why do the navy salute palm down

The UK's Ministry of Defence has issued a reminder to young officers to salute their superiors. But when did this form of greeting originate and why is it used, asks Justin Parkinson. The salute is often thought to date back to Roman times, but there is
that soldiers raised their hand as a formal greeting. Another theory is that it originated in medieval Europe, when, revealing their identity to demonstrate they were friendly. This explanation is also. It later became British Army tradition for privates and non-commissioned officers to remove their hat to greet officers. Junior officers did the same to their seniors. This apparently ended in the 18th Century because of concerns over excessive wear to headgear or hats becoming more cumbersome. A 1745 states: "The men are ordered not to pull off their hats when they pass an officer, or to speak to them, but only to clap up their hands to their hats and bow as they pass. " The British Army developed a salute with the palm facing outwards, also used by the Royal Air Force. The Royal Navy, however, adopted a version with the palm facing downwards, thought to be and to display them was disrespectful. The salute works both as a mark of recognition for the Queen's commission awarded to officers and for seniority of rank, says Simon Lamb, of the group. It is important that the senior person returns the salute to acknowledge the respect accorded, he argues. The Royal Navy's form of salute is thought to have, whose version also involves the palm facing downwards.


Etiquette is important. In September last year, US President Barack Obama was criticised for saluting a marine as he left a helicopter while. "It has been said that a sloppy salute is worse than not saluting at all," says the, which, like many other non-military organisations, also salutes. With the UK military becoming increasingly engaged in operations involving two or more of the armed forces, junior officers are said to have become confused over differing ranks and when to salute. So the UK Ministry of Defence has issued a. "In one's own service the pecking order will be pretty well understood - after all, it is drummed into you from day one of basic training," it says, adding that "protocol might not be so obvious" when services work together. Subscribe to the to get articles sent to your inbox [caption id= attachment_13830 align= aligncenter width= 750 ] When it comes to the hand salute, everyone seems to agree on two things: (1) its always a sign of camaraderie and (2) no one knows its exact origin. But everyone has a theory. Lets start with the practical application. Raising the right hand to ones cap or forehead is not only a gesture of respect, but also a signal that youre not wielding a weapon (which was far more important information a few centuries ago than it is in todays military settings). Some believe the salute is the evolution of a gesture dating back a few thousand years when assassins were more prevalent in both military and government circles.


There are other theories, too, dating back to medieval times. The most popular involves knights lifting their visors to identify themselves to superiors. Whatever ancient customs are to be believed, its also reasonable to infer the modern salute is a replacement for removing ones hat in the presence of a superior. According to the, a British order book from 1745 dictates men are ordered not to pull off their hats when they pass an officer, or to speak to them, but only to clap up their hands and bow as they pass. A page on the Quartermasters website explains military headgear had become so complicated and cumbersome by the time of the American Revolution, saluting was just an expedient change to protocol. [caption id= attachment_13831 align= aligncenter width= 575 ] Todays Salute According to the, todays standard salute right hand touching the brim of the head cover with the palm down was in place by 1820. The museum says the palm down portion of the salute may have been influenced by the salute style of the British Navy at the time. A sailor s hands were often dirty, and exposing a dirty palm especially to a superior would have been deemed disrespectful. A correlating and declared thereafter that British sailors would salute with their hands at a 90-degree angle. So who is always entitled to a salute? What occasions should a service member give a salute? Civilians have probably seen some of these instances in daily life (especially at a ceremony or a high-profile sporting event).


But with rare exception, service members should render salutes in these circumstances: When can service members skip a salute? Theres protocol, and then theres practicality. Salutes are not required when addressing a prisoner, when someone is in civilian clothing or when it would be tough or inappropriate to execute (for example, when someone is carrying equipment in both hands or at a crucial point of performing a complex task). Also, salutes are not usually required indoors, unless reporting to an officer while on guard duty, participating in an official ceremony or reporting to a commander or a military board. For a more nuanced look at salute rules, you can search out each individual services regulations on honors and salutes online ( ). Should civilians perform a hand salute when they see a service member? Service members dont expect salutes from civilians, even if those civilians are military employees or contractors. In fact, it could create an awkward moment unless the service member knows the civilian doing the saluting or recognizes the civilian to be a veteran. However, there arent any restrictions against saluting, either. The United States Constitutions First Amendment protection for free speech and expression gives civilians the ability to do what they want when greeting anyone. Our advice? Smile. Maybe say hello. And if you re so inclined, shake their hand and thank them for their service.

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