Commander’s Action Line

The German Forces providing security for U.S. installations, property, materials and personnel have been doing a great job. They are efficient and courteous. Part of the courtesy provided is the rendering of a salute as they clear a vehicle to proceed. I view that as a standard military courtesy that can and probably should be returned.

I have heard people comment that the reason the German troops render the salute is that they do not know the U.S. military rank structure so they salute everyone, just to be safe. As a retired senior NCO, I take exception to that view and have attempted to pass along my feeling about reciprocating a rendered military courtesy. Unfortunately, I have been hearing such comments more frequently and not just from junior folks. I have heard these comments from senior enlisted and officers in places as varied and public as clubs, the base exchange and commissary.

Could you please elaborate as to the purpose for rendering the salute and correct response, if any, to this courtesy provided to all personnel by the fine German troops protecting them?

I agree. The German Army Soldiers are rendering wonderful service to our installation during a time of stressed U.S. military manpower. Their salutes to all who enter Ramstein are a matter of courtesy rendered to brothers and sisters in arms and to all who are associated with our installation.

The appropriate response is to return the salute or render a verbal greeting acknowledging their courtesy. I would appreciate everyone taking the time to do this “right thing.”