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Personal Salutes and Honors

Ceremony and parade requirements (in order of precedence)

The following information is an extract from AR 600-25, Salutes, Honors and Visits of Courtesy


The table below lists the military and civilian personnel entitled to honors, together with the number of guns, ruffles and flourishes, and prescribed music for each.  The music indicated in the table below will follow the ruffles and flourishes without pause. Unless otherwise directed, civilian officials of the Department of Defense (DOD) and military departments receive the final 32 bars of "The Stars and Stripes Forever."

Foreign military officials listed in the table below, holding positions equivalent to those of DOD and military department officials, both military and civilian, will be rendered the honors to which the equivalent U.S. official is entitled, regardless of actual military rank. All other foreign military persons will receive the honors due their actual rank or its U.S. Army equivalent. In the case of foreign dignitaries who are the equivalent of civilian officials of DOD and military department officials, "Hands Across the Sea" should be substituted for the 32-bar excerpt from "The Stars and Stripes Forever."

A designated representative of an official entitled to honors will be afforded honors based on the representative's rank.

Reduction of ceremonial honors for official visits to field installations

In the interest of economy and efficiency, ceremonies such as parades, guard mounts, motorcades, and other activities involving large numbers of personnel and equipment will be held to an absolute minimum when officials entitled to such honors visit military installations on field trips. In general, full honors will be reserved for statutory appointees and general or flag officers of the Armed Forces of the United States (to include retirees), for foreign dignitaries, and on occasions when such ceremonies promote international good will.

Department of the Army officials entitled to ceremonial honors as specified in the table below will provide adequate advance notice to the appropriate installation commander of an impending official visit. Notification will include information such as the general purpose of the visit, items or areas of particular interest to the visitor, and which ceremonies may be dispensed with during the visit. All visitors are encouraged to decline routine honors unless a ceremony serves a useful purpose. Officials of the DOD and of the other military departments may be expected to conform to this practice.

Commanders who receive requests to omit ceremonies will comply with such requests unless special local circumstances indicate that ceremonies should be rendered, in which case the commander will so advise the visitor.

Normally an aide, duty officer, or designated escort officer will meet important visiting officials when they arrive and escort them to the field commander's headquarters, if appropriate, to be welcomed and to conduct the official business of the visit.

Nothing in this AR 600-25 will be construed as discouraging formal welcoming ceremonies when planned by an appropriate authority for specific objectives and purposes, such as improving morale or maintaining national prestige, nor does this paragraph minimize regulation protocol observed within the military chain of command.

When and how rendered


Except in the case of the President, a former President, or President-elect of the United States, honors are rendered only when the persons listed in the first paragraph of this page and the table below are officially visiting a military installation. Senior commanders visiting their own installations or posts are not normally rendered honors.

Honors will not be rendered between retreat and reveille, on Sundays, or on national holidays (except Memorial Day and Independence Day) unless, at the discretion of the commander directing the honors, the occasion requires an exception. The person or persons will be honored at the first available opportunity thereafter.

As a rule, only soldiers assigned to garrison duty render honors.

If honors are to be rendered, the commander (or a person senior to or of the same grade as the installation commander), will meet the visitor upon arrival at the installation's entrance and will escort the visitor to the installation's exit at departure. If a dignitary senior to the person arriving or departing is already present, the installation commander will detail another officer to represent him. When honors are to be rendered a person junior to the installation commander, the latter may detail another officer to meet and escort the visiting person.

When 2 or more persons entitled to honors arrive at or depart from an installation at the same time, only the senior will receive honors.

Any official or officer holding 2 or more positions (civil or military), 1 of which entitles him or her to honors, will receive only the honors due the highest grade. In no event will the same person be honored in more than 1 capacity.

Cannon salutes to persons.

The time interval between rounds in a cannon salute will be 3 seconds except as follows:

  • When honors are rendered at funerals, in which case the cannon salute will be fired at 5 second intervals.
  • When such interval is in conflict with prescribed safety regulations for the type of cannon employed.
  • When such interval is not feasible considering condition of ammunition and materiel, number of guns available, proficiency of gun crews, atmospheric conditions, and other local limitations.

