Military courtesy shows respect and reflects self-discipline. Consistent and proper military courtesy is an indicator of unit discipline, as well. Soldiers demonstrate courtesy in the way we address officers or NCOs of superior rank. Some other simple but visible signs of respect and selfdiscipline are as follows:
- When talking to an officer of superior rank, stand at attention until ordered otherwise.
- When you are dismissed, or when the officer departs, come to attention and salute.
- When speaking to or being addressed a noncommissioned officer of superior rank, stand at parade rest until ordered otherwise.
- When an officer of superior rank enters a room, the first soldier to recognize the officer calls personnel in the room to attention but does not salute. A salute indoors is rendered only when reporting. …� When an NCO of superior rank enters the room, the first soldier to recognize the NCO calls the room to “At ease.”
- Walk on the left of an officer or NCO of superior rank.
- When entering or exiting a vehicle, the junior ranking soldier is the first to enter, and the senior in rank is the first to exit.
- When outdoors and approached by an NCO, you greet the NCO by saying, “Good morning, Sergeant,” for example.
- The first person who sees an officer enter a dining facility gives the order “At ease,” unless a more senior officer is already present. Many units extend this courtesy to senior NCOs, also.
- When you hear the command “At ease” in a dining facility, remain seated, silent and continue eating unless directed otherwise.
When you report to an officer of superior rank, approach the officer to whom you are reporting and stop about two steps from him, assuming the position of attention. Give the proper salute and say, for example, “Sir, Private Smith reports.” If you are indoors, use the same procedures as above, except remove your headgear before reporting. If you are armed, however, do not remove your headgear.
A soldier addressing a higher ranking officer uses the word sir or ma’am in the same manner as a polite civilian speaking with a person to whom he wishes to show respect. In the military service, the matter of who says sir or ma’am to whom is clearly defined; in civilian life it is largely a matter of discretion. In the case of NCOs and soldiers, we address them by their rank because they’ve earned that rank.
Simple courtesy is an important indicator of a person’s bearing, discipline, and manners. It is a fact that most people respond positively to genuine politeness and courtesy. Walk down a street in most towns and cities and see the response you get from people when you just say “good morning.” It is no different for soldiers. Some units substitute the greeting with their unit motto, such as “Deeds, not Words,” or “Keep up the Fire.” These reiterate pride in the unit and demonstrate the discipline and professionalism of a unit’s soldiers.