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Chapter 4

Customs, Courtesies, and Traditions

The Army is an organization that instills pride in its members because of its history, mission, capabilities, and the respect it has earned in the service of the Nation. A reflection of that pride is visible in the customs, courtesies, and traditions the Army holds. Adherence to them connects us with soldiers throughout America's history.

    The Hand Salute
    Rendering Honor to the Flag
    The Bugle Call
    Colors, Flags, and Guidons
    The Army Flag and Its Streamers
    The Campaigns of the United States Army
    Officer and NCO Privileges of Rank
    Lineage and Honors

For more information on Customs, Courtesies and Traditions see Army Regulation 600-20, Army Command Policy, paragraph 4-3; AR 600-25, Salutes, Honors and Visits of Courtesy; DA Pam 600-60, A Guide to Protocol and Etiquette; and FM 3-21.5, Drill and Ceremonies.

For more information on Department of the Army policy for unit and individual flags, guidons, and streamers see AR 840-10, Heraldic Activities-Flags, Guidons, Streamers, Tabards, and Automobile and Aircraft Plates.


4-1.     The Army has its own customs, both official and social. Some have been handed down from the distant past while others are of comparatively recent origin. Those customs that endure stand on their own merits. As a long established social organization, the Army observes a number of customs that add to the interest, pleasure, and graciousness of Army life.

Often it is these customs and traditions, strange to the civilian eye but solemn to the soldier, that keep the man in the uniform going in the unexciting times of peace. In war they keep him fighting at the front. The fiery regimental spirit fondly polished over decades and centuries possesses him in the face of the enemy. [The soldier] fights for the regiment, his battalion, his company, his platoon, his section, his comrade.4-1

4-2.     A custom is an established practice. Customs include positive actions-things you do, and taboos-things you avoid. All established arts, trades, and professions, all races of people, all nations, and even different sections of the same nation have their own practices and customs by which they govern a part of their lives.

4-3.     Many Army customs compliment procedures required by military courtesy, while others add to the graciousness of garrison life. The breach of some Army customs merely brands the offender as ignorant, careless, or ill bred. Violations of other Army customs, however, will bring official censure or disciplinary action. The customs of the Army are its common law. These are a few:


4-4.     Courtesy among members of the Armed Forces is vital to maintain discipline. Military courtesy means good manners and politeness in dealing with other people. Courteous behavior provides a basis for developing good human relations. The distinction between civilian and military courtesy is that military courtesy was developed in a military atmosphere and has become an integral part of serving in uniform.

4-5.     Most forms of military courtesy have some counterpart in civilian life. For example, we train soldiers to say sir or ma'am when talking to a higher ranking officer. Young men and women are sometimes taught to say sir to their fathers or ma'am to their mothers and likewise to other elders. It is often considered good manners for a younger person to say sir or ma'am when speaking to an older person. The use of the word sir is also common in the business world, such as in the salutation of a letter or in any well-ordered institution.

4-6.     Military courtesy is not a one-way street. Enlisted personnel are expected to be courteous to officers and likewise officers are expected to return the courtesy. Mutual respect is a vital part of military courtesy. In the final analysis, military courtesy is the respect shown to each other by members of the same profession. Some of the Army's more common courtesies include rendering the hand salute, standing at attention or parade rest, or even addressing others by their rank.


4-7.     The salute is not simply an honor exchanged. It is a privileged gesture of respect and trust among soldiers. Remember the salute is not only prescribed by regulation but is also recognition of each other's commitment, abilities, and professionalism.

4-8.     Some historians believe the hand salute began in late Roman times when assassinations were common. A citizen who wanted to see a public official had to approach with his right hand raised to show that he did not hold a weapon. Knights in armor raised visors with the right hand when meeting a comrade. This practice gradually became a way of showing respect and, in early American history, sometimes involved removing the hat. By 1820, the motion was modified to touching the hat, and since then it has become the hand salute used today. You salute to show respect toward an officer, flag, or our country.

4-9.     The salute is widely misunderstood outside the military. Some consider it to be a gesture of servility since the junior extends a salute to the senior, but we know that it is quite the opposite. The salute is an expression that recognizes each other as a member of the profession of arms; that they have made a personal commitment of self-sacrifice to preserve our way of life. The fact that the junior extends the greeting first is merely a point of etiquette-a salute extended or returned makes the same statement.

The Salute

1LT Thompson and his platoon's newest NCO, SGT Jemison, were walking toward the orderly room one morning. As they turned the corner and approached the building, PFC Robertson walked out carrying a large box. PFC Robertson said, "Good morning, sir," and kept walking past the two. As his hands were occupied, he didn't salute.

