Memphis, TN --
The 164th Airlift Wing Color Guard has revived the tradition of reveille and retreat on base.
Reveille will be played at 0730 on Saturday morning of drill and retreat will be played at 1630 on Sunday to conclude drill.
"The color guard wants to help enhance the Esprit de Corp and morale of the wing by practicing all the military customs that we traditionally practice on a larger active duty base," says Senior Master Sgt. Matthew Smith, "So they want to practice reveille and retreat in addition to posting the colors at ceremonies and in the future we look to performing military honors".
Coming from the French phrase "wake up," reveille began as a way to wake up the military to roll call. The U.S. Air Force uses reveille to signify the beginning of the duty day.
Retreat historically was used to tell guards to halt and identify personnel until sunrise and dates back to the Crusades. It is played at 1630 and is used today to signify the end of the duty day as well render honors to the flag.
"Then at the close of our drill weekend on Sunday at 1630, we're going to perform Retreat."
When a member of the military is outside and reveille or retreat is played, tradition states they are to turn to the main base flagpole and render salute until the National Anthem is finished playing. Likewise, civilians and Airmen not in uniform are instructed to come to attention and place their right hand over their heart. If not in uniform, military members and civilians are to remove any headgear when coming to attention. All of these instructions are referenced in AFI 34-1201 section 18.104.22.168.
If Reveille or Retreat begins and the Airmen or civilians are in their vehicles, they are supposed to stop the vehicle and remain at attention while seated for the duration of the music.
The color guard team is also always on the lookout for any members interested in helping practice and perform military traditions.
"We are constantly looking for new members and volunteers. It's a great additional duty to get to serve with," says Smith. "We have paid training, we get additional camaraderie, and the biggest part about it is being able to give back and honor those who have served in the past and to give them the full honors that they deserve,"