Customs and Curtiousies

Marine customs are simply desirable courses of action sanctioned by tradition and usage. In the Marine Corps, practically every custom has grown out of the manner in which Marines of the past conducted themselves. Many Marine customs have been incorporated into regulations in order to standardize conduct throughout the Corps, but some of them cannot be found in written directives. Knowing and observing these customs, both written and unwritten, is important to each Marine because it keeps him mindful of the heritage and traditions of his Corps, and of his duty to uphold them.

In addition, it makes him feel that he is a part of the team and helps to create the strong bond of loyalty between him and all other Marines that has become a distinguishing mark of the Corps. Have you ever wondered why your kid stands at attention when they are playing the National Anthem when you are at a sporting event? You might ask why don’t you put your hand over your heart? Or, why are you so stiff? I know I have received those questions.

Lots of military customs and courtesies go unknown to a significant portion of this Nation’s population particularly when members of our Corps silently bey those time honored traditions while in civilian clothes. Here is a short list of things you may or may not know: The National Anthem. When played, the service member will stand at attention. If covered while in uniform, the service member will salute the National Ensign (our flag). It is also appropriate for the service member to turn and face the flag during the playing of the National Anthem.

The appropriate civilian action is to place your right hand over your heart and stand still while facing the flag. Passing of the National Ensign. It is fitting to render proper honors to the Nation’s ymbol by standing when the flag passes. You will see this at parades or during a Command Review. For Marines in uniform and covered, rendering a salute is also proper. The Salute. Its history dates back a long way and there are several versions of why it exists.

All theories agree on one thing, it is a courtesy that is offered when two individuals pass, similar to the tipping of a hat to acknowledge the presence of a lady. In the military, the salute is a greeting between an officer and an enlisted member or between a Junior officer and senior officer. All services, to include the Coast Guard, recognize saluting procedures. Some services apply different constraints on when a salute is rendered. For example, in the Marine Corps, a member will only salute while wearing a cover.

In the Army, saluting in Physical Training clothing is appropriate although no cover exists. For all services, the salute begins with the Junior rendering the salute and the senior returning the salute. The sir. This is also the appropriate military greeting for Marines when not covered. Service Songs. Service songs are as historic as the service herself and most military embers take great pride in hearing their song played. For Marines, we consider our “Marine’s Hymn” to be a song that tells our lore and for most, it makes us swell up with pride when we hear it.

Accordingly, we stand at attention when it is played. We also recognize our service within the Department of the Navvy and therefore find it fitting to render the same honor to “Anchors Aweigh”. You will hear both songs played at formal settings such as a Sergeant Major Post and Relief or a Change of Command ceremony. Appropriate civilian action during a service song is to sit and listen with pride. Of course, we’d love to see you stand beside us and know that you too are probably swelling up with pride for the love of your Marine.

Marine Corps Birthday. One of the most famous Marine customs is the observance of the Marine Corps Birthday. Since 1921 the birthday of the Marine Corps has been officially celebrated each year on 10 November, since it was on this date in 1775 that Continental Congress resolved, “That two Battalions of Marines be raised…. ” Over the years the Marine Corps Birthday has been celebrated in a wide variety of ways, depending on the location and circumstances of the Marine units.

The celebration involves the reading of an excerpt from the Marine Corps Manual and a birthday message from the Commandant; the cutting of a birthday cake by the commanding officer; and the presentation of the first and second pieces of cake to the oldest and youngest Marines present. Recently, the ceremony for the observance of the Marine Corps Birthday by large posts and stations has been incorporated into written directives. Nautical Terms. Many of the Marine Corps customs are derived from the many years of service afloat. Even ashore Marines customarily use nautical terms.

Floors are decks,” walls are “bulkheads,” ceilings, “overheads,” corridors, “passageways. ” The order “Gangway! ” is used to clear the way for an officer ashore, Just as it is afloat. Among other terms in common usage are: “two-block” -to tighten or center (as a necktie); “square-away” – to correctly arrange articles or to take in hand and direct an individual;” “head” – a bathroom; “scuttle-but” -a drinking fountain, also an unconfirmed rumor. In the Marine Corps, the nautical expression “Aye, Aye, Sir” is used when acknowledging a verbal order. “Yes, Sir” and “No, Sir” are used in answer to direct questions.

Aye, Aye, Sir” is not used in answer to questions as this expression is reserved solely for acknowledgement of orders. Reporting Your Post. A custom which affects the guard is the manner in which a sentry reports his post to the officer of the day, or to the officers and noncommissioned officers of the guard. The customary procedure is for the sentry to salute or come to present arms and say, “Sir, Private reports Post Number all secure. Post and orders remain the same. Nothing unusual to report. ” This custom has almost universal use throughout the Marine Corps. It is a word of mouth.

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