But 1LT Thompson saluted and replied with the unit motto, "First Tank!"

After the soldier had passed, SGT Jemison asked the lieutenant why he saluted since the soldier did not.

"He did by rendering the greeting of the day. If I had been carrying something and he wasn't, he would have saluted. It's a privilege, not a chore," said 1LT Thompson. "It's just as important for me to return a salute as for a soldier to render it."4-3

4-10.     The way you salute says a lot about you as a soldier. A proud, smart salute shows pride in yourself and your unit and that you are confident in your abilities as a soldier. A sloppy salute might mean that you're ashamed of your unit, lack confidence, or at the very least, that you haven't learned how to salute correctly.

4-11.     In saluting, turn your head and eyes toward the person or flag you are saluting. Bring your hand up to the correct position in one, smart motion without any preparatory movement. When dropping the salute, bring your hand directly down to its natural position at your side, without slapping your leg or moving your hand out to the side. Any flourish in the salute is improper.

4-12.     The proper way to salute when wearing the beret or without headgear is to raise your right hand until the tip of your forefinger touches the outer edge of your right eyebrow (just above and to the right of your right eye). When wearing headgear, the forefinger touches the headgear slightly above and to the right of your right eye. Your fingers are together, straight, and your thumb snug along the hand in line with the fingers. Your hand, wrist, and forearm are straight, forming a straight line from your elbow to your fingertips. Your upper arm (elbow to shoulder) is horizontal to the ground.

4-13.     All soldiers in uniform are required to salute when they meet and recognize persons entitled (by grade) to a salute except when it is inappropriate or impractical (in public conveyances such as planes and buses, in public places such as inside theaters, or when driving a vehicle). A salute is also rendered:

  • When the United States National Anthem, "To the Color," "Hail to the Chief," or foreign national anthems are played.
  • To uncased National Color outdoors.
  • On ceremonial occasions such as changes of command or funerals.
  • At reveille and retreat ceremonies, during the raising or lowering of the flag.
  • During the sounding of honors.
  • When pledging allegiance to the US flag outdoors.
  • When turning over control of formations.
  • When rendering reports.
  • To officers of friendly foreign countries.

4-14.     Salutes are not required when:

  • Indoors, unless reporting to an officer or when on duty as a guard.
  • A prisoner.
  • Saluting is obviously inappropriate. In any case not covered by specific instructions, render the salute.
  • Either the senior or the subordinate is wearing civilian clothes.

4-15.     In general, you don't salute when you are working (for example, under your vehicle doing maintenance), indoors (except when reporting), or when saluting is not practical (carrying articles with both hands, for example). A good rule of thumb is this: if you are outdoors and it is practical to salute, do so. Outdoors includes theater marquees, shelters over gas station pumps, covered walkways, and other similar shelters that are open on the sides.


4-16.     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 self-discipline 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.

4-17.     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.

Parade Rest

PV2 Robbs was new to the company and was on his way to see SGT Putnam, his section leader, for reception and integration counseling. SFC Stone, the platoon sergeant was present to monitor the counseling.

PV2 Robbs entered the room and immediately assumed the position of parade rest but before he could report, SGT Putnam said, "You don't have to do that."

But SFC Stone interjected, "Go ahead and stay at parade rest, Private, you're doing the right thing." He continued, "You both need to know we don't want to lower any standards, here. Standing at parade rest is what junior enlisted soldiers do when speaking with or being addressed by an NCO. And by the way, Sergeant, we NCOs stand at parade rest when speaking with NCOs of superior rank. Besides, you know the proper command would be 'at ease,' 'stand at ease,' or 'carry on.' OK?"

"Hooah, Sergeant Stone," said SGT Putnam and turned back to PV2 Robbs. "Welcome, Private Robbs. This is a great unit to soldier in."4-6-1

4-18.     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.

4-19.     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.

When I walk up to a soldier he should go to parade rest. Not because I'm better than he is, but because he respects who he is and who I am based on what we both do. It's professionalism.

SMA Jack L. Tilley4-6-2


4-20.     The flag of the United States is the symbol of our nation. The union, white stars on a field of blue, is the honor point of the flag. The union of the flag and the flag itself, when in company with other flags, are always given the honor position, which is on the right. The rules for displaying the flag are contained in AR 840-10, Heraldic Activities-Flags, Guidons, Streamers, Tabards, and Automobile and Aircraft Plates. Some of the rules for displaying the flag are as follows:

  • All Army installations will display the flag of the United States outdoors.
  • Continental United States (CONUS) Army installations will fly only one flag of the United States at a time except as authorized by the commanding generals of major Army commands.
  • Installations will display the flag daily from reveille to retreat.
  • When a number of flags are displayed from staffs set in a line, the flag of the United States will be at the right; to the left of an observer facing the display. If no foreign national flags are present, the flag of the United States may be placed at the center of the line providing it is displayed at a higher level.
  • When the flag of the United States is displayed with state flags, all of the state flags will be of comparable size.

