Ham Sandwich Salute

Last week I regaled you all with a post concerning Post Traumatic Military Courtesy. A comment on my Facebook page reminded me of an incident related to me by my old FAST company commander.

As a review, in the Armed Forces we have what is called military customs and courtesies. Customs is defined as a habitual practice of a person or group. Courtesies is defined as a polite gesture or remark. There are two kinds of military courtesies: 1) saluting and addressing officers; 2) rendering the appropriate greeting to enlisted. Marines commonly refer to both as the appropriate greeting of the day.

I’m not sure why, but military courtesy in Bahrain had fallen by the wayside for some time. I recall my CO remarking: “I can’t even buy a salute around here. Half the Sailors look like they have a no shave chit and the other half look like they’re on weight control.” 

See? Proof they know how to do it.

 He went on to tell me about the time he and our company executive officer were walking down the “spine” on the facility when they came across a one star admiral. The admiral was on his way to eat lunch, carrying a large hoagie in his hand. As they approached, the Marines executed a sharp salute with a hearty greeting as is our custom. The admiral returned the salute, touching the brim of his cover with the sandwich.

This was forever known as the Ham Sandwich Salute. 

Insert Benny Hill theme music here.

Give yourself a moment to allow the egregiousness of this to settle in.

I know, right
America’s SgtMaj

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  1. I honestly believe that the hand salute began oh so long ago as a prank to get junior officers so flustered that they’d drop whatever was in their hands while trying to return a salute.

    It was probably a L/Cpl that started it.

    – Grimmy

  2. America’s SgtMaj:

    Well yeah. Now. I mean, the joke’s gotten a bit stale after all these centuries.

    – Grimmy

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