JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C., –
Beginning Sept. 1, Joint Base Charleston - Air Base will change the time Retreat is observed.
Retreat is a bugle call followed by the playing of the national anthem as the United States flag is lowered. Retreat is currently played at 4 p.m. at JB Charleston - Air Base, but starting Sept. 1, Retreat will be played at 5 p.m.
"Per AFMAN 36-2203, the Retreat Ceremony serves a twofold purpose," said Chief Master Sgt. Earl Hannon, 628th Air Base Wing command chief. "It signals the end of the official duty day and serves ceremony to pay respect to the flag."
While the end of an individual Airman's duty day varies widely based on shift delineations and mission requirements, many JB Charleston - Air Base warriors are on duty far beyond the current 4 p.m. Retreat time.
"Playing Retreat at 4 p.m. diminishes the impact and importance of this long-standing tradition," said Hannon. "Retreat is traditionally observed at many military installations no earlier than 4:30 p.m., but more commonly at 5 p.m."
These changes only affect the Air Base. The Weapon Station will continue to hold Colors at their traditional time of 8 a.m. and at sunset.
What do I do when Retreat is played?
Whether in uniform or not in uniform: At the first sounds Retreat, stop where you are and turn to face the flag, or in a case where the flag is not visible, turn in the general direction of the flag or the sound and, if in uniform, stand at parade rest. If not in uniform, protocol still dictates that you stop and face the flag or the music out of respect.
When do I come to attention and salute the flag?
In uniform: When the Retreat bugle call concludes, come to attention and render a salute when you hear the first note of the national anthem.
Not in uniform: Do not salute if you are not in uniform. Come to attention and place your right hand over your heart. Remove your hat with your right hand and hold it at your left shoulder while your right hand is over the heart.
Exception: Service members and veterans not in uniform may render a salute during the hoisting, lowering or passing of the flag; this was changed by the 2008 Defense Authorization Act; Congress realized they omitted the national anthem and have added an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal year 2009 (S. 3002, section 1081) to amend title 36, USC, to allow veterans and service members not in uniform to salute during the national anthem if they so desire.
How long do I hold my salute?
Remain at attention saluting the flag until the national anthem has finished playing.
What if I'm wearing my physical training uniform?
Proper military customs and courtesies apply while wearing the PTU during reveille and retreat (attention and saluting).
What do I do if I'm driving at the time of Retreat?
At the first note of Reveille, Retreat and the National Anthem, you should bring your moving vehicle safely to a complete stop as you would if an emergency vehicle were approaching and put the car in park. Base guidance is that personnel turn off any music playing in the vehicle. Everyone inside the vehicle, including the driver, should remain seated at attention.