4-21.     When the flag is being raised in the morning, you should stand at attention on the first note of "Reveille" and salute. In the evening "Retreat" is played prior to "To the Colors." ("Colors" refer to the flag of the United States and can also include the unit flag). When you hear the first note of "Retreat" come to the position of attention and face the flag (or the direction the music is coming from if the flag is not visible). Render the hand salute at the first note of "To the Colors." You normally face the flag when saluting, unless duty requires you to face in some other direction. At the conclusion of the music, resume your regular duties. If you are involved in some duty that would be hampered by saluting, you do not need to salute.

4-22.     When in a formation or a group, the senior soldier present will call the group to "Attention" and then "Parade, Rest" at the first note of "Retreat." That soldier will then call the group to "Attention" and "Present, Arms" at the first note of "To the Colors" and then "Order, Arms" at the conclusion. When in civilian clothing, the only change is to place your right hand over your heart instead of saluting. Vehicles in motion should stop. If you are in a car or on a motorcycle, dismount and salute. If you are with a group in a military vehicle or bus, remain in the vehicle. The individual in charge will dismount and salute. These honors also apply to the national anthems of foreign countries during ceremonies or parades.

4-23.     When you are passing or being passed by colors that are being presented, paraded, or displayed, salute when the colors are six paces from you. Hold the salute until the colors are six paces beyond you.

4-24.     The Pledge of Allegiance is not recited in military formations or in military ceremonies. At other functions where the Pledge of Allegiance is recited, a soldier in uniform silently stands at attention facing the flag and renders the hand salute if outdoors. Indoors a soldier in uniform silently stands at attention facing the flag. Where other participants are primarily civilians or in civilian attire, soldiers in uniform indoors may recite the pledge if they desire. A soldier in civilian clothing recites the pledge while standing at attention, facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Male soldiers should remove headgear with their right hand and hold it over the left shoulder so that the right hand is over the heart.


4-25.     Tradition is a customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior help by an identifiable group of people. It is information, beliefs, and customs handed down by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction. Our military traditions are really the "Army Way" of doing and thinking. An interesting thing about traditions is that many of our Army traditions started out as something quite different from what they are now.

4-26.     Military tradition is an interesting and often amusing subject. It gives a soldier a feeling of pride to understand just why we do things the way we do. Traditions are expressed in the things we do, the uniform we wear, and the things we say. Many of the words we use in the Army are unique and have been added to our vocabulary from different parts of the world and at different times in history.

4-27.     Army traditions are the things that everyone in the Army does, everywhere. Unit traditions are the unique things that you do in your unit that other units may or may not do. Some unit traditions are-

  • Ceremonial duties. Soldiers of the Old Guard, the 3d Infantry, have been Sentinels of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier since 1948.
  • The green berets of the Army's Special Forces.
  • Airborne units' maroon beret.
  • Cavalry units' spurs and hats.
  • Special designations (authorized unit nicknames) such as Cottonbalers, the 7th Infantry Regiment.
  • Distinctive items of clothing worn in your unit such as headgear, belt buckles, and tankers' boots.
  • The promotion party.
  • Unit mottoes such as "Victory!" or "Send me!"
  • "Hooah!" This informal but always understood sound is less a word than an audible affirmation of the warrior ethos. The soldier that utters that sound understands his task and will not quit until it is completed. That sound means soldiers are ready and willing to accomplish the mission at hand.


4-28.     The music you hear at various hours of the day (for example, "Reveille," "Retreat," and "Taps") or during ceremonies (funerals, change of command, etc.) has come to us from the days when bugles were used to communicate orders to large groups of soldiers on noisy battlefields. Military buglers have been communicating with soldiers for centuries. Bugle calls told troops when to go to bed, when to wake up, when to eat, when to attack, and when to retreat. There were stable calls, water calls, drill calls, sick calls, and church calls on Sunday.

4-29.     The Twilight Tattoo is a time honored military tradition that dates back to the British Army 300 years ago when bugle calls were designed to notify the troops to return to the barracks from the local towns. The familiar tune of "Tattoo" signaled tavern owners to "doe den tap toe" or "turn off the taps." The troops knew the call meant "taps off," and minutes later they were back in their tents.

