second lieutenants are required to salute first lieutenants. There is a rule that there is no rank among lieutenants, but that does not apply here.

True or False? If a senior officer is not in uniform he/she is not required to return a salute.

This is false. A senior oficer is required to return a salute even if he/she is not in uniform.

Which of the following is used to identify a staff car?

Eagles and stars are used to identify staff cars on base. A placard may also be placed on the front of the vehicle, and a flag may be placed on the bumper. These are all ways to identify staff cars.

In a row of flags, the US flag should be where?

In a row of flags, the US flag should be on the right. The right is considered the position of prominence.

In Ruffles and Flourishes, which is the Flourish?

In Ruffles and Flourishes, the "flourish" is a trumpet fanfare. Ruffles and Flourishes are played when someone is being honored, like the president.

How many Ruffles and Florishes are played for a brigadier general?

One Ruffle and Flourish are played for a brigadier general. There is a maximum of four Ruffles and Flourishes for any individual, even the president.

If you are speaking to a senior officer, what should you say first and last?

If you are speaking to an officer, you should say sir/ma'am first and last. For instance, "Sir, reporting as ordered, sir," and "Ma'am, will that be all, ma'am."

True or False? A junior officer must hold a salute until it returned by the senior officer.

This is true. A junior must hold his/her salute until it is returned by the senior. This should occur both at the beginning of an exchange and at the end of it.

When the US flag is passing, when is it OK to stop saluting?

When you are outside and the US flag is passing, you are expected to begin your salute when the flag is within six paces of you. You may stop your salute after the flag has passed you by six paces.

What is played at dusk on a military base?

Taps is played at dusk on a military base. Reveille is played at sunrise.

True or False? Military personnel must always salute a stationary flag on a flagstaff.

This is false. It is not necessary to salute a US flag on a flagstaff unless it is being raised or lowered. You do not need to salute a stationary flag each time you pass it.

When walking, should the senior officer be on the right or the left of the junior officer?

When walking together, a senior officer should be on the right of a junior officer. The junior officer should make sure to give the senior officer enough walking room.

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