'To the Colors'

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Vance C. Kondon
  • 11th Wing and Joint Base Andrews Command Chief
Beginning Monday, Nov. 17 at 7 a.m., after the sounding of Reveille, another bugle call will play. This may not be familiar to those who have been assigned to Joint Base Andrews for a while.

That bugle call is named "To the Colors," and is sounded to pay honors to our nation, flag and service members who served before us in similar fashion to the national anthem.

I am sure that many people attended Veterans Day events last week, and realized it is important to remember the sacrifices our men and women have made. It is also important to preserve and perpetuate our traditions through the rendering of proper customs and courtesies with ceremonies such as reveille and retreat.

Here is reveille and retreat information to keep in mind, as well as customs and courtesies to apply on JBA:

- Reveille, which signals the beginning of the duty day, is played on base at 7 a.m., Monday through Friday, and is followed immediately by the playing of "To the Colors."

- Retreat signals the end of the duty day and is played on base at 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, immediately followed by the national anthem.

- As reveille or retreat is sounded, personnel outdoors should stop what they are doing and face the sound of the music or a visible U.S. flag. Service members stand at the position of parade rest during these bugle calls.

- On the first note of, "To the Colors," or the national anthem, civilians and military personnel in civilian attire should place their right hands over their heart. Military members in uniform should come to attention and render a proper salute until the last note of the music has played.

o This also applies to personnel conducting physical training, individually or in a group, outdoors. While in the physical training uniform, military members should come to attention and rendering a salute.

o Members conducting an official, not mock, physical fitness test may continue with the portion of the test they are completing.

o If individuals are driving on base when reveille or retreat begins playing, they should pull over to the side of the road and sit quietly until all music has finished playing.

The final bugle call, "Taps," is played at 9 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Taps is normally played to honor service members who have given the ultimate sacrifice, however, is it also played to signify the beginning of quiet hours on the installation. As such, individuals do not need to render customs and courtesies usually associated with the playing of "Taps."

As we bring "To the Colors" back to the base, and pay our respects during reveille and retreat, I encourage you think back to those who have fought for and defended our great nation from its inception, up to our most recent and continuing engagements.  Many of our service members here at Andrews have served in harm's way: even some of you reading this commentary now. Please know that we honor their, and your, service and sacrifices.