4-30.     Bugles were first used for signaling in America by the British army during the Revolutionary War. The sound of the bugle made it possible to convey commands over a great distance and could usually be heard above the roar of battle. Right up to the beginning of the First World War, bugles were important tools in the control of units.

Bugler from the Army Band

Bugler from the Army Band4-9

4-31.     As weapons became more lethal, with longer ranges, and required greater dispersal of units, bugles lost effectiveness in controlling units. But the Army still retains bugles and the music with which they communicate to soldiers is another reminder of our heritage. With every note of Reveille or Retreat we call to mind our common bond with soldiers of the Continental Army and the sacrifices soldiers have made ever since. You can hear the bugle calls still used today on the Army Homepage at www.army.mil/armyband/listen/spirit.htm.


4-32.     The National and organizational flags carried by Color-bearing units are called the National Color and the organizational color respectively (the word color is capitalized when referring to the National flag only). When used singularly, the term "Color" implies the National Color. The term "Colors" means the national and organizational colors.

4-33.     The Colors originated as a means of battlefield identification and performed this function for many years. The old rank of Ensign-originally an Army title, now used only in the Navy-was assigned to the regiment's junior officer who carried the flag (ensign) into battle. Because the color party marched into battle at the front and center of the regiment, casualties were high. Victories in the old days were sometimes expressed in terms of the number of enemy colors captured. The practice of carrying colors into battle persisted through the American Civil War; the last Medals of Honor awarded during this conflict were for capturing Confederate colors. Modern armies now carry colors only in ceremonies.

. a small group of Union soldiers, held prisoners by the Confederates, made a Stars and Stripes from their own clothing, flew it for a few minutes from the rafters of the old warehouse in which they were imprisoned, and then tore it into 22 pieces, one for each man who helped make it. Every one then hid the piece of flag in his clothing and took it with him when released from prison. In the years following the war, the pieces were finally recovered and sewed together again to form the flag, which is still in existence.

FM 21-13, The Soldier's Guide, 1952

4-34.     Regiments and separate battalions are the only units that carry colors. Divisions, brigades and other organizations have a distinguishing standard that shows the shoulder-sleeve insignia. Company-size units carry guidons (small flags) in the colors of their branches.

4-35.     United States Army flags traditionally have been used for purposes of identification and the fostering of esprit de corps. The present policies stem from ideas and practices dating back to the Revolutionary War. In turn, those were influenced by the military traditions of Western Europe to a great extent. The English, French, Dutch, Spanish, and others brought to North America their flags, military uniforms, and other official symbolism. Also, leaders of the colonists were familiar with military traditions and particularly those of England and France.

4-36.     With the Declaration of Independence and the formation of troops, came the need for items to identify the soldiers and military units. On February 20, 1776, General Washington's headquarters issued an order on flags. It said that regiments should each have distinctive colors similar to the uniforms of the regiment and that "the Number of the Regiment is to be mark'd on the Colours, and such a Motto, as the Colonel may choose."

4-37.     General Washington's order emphasized the significance of organizational colors to the Army by directing quick design and procurement. As late as 1779, the designs of regimental and national colors to be carried by Army organizations were the subject of correspondence between Washington and the Board of War. The Americans intended to follow the British practice of using two different designs for the National flag: one for the naval or marine flag and the other for the battle or Army flag. By 1780, the stars and stripes design adopted by the United States in 1777 was generally known as the marine (maritime) flag used extensively at sea, but no Army National flag had been adopted prior to 1780.

4-38.     The first Army National Color was blue incorporating the design of an eagle displayed (somewhat similar to that in the coat of arms adopted for the United States) and the name of the regiment. That National Color of the Army was carried until 1841 when it became the regimental color. From that blue flag evolved the eagle on regimental and battalion flags and, finally, on Major Army Command flags. Continuous recognition of the significance of flags to the soldiers' morale resulted in a well-defined system of flags for organizations at all echelons. In general, flags incorporate design elements that are identical to or relate to the insignia worn by the members of the organization.


4-39.     Until 1956 no flag represented the Army as a whole. The first official US Army flag was unfurled on 14 June 1956 at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by then Secretary of the Army Wilbur M. Brucker. This flag was designed to meet the need for one banner to represent the entire Army.

4-40.     The Army flag is in the national colors of red, white, and blue with a yellow fringe. It has a white field with the War Office seal in blue in its center. Beneath the seal is a scarlet scroll with the inscription "United States Army" in white letters. Below the scroll the numerals "1775" appears in blue to commemorate the year in which the Army was created with the appointment of General George Washington as Commander in Chief.

