Respect is a two way street…
On the heels of Barack Obama ordering two U.S. Marines to hold umbrellas for both himself and the Turkish Prime Minister, in direct violation of official Marine Corps uniform regulations, the current occupant of the White House has elected not to return the hand salute rendered by a young Marine assigned to the Presidential Security Detail aboard the presidential helo correctly known as Marine Corps One, as reported by the right of center The Weekly Standard magazine on May 24, 2013.
As sent via the social media site Twitter, the CBS News reporter assigned to the White House press corps Mark Knoller tweeted the following:
- Pres Obama boarded Marine One without returning salute of US Marine at the steps. The Pres then came back out to shake the Marine’s hand. 9:42 AM – 24 May 2013
Just minutes later, Knoller updated his initial e-message:
- Pres Obama chats with and shakes hand of US Marine whose salute he didn’t return on boarding Marine One today. 9:46 AM – 24 May 2013
Respect Works Both Ways…
The custom of the civilian Commander-in-Chief saluting uniformed members of the Armed Forces began in 1986 when President Ronald Reagan authorized the formerly forbidden practice.
As the late President was quoted in a speech to military personnel stationed at the U.S. Navy Air Station in Keflavik, Iceland:
I know all the rules about not saluting in civilian clothes and so forth, and when you should or shouldn’t.
But then when I got this job and I would be approaching Air Force One or Marine One and those Marines would come to a salute and I—knowing that I am in civilian clothes—I would nod and say hello and think they could drop their hand, and they wouldn’t.
They just stood there. So, one night over at the Commandant’s quarters, Marine Commandant’s quarters in Washington, and I was getting a couple of highballs, and I didn’t know what to do with them.
So, I said to the Commandant—I said, ‘Look, I know all the rules about saluting in civilian clothes and all, but if I am the Commander in Chief, there ought to be a regulation that would permit me to return a salute.’
And I heard some words of wisdom. He said, ‘I think if you did, no one would say anything.’
So, if you see me on television and I’m saluting, you know that I’ve got authority for it now— [laughter] —and I do it happily.
Since Reagan’s authorization, every President since has continued the return of respect custom without fail.
Disrespectful And Demeaning…
Obama recently raised the ire of many Americans, especially Marines, when he ordered two Leathernecks attached to the White House Security Detail to hold umbrellas to keep a slight drizzle from dampening himself and the Turkish Prime Minister (see video).
Many considered Obama’s spur of the moment decision to be disrespectful and demeaning specifically to the two Devil Dogs as well as to the entire Corps.
Marine Corps regulation MCO P1020.34F, Chapter 3, does not allow a male Marine to carry an umbrella.
As per the way Marines have always conducted themselves when it comes to their legendary pride in their uniforms, if an item is not explicitly authorized, then it is simply not permitted, period.
Only Female Marines may carry an umbrella, and even then, the Marines clothing regs are explicit and leave little to the imagination.
That particular regulation reads:
3035. UMBRELLAS (Female Marines). Female Marines may carry an all-black, plain standard or collapsible umbrella at their option during inclement weather with the service and dress uniforms. It will be carried in the left hand so that the hand salute can be properly rendered. Umbrellas may not be used/carried in formation nor will they be carried with the utility uniform.
In what the vast majority of non-Marines have never understood concerning the Marine Corps almost fanatical outlook on respect working both ways, is best exemplified by the age-old sea story in regards to the legendary icon to every Marine, Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller.
The late General once came upon a young Second Lieutenant who had ordered an enlisted man to salute him 100 times for missing a salute.
As the legend goes, Chesty informed the shave-tail Butter Bar:
You were absolutely correct in making him salute you 100 times Lieutenant, but you know that an officer must return every salute he receives.
Now return them all.