As a rule, the firing of a salute will begin at the time the person entitled to it enters the installation and, if entitled to a salute on departing, the last round will be fired as the individual leaves the installation.

Cannon salutes generally will be rendered only to officers and officials of 4 star or equivalent grade or higher. Cannon salutes for officers and officials of lower than 4 star or equivalent grade may be rendered on special occasions when so ordered by the major commander concerned, or in the case of foreign dignitaries, may be ordered by DA at the request of the Department of State.

Cannon salutes to officers and officials of 4 star or equivalent grade or higher will be rendered on the occasion of each official visit if requested. Salutes to officers and officials of lesser grade will not be fired at the same place in compliment to the same person more than once in a calendar year unless, in the meantime, such person has been advanced in grade.

When the cannon salute is an integral part of other honors (ruffles and flourishes and appropriate music), the band and the firing battery will be coordinated so that the first round of the salute is fired simultaneously with the first note of music. Military personnel being saluted and other military personnel in the ceremonial party will render the hand salute during the playing and firing. Civilian personnel being honored and other civilians in the ceremonial party will stand at attention. Personnel on security duty will not render honors.

Honor Guard. See FM 3-21.5, paragraph 12-1.


Ceremony and parade requirements (in order of precedence)

Grade, title, or office Number of guns: arrival Number of guns: depart Ruffles and flourishes Music
President 21 21 4 National anthem or "Hail to the Chief," as appropriate
Former President or President-elect 21 21 4 National anthem
Sovereign or chief of state of a foreign country or member of reigning royal family 21 21 4 National anthem of foreign country
Vice President 19 NONE 4 "Hail Columbia"
Speaker of the House of Representatives; Cabinet member, President pro tempore of U.S. Senate; governor of a State, or Chief Justice of the United States 19 NONE 4 Honors March 1
American or foreign ambassador, or high commissioner while in country to which accredited 19 NONE 4 National anthem of the United States or official's country
Premier or Prime Minister 19 NONE 4 National anthem of official's country
Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force, or Under Secretaries of Defense 19 19 4 Honors March 1
Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General of the Army, Fleet Admiral, General of the Air Force; Chief and Vice Chief of Staff, Army; Chief and Vice Chief of Naval Operations; Chief and Vice Chief of Staff, Air Force; or Commandant and Assistant Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps 19 19 4 Honors March 2, 3, or 4
Chairman of a Committee of Congress 17 NONE 4 Honors March 1
Assistant Secretaries of Defense and General Counsel of the Department of Defense; Under Secretary of the Army, Navy, or Air Force; Assistant Secretaries of the Army, Navy, or Air Force 17 17 4 Honors March 1
Generals or admirals (4 star) 17 17 4 Honors March 2, 3, or 4
Governors of a territory of foreign possession within the limits of their jurisdiction or American ambassadors having returned to the United States on official business 17 NONE 4 Honors March 1
American envoys, American ambassadors having returned to the United States but not on official business, or ministers and foreign envoys, or ministers accredited in the United States 15 NONE 3 Honors March 1


Lieutenant generals, vice admirals 15 NONE 3 Honors March 2, 3, or 4
Major general or rear admiral (upper half) 13 NONE 2 Honors March 2, 3, or 4
American ministers resident and ministers resident accredited to the United States 13 NONE 2 Honors March 1
American charges d'affaires and charges d'affaires accredited to the United States 11 NONE 1 Honors March 1
Brigadier generals or rear admirals (lower half) 11 NONE 1 Honors March 1 or 2
Consuls general accredited to the United States 11 NONE NONE Honors March 1
  • Honors March 1: The 32-bar medley of "The Stars and Stripes Forever."
  • Honors March 2: "General's March."
  • Honors March 3: "Admiral's March."
  • Honors March 4: "FLAG OFFICER'S MARCH." (This march is the prescribed music for flag officers (admirals) of the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Coast Guard and general officers (generals) of the U.S. Marine Corps.)