4-41.     The historic War Office seal, somewhat modified from its original, is the design feature that gives to the Army flag its greatest distinction. The center of the seal depicts a roman breastplate over a jupon, or a leather jacket. Above the breastplate rises a sword upon which rests a Phrygian cap. Rising from the breastplate to the left (facing the viewer) is a pike, or esponton, flanked by an unidentified organizational color. On the right side rises a musket with fixed bayonet flanked by the National Color. Above the sword is a rattlesnake holding in its mouth a scroll inscribed "This We'll Defend." To the lower left of the breastplate is a cannon in front of a drum with two drumsticks. Below the cannon are three cannon balls and to the right is a mortar on a trunnion with two powder flasks below. See the Army flag in figure 4-1 below.

Figure 4-1. The Army Flag and Streamers

Figure 4-1. The Army Flag and Streamers

4-42.     From its colors to its heraldic devices, the Army flag is rich in symbolism that speaks of our nation's and the Army's origin and heritage. The colors used in the flag were selected for their traditional significance. Red, white, and blue are the colors, of course, of the national flag. Furthermore, those colors symbolize in the language of heraldry the virtues of hardiness and valor (red), purity and innocence (white), and vigilance, perseverance, and justice (blue). Blue is especially significant since it has been the unofficial color of the Army for more than two hundred years.

4-43.     The meaning of the symbols that make up the heraldic design of the seal can be fully understood only in terms of its eighteenth century origin. For example, the placement of the two flags shown on the seal, the organizational and the national flags are reversed in violation of heraldic custom. The placing of the United States flag on the left (from the flag's point of view) rather than on the right reflected the tendency of the leaders of the Revolutionary War period to discard traditional European concepts. The display of both an organizational color and the national flag was a common practice of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. See the Army seal in figure 4-2 below.

Figure 4-2. The Army Seal

Figure 4-2. The Army Seal

4-44.     The implements of warfare, cannon, cannon balls, mortar, powder flasks, pike, and rifle, are all of the type used in the Revolutionary War. Their inclusion in the seal reflects the powers and duties of the revolutionary era Board of War for the procurement and handling of artillery, arms, ammunition, and other war-like stores belonging to the United States. The pike is of the type carried by subordinate officers of infantry. The drum and drumsticks are symbols of public notification, reflecting the tradition of a citizen militia. Drums also served various military purposes in the eighteenth century, such as the regulation of firing in battle by the drummer's beat. The Phrygian cap atop the sword's point is the type of cap given to ancient Roman slaves when they were granted freedom. However, during the French Revolution, the cap was adopted and worn as a "Cap of Liberty," and is now a traditional symbol of liberty. The coiled rattlesnake and scroll was a symbol that appeared frequently on colonial flags, particularly those representing groups opposed to some aspect of British rule.

4-45.     The Army flag reflects our history and touches the lives of generations of Americans. In 1956, Chief of Staff of the Army General Maxwell D. Taylor called it the "American soldier's Flag. for those who have gone before us, for those who man our ramparts today, and for those who will stand guard over our freedoms in all of our tomorrows."4-13 The Army flag remains today a symbol of the Army's achievements in the past and of its readiness to meet the challenges of the future.

The Army is hundreds of years older than you are and proud of its experience. It draws strength from the past and offers some of that strength to you through symbols.

FM 21-13, The Soldier's Guide, 1952

4-46.     The streamers attached to the Army flag staff denote campaigns fought by the Army throughout our Nation's history. Each streamer (2 inches wide and 4 feet long) is embroidered with the designation of a campaign and the year(s) in which it occurred. The colors derive from the campaign ribbon authorized for service in that particular war.

4-47.     The concept of campaign streamers came to prominence in the Civil War when Army organizations embroidered the names of battles on their organizational colors. This was discontinued in 1890 when units were authorized to place silver bands, engraved with the names of battles, around the staffs of their organizational colors. When American Expeditionary Force (AEF) units in World War I were unable to obtain silver bands, General Pershing authorized the use of small ribbons bearing the names of the World War I operations. In 1921 all color-bearing Army organizations were authorized to use the large campaign streamers currently displayed. To properly display the campaign streamers, a soldier ensures the first (Lexington) and last (Kosovo Defense Campaign) campaign streamers are visible.

