United States Flag Raising Procedures at Reveille

A Soldier on flag detail prepares to fold Old Glory as part of a daily reveille ceremony

The U.S. Army / Flickr

Reveille is the signal for the start of the official duty day. Because the time for the start of the duty day varies between bases, the commander designates the specified time for reveille. If the commander desires, a reveille ceremony may accompany the raising of the flag.

This ceremony takes place in the vicinity of the base flagstaff and is held after sunrise. In the unit area, reveille is normally held, using the formation of a squadron in line. This formation is used when a reveille ceremony is not held at the base flagstaff.

Events Accompanying Flag Raising at the Reveille Ceremony

  • Shortly before the specified time for reveille, troops are marched to a predesignated position near the base flagstaff, halted, faced toward the flagstaff, and dressed. The flag security detail arrives at the flagstaff at this time and remains at attention.
  • The unit commander commands Parade REST.
  • At the specified time for reveille, the unit commander commands SOUND REVEILLE. The flag detail assumes the position of attention, moves to the flagstaff, and attaches the flag to the halyards.
  • After reveille has been played, the unit commander commands Squadron ATTENTION and Present ARMS and then faces the flagstaff and executes present arms. On this signal, the national anthem or To the Colors is sounded.
  • On the first note of the national anthem or To the Colors, the flag security detail begins to raise the flag briskly. The senior member of the detail holds the flag to keep it from touching the ground.
  • The unit commander holds the salute until the last note of the music is played. Then they execute order arms, faces about, and commands Order, ARMS. The troops are then marched back to the dismissal area.

Raising the Flag

When practical, a detail consisting of an NCO and two junior enlisted hoists the flag. This detail should be armed with sidearms (if the special equipment of the guard includes sidearms). The detail is formed in line with the NCO carrying the flag in the center. The detail is then marched to the flagstaff and halted, and the flag is attached to the halyards.

The flag is always raised and lowered from the leeward side of the flagstaff. The two junior enlisted attend the halyards, taking a position facing the staff to hoist the flag without entangling the halyards. The NCO continues to hold the flag until it is hoisted clear of the grasp, taking particular care that no portion of the flag touches the ground. When the flag is clear of the grasp, the NCO comes to attention and executes present arms.

On the last note of the music or after the flag has been hoisted to the staff head, all members of the detail execute order arms on command of the senior member. The halyards are then secured to the cleat of the staff or, if appropriate, the flag is lowered to half-staff and the halyard secured. The detail is formed again and marched to the dismissal area.

Above information courtesy of United States Air Force.