Proper Military Saluting Protocol

Updated April 17, 2017

The salute is a common and basic form of military courtesy used in the armed forces around the world. A person who is junior in rank is required to salute first when a senior officer approaches.

Execution of Salute

The salute is made by raising the right hand palm down with fingers extended to the forehead. The forefinger will touch the forehead slightly to the right of the right eye. The right forearm should be inclined at a 45-degree angle.


Salutes are generally given between six and 30 paces. When running, a junior officer should slow down to a walk before saluting. If standing, he should stand at attention before executing the salute.

When Given

A salute is given when two officers or an officer and enlisted man approach each other. The junior officer must salute first. If a conversation takes place, the junior officer should initiate the salute prior to leaving.

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