The White Sands Missile Range Garrison Command Team wants to remind the community that proper customs and courtesies are required and expected during reveille and retreat. WSMR Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. William Wofford said he recently revisited Army Codes and regulations to ensure WSMR is doing “the right thing, the right way, at the right time.”
“As the Garrison Command Sergeants Major of WSMR, serving alongside civil servants, Department of the Army civilians, contractors and families, I feel it’s important that we remember tradition and render proper honors to our flag,” he said. “Properly rendering honors to the U.S. flag during Reveille and Retreat is an important custom that some have forgotten. Col. Brown and I feel the WSMR community should never take this tradition for granted.”
WSMR Garrison Commander Col. Dave Brown has instructed the guards to temporarily close the gates during reveille and retreat to ensure proper respect is given to the American flag and to ensure the safety of motorists. Bugle calls have also been added throughout the day in order to tie the installation closer to Army’s heritage and traditions. The day will continue to start with “First Call” and will end with “Taps.”
“We have the opportunity to honor our service members each and every day by stopping and rendering the proper courtesies when reveilles and retreats are played,” Wofford said.
What is Reveille and Retreat?
The terms “Reveille” and “Retreat” can refer both to the ceremony that is used to show respect to the flag and to the music that initiates the event. Reveille and retreat ceremonies are conducted daily.
“Reveille” is a 25-second bugle call that is played at 6:30 a.m. and signifies the beginning of the official-duty day. A single cannon salute can be fired from a modified field gun on the first notes of “Reveille.”
“Retreat” is a 29-second bugle call that signifies the end of the duty day and is normally played at 5 p.m. It also serves to convey that the flag is being secured. The bugle call can be followed by a single cannon salute and by the playing of “To the Color.” “To the Color” is a 42-second bugle call to render honors to the nation.
“Hopefully, you will take a minute or two out of your busy day and reflect on the flag of this great country we live in. You will stop and remember all of the men and women who have given their lives for the freedoms that we so often take for granted,” said Master Sgt. Mark Lyle in a 2007 Reveille and Retreat commentary piece printed in the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
What do I do when “Reveille” or “Retreat” and “To the Color” is played?
During reveille and retreat ceremonies all personnel participating in outdoor activity, to include walking and individual or unit physical training, should stop their activity to show respect for the flag. This is in accordance with Army Regulation 600-25, Salutes, Honors, and Visits of Courtesy. At the first notes of “Reveille” or “Retreat” individuals should stop where you are and turn to face the flag unless the flag is not visible. In such cases individuals should turn in the general direction of the flag or toward the direction of the music.
What do I do as a civilian?
Civilian personnel should stand with the right hand over the heart. For “Retreat” you should stand after the first notes and place the right hand over the heart for the duration of “To the Color.” Civilians wearing a hat should remove it with the right hand and hold it at the left shoulder while the right hand is over the heart.
What do I do as a service member?
Service members in uniform should come to attention and salute at the first notes of “Reveille” in the morning and parade rest at the first notes of “Retreat” in the evening. Service members should also come to attention and salute at the first notes of “To the Color.”
Service members who are not in uniform should come to attention and place the right hand over the heart at the first notes of “Reveille” and “To the Color,”; and parade rest at the first notes of “Retreat.” Hat procedures are the same as with civilians and service-members in uniform. Even if a service members or a veteran is not in uniform, he or she may still render a salute during reveille or retreat ceremonies. During all ceremonies involving the national anthem or hoisting, lowering or passing of the flag, members of the military and veterans who are present but not in uniform may now render the hand salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform, in accordance with Section 301(b)(1) of title 36, United States Code.
What do I do if I’m driving at the time of reveille or retreat?
All individuals in vehicles on the installation, including motorcyclists and bicyclists, will come to a stop at a safe location. Civilians may either remain respectfully in their vehicle or exit and render honors. Service members who are in a vehicle during “Reveille” or “Retreat” are required to stop and dismount their vehicle to render honors. If service members are with a group in a military vehicle or bus are not required to dismount the vehicle. The individual in charge should dismount and salute.
“We have the opportunity to honor them each and every day by stopping and rendering the proper courtesies when ‘Reveille’ and ‘Retreat’ are played,” Lyle said in his commentary. “‘Reveille’ takes only 110 seconds and ‘Retreat’ 122 seconds. Both are small sacrifices for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Bugle Calls Schedule at White Sands Missile Range
Monday through Friday Saturday Sunday
6:20 a.m. First Call
6:30 a.m. Reveille
6:45 a.m. Assembly
7 a.m. Mess Call
9 a.m. Church Call
12 p.m. Recall
12:01 p.m. Mess Call
4:45 p.m. First Call First Call First Call
4:55 p.m. Assembly Assembly Assembly
5 p.m. Retreat/Colors Retreat Retreat/National Anthem
5:04 p.m. Recall
5:45 p.m. Mess Call
8 p.m. Tattoo Tattoo Tattoo
9:45 p.m. Call to Quarters Call to Quarters Call to Quarters
10 p.m. Taps Taps Taps
WSMR Commander Col. Dave Brown and WSMR Command Sgt. Maj. William Wofford contributed to the article.