The Campaigns of the United States Army

4-48.     These are the campaigns the Army has been a part of:

Revolutionary War

  • Lexington 19 Apr 1775
  • Ticonderoga 10 May 1775
  • Boston 17 Jun 1775- 17 Mar 1776
  • Quebec 28 Augt 1775-3 Jul 1776
  • Charleston 28-29 Jun 1776; 29 Mar-12 May 1780
  • Long Island 26-29 Aug 1776
  • Trenton 26 Dec 1776
  • Princeton 3 Jan 1777
  • Saratoga 2 Jul-17 Oct 1777
  • Brandywine 11 Sep 1777
  • Germantown 4 Oct 1777
  • Monmouth 28 Jun 1778
  • Savannah 29 Dec 1778; 16 Sep-10 Oct 1779
  • Cowpens 17 Jan 1781
  • Guilford Court House 15 Mar 1781
  • Yorktown 28 Sep-19 Oct 1781

War of 1812

  • Canada 18 Jun 1812-17 Feb 1815
  • Chippewa 5 Jul 1814
  • Lundy's Lane 25 Jul 1814
  • Bladensburg 17-29 Aug 1814
  • McHenry 13 Sep 1814
  • New Orleans 23 Sep 1814- 8 Jan 1815

Mexican War

  • Palo Alto 8 May 1846
  • Resaca de la Palma 9 May 1846
  • Monterey 21 Sep 1846
  • Buena Vista 22-23 Feb 1847
  • Vera Cruz 9-29 Mar 1847
  • Cerro Gordo 17 Apr 1847
  • Contreras 18-20 Aug 1847
  • Churubusco 20 Aug 1847
  • Molino del Rey 8 Sep 1847
  • Chapultepec 13 Sep 1847

Civil War

  • Sumter 12-13 Apr 1861
  • Bull Run 16-22 Jul 1861
  • Henry & Donelson 6-16 Feb 1862
  • Mississippi River 6 Feb 1862-9 Jul 1863
  • Peninsula 17 Mar-3 Aug 1862
  • Shiloh 6-7 Apr 1862
  • Valley 15 May-17 Jun 1862
  • Manassas 7 Aug-2 Sep 1862
  • Antietam 3-17 Sept 1862
  • Fredericksburg 9 Nov- 15 Dec 1862
  • Murfreesborough 26 Dec 1862-4 Jan 1863
  • Chancellorsville 27 Apr- 6 May 1863
  • Gettysburg 29 Jun-3 Jul 1863
  • Vicksburg 29 Mar-4 Jul 1863
  • Chickamauga 16 Aug- 22 Sep 1863
  • Chattanooga 23-27 Nov 1863
  • Wilderness 4-7 May 1864
  • Atlanta 7 May-2 Sep 1864
  • Spotsylvania 8-21 May 1864
  • Cold Harbor 22 May-3 Jun 1864
  • Petersburg 4 Jun 1864-2 Apr 1865
  • Shenandoah 7 Aug-28 Nov 1864
  • Franklin 17-30 Nov 1864
  • Nashville 1-16 Dec 1864
  • Appomattox 3-9 Apr 1865

Indian Wars

  • Miami Jan 1790-Aug 1795
  • Tippecanoe 21 Sep-18 Nov 1811
  • Creeks 27 Jul 1813-Aug 1814; Feb 1836-Jul 1837
  • Seminoles 20 Nov 1817-31 Oct 1818; 28 Dec 1835-14 Aug 1842; 15 Dec 1855-May 1858
  • Black Hawk 26 Apr-20 Sep 1832
  • Comanches 1867-1875
  • Modocs 1872-1873
  • Apaches 1873; 1885-1886
  • Little Big Horn 1876-1877
  • Nez Perces 1877
  • Bannocks 1878
  • Cheyennes 1878-1879
  • Utes Sep 1879-Nov 1880
  • Pine Ridge Nov 1890-Jan 1891

War with Spain

  • Santiago 22 Jun-11 Jul 1898
  • Puerto Rico 25 Jul-13 Aug 1898
  • Manila 31 Jul-13 Aug 1898

China Relief Expedition

  • Tientsin 13 Jul 1900
  • Yang-tsun 6 Aug 1900
  • Peking 14-15 Aug 1900

Philippine Insurrection

  • Manila 4 Feb-17 Mar 1899
  • Iloilo 8-12 Feb 1899
  • Malolos 24 Mar-16 Aug 1899
  • Laguna de Bay 8-17 Apr 1899
  • San Isidro 12 Apr-30 May 1899; 15 Oct-19 Nov 1899
  • Zapote River 13 Jun 1899
  • Cavite 7-13 Oct 1899; 4 Jan-9 Feb 1900
  • Tarlac 5-20 Nov 1899
  • San Fabian 6-19 Nov 1899
  • Mindanao 4 Jul 1902- 31 Dec 1904; 22 Oct 1905
  • Jolo 1-24 May 1905; 6-8 Mar 1906; 6 Aug 1906; 11-15 Jun 1913

Mexican Expedition

  • Mexico 1916-1917 14 Mar 1916-7 Feb 1917

World War I

  • Cambrai 20 Nov-4 Dec 1917
  • Somme Defensive 21 Mar- 6 Apr 1918
  • Lys 9-27 Apr 1918
  • Aisne 27 May-5 Jun 1918
  • Montdidier-Noyon 9-13 Jun 1918
  • Champagne-Marne 18 Jul-6 Aug 1918
  • Aisne-Marne 15-18 Jul 1918
  • Somme Offensive 8 Aug-11 Nov 1918
  • Oise-Aisne 18 Aug-11 Nov 1918
  • Ypres-Lys 19 Aug-11 Nov 1918
  • St. Mihiel 12-16 Sep 1918
  • Meuse-Argonne 26 Sept- 11 Nov 1918
  • Vittoria Veneto 24 Oct-4 Nov 1918

World War II
American Theater

  • Antisubmarine 7 Dec 1941- 2 Sep 1945

Asiatic-Pacific Theater

  • Philippine Islands 7 Dec 1941-10 May 1942
  • Burma 7 Dec 1941-26 May 1942
  • Central Pacific 7 Dec 1941- 6 Dec 1943
  • East Indies 1 Jan-22 Jul 1942
  • India-Burma 2 Apr 1942- 28 Jan 1945
  • Air Offensive, Japan 17 Apr 1942-2 Sep 1945
  • Aleutian Islands 3 Jun 1942-24 Aug 1943
  • China Defensive 4 Jul 1942- 4 May 1945
  • Papua 23 Jul 1942-23 Jan 1943
  • Guadalcanal 7 Aug 1942- 21 Feb 1943
  • New Guinea 24 Jan 1943- 31 Dec 1944
  • Northern Solomons 22 Feb 1943-21 Nov 1944
  • Eastern Mandates 31 Jan-14 Jun 1944
  • Bismarck Archipelago 15 Dec 1943-27 Nov 1944
  • Western Pacific 15 Jun 1944-2 Sep 1945
  • Leyte 17 Oct 1944-1 Jul 1945
  • Luzon 15 Dec 1944-4 Jul 1945
  • Central Burma 29 Jan- 15 Jul 1945
  • Southern Philippines 27 Feb-4 Jul 1945
  • Ryukyus 26 Mar-2 Jul 1945
  • China Offensive 5 May- 2 Sep 1945

European-African-Middle Eastern Theater

  • Egypt-Libya 11 Jun 1942- 12 Feb 1943
  • Air Offensive, Europe 4 Jul 1942-5 Jun 1944
  • Algeria-French Morocco 8-11 Nov 1942
  • Tunisia 17 Nov 1942- 13 May 1943
  • Sicily 9 Jul-17 Aug 1943
  • Naples-Foggia Air: 18 Aug 1943-21 Jan 1944; Ground: 9 Sep 1943- 21 Jan 1944
  • Anzio 22 Jan-24 May 1944
  • Rome-Arno 22 Jan-9 Sep 1944
  • Normandy 6 Jun-24 Jul 1944
  • Northern France 25 Jul- 14 Sep 1944
  • Southern France 15 Aug- 14 Sep 1944
  • Northern Apennines 10 Sep 1944-4 Apr 1945
  • Rhineland 15 Sep 1944- 21 Mar 1945
  • Ardennes-Alsace 16 Dec 1944- 25 Jan 1945
  • Central Europe 22 Mar- 11 May 1945
  • Po Valley 5 Apr-8 May 1945

Korean War

  • UN Defensive 27 Jun-15 Sep 1950
  • UN Offensive 16 Sep-2 Nov 1950
  • CCF Intervention 3 Nov 1950- 24 Jan 1951
  • First UN Counteroffensive 25 Jan-21 Apr 1951
  • CCF Spring Offensive 22 Apr-8 Jul 1951
  • UN Summer-Fall Offensive 9 Jul-27 Nov 1951
  • Second Korean Winter 28 Nov 1951-30 Apr 1952
  • Korea, Summer-Fall 1952 1 May-30 Nov 1952
  • Third Korean Winter 1 Dec 1952-30 Apr 1953
  • Korea, Summer 1953 1 May- 27 Jul 1953


  • Advisory 15 Mar 1962-7 Mar 1965
  • Defense 8 Mar-24 Dec 1965
  • Counteroffensive 25 Dec 1965-30 Jun 1966
  • Counteroffensive, Phase II 1 Jul 1966-31 May 1967
  • Counteroffensive, Phase III 1 Jun 1967-29 Jan 1968
  • Tet Counteroffensive 30 Jan-1 Apr 1968
  • Counteroffensive, Phase IV 2 Apr-30 Jun 1968
  • Counteroffensive, Phase V 1 Jul-1 Nov 1968
  • Counteroffensive, Phase VI 2 Nov 1968-22 Feb 1969
  • Tet 69 Counteroffensive 23 Feb-8 Jun 1969
  • Summer-Fall 1969 9 Jun- 31 Oct 1969
  • Winter-Spring 1970 1 Nov 1969-30 Apr 1970
  • Sanctuary Counteroffensive 1 May - 30 Jun 1970
  • Counteroffensive, Phase VII 1 Jul 1970-31 Jun 1971
  • Consolidation I 1 Jul- 30 Nov 1971
  • Consolidation II 1 Dec 1971-29 Mar 1972
  • Cease-Fire 30 Mar 1972- 28 Jan 1973

Armed Forces Expeditions

  • Dominican Republic 28 Apr 1965-21 Sep 1966
  • Grenada 23 Oct-21 Nov 1983
  • Panama 20 Dec 1989- 31 Jan 1990

Southwest Asia

  • Defense of Saudi Arabia 2 Aug 1990-16 Jan 1991
  • Liberation and Defense of Kuwait 17 Jan-11 Apr 1991
  • Cease-Fire 12 Apr 1991- 30 Nov 1995


  • Kosovo Air Campaign 24 Mar - 10 Jun 1999
  • Kosovo Defense Campaign 11 Jun 1999 - (Closing date to be determined)


4-49.     As you continue in your Army career, you will find there are privileges that come with rank and responsibility. Some of these privileges are higher pay, different housing or more barracks space, NCO or Officers' clubs, and dedicated vehicles or office space. Remember first that with higher rank comes greater responsibility.

Each step up the ladder of leadership brings you a larger share of pay, prestige, and privileges. These are earned rewards for your willingness to accept greater responsibilities. They are not outright gifts. You are expected to pay back every dollar... in work and conscientious concern for your men and your unit, in many jobs well done.

The Noncom's Guide, 19624-18

4-50.     The acceptance of greater responsibility merits greater compensation to be sure. The other privileges are given to help the leader do the job. The battalion command sergeant major, for example, performs duties that are made more efficient and effective by having an office in garrison.

4-51.     The most important thing to remember in any discussion about the "privileges of rank" is that with them come profound responsibilities. That responsibility is for the performance of the team and the very lives of the soldiers in it. Leaders willingly accept this responsibility as a privilege in itself.

"It is said that 'rank has its privileges.' This is as it should be, particularly when we remember that one of the primary privileges of rank is to be entrusted with responsibility."

MSG Frank K. Nicolas4-19-1


4-52.     In combat, individual exploits and personal valor are important, but team effort wins the fight. The Army pays close attention to team performance, to the organizations in which soldiers serve and fight, and to the flags and colors that symbolize those organizations.

4-53.     The older an organization, the more soldiers, both active and retired, have had the opportunity of serving in and identifying with it and the more opportunities the organization has had to win battle honors. As the Army got smaller, posts closed and units inactivated, flags and colors moved around to ensure certain units continued. Such actions have occurred throughout the Army's history, but increased after World War II as the Army placed more emphasis on retaining units with the most history and honors.

4-54.     For those who say, "What does it matter" there is no response since for those outside the military unit numbers mean little and their history is unimportant-one organization is much the same as any other. But for those soldiers who have served in the "Big Red One," the "Wolfhounds," the "Rainbow Division," or the "Buffalos" (a misspelling that just stuck), unit pride is very much a part of their lives.

4-55.     US Army units, like soldiers, have an individual service record. Units display their unit history and battle honors on their colors. These honors are a source of unit pride and whenever soldiers gather to compare the unit decorations on their uniforms there is an inherent competition between them.

4-56.     The Army did not originally have a system for tracing unit history and honors. Units simply embroidered on their colors the names of the battles in which they fought, but units often disagreed about what differentiated a "skirmish" from a "battle" or a "campaign." By the 1920s, however, the Army found that it needed to standardize its battle honors and began to perform impartial research on unit histories (often tracing them through a variety of redesignations) and to determine campaign participation credit.

4-57.     The Army, despite vigorous reorganization in the 1950s and 1960s, carried on the lineage and honors in units that exist still today.4-19-2 Unit esprit de corps and unit cohesion are essential characteristics of an effective fighting organization. Military history has demonstrated that units with high esprit, a sense of tradition and pride in past achievements, perform well in combat. Soldiers still proudly learn and remember the history, customs, and traditions behind the regiments.

4-58.     The customs, courtesies, and traditions of our Army provide a connection with soldiers throughout the history of the Nation. As you continue in your service, remember that these also help in unit and self-discipline, building the team and demonstrating your professionalism.


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