Multinational saluting question

Discussion in 'Officers' started by Blyth_spirit, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. a. Don't salute - I'm British!

  2. b. Salute - what harm can a little salute do?

  3. c. Bottle it - Hope that doesn't happen again!


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  1. To set the scene - imagine you're the only Brit in a multinational HQ environment - plenty of bizarre uniforms and customs at every turn. At some point some hatless foreigner salutes you (also hatless) with all the respect and smartness available to a foreign army.

    Do you:

    a. Brace up in the safe and certain knowledge that the British officer will never salute without headdress, leaving the poor alien underling with a sense of confusion and hurt and the opinion that British officers deserve their reputation as arrogant w*nkers?

    b. Crisply return the salute - contenting Johnny foreigner no end but leaving you with a deep nagging feeling of guilt and self loathing deep in the pit of your stomach and a hope that no one's taking photos?


    c. Pretend to start to salute but turn the movement into a brush of the hair as you turn away, pretend not to have noticed the little fellow and then slink away to have a word with yourself before spending the rest of the op/ex with your beret permanently on?
  2. The Blues & Royals salute without headdress (apart from ossifers) so I don't see the problem though I do like solution (a) it returns the respect without compromising protocol.
  3. If it's a German soldier, chucking up a straight armed salute with obligatory heel click would be the best option.

    Or just a casual 'fuck off johnny foreigner'.
  4. Was in an Italian national Service camp last month, hundreds of little eye ties kicking around and saluting(with and without headdress) till their arms fell off. Me being an OR didn't seem to bother them and I was saluted at every turn.

    I get the impression that they had been told to pay compliment to any foreign National they seen on camp.

    Yes I did return the salutes. It seemed the polite thing to do.
    • Like Like x 3
  5. Never. They should be privileged to be in your orbit and that should be acknowledgement enough.

    I always found that a crisp 'Good morning' was ample.

    That or a sharp 'Chota peg! Jildai hai!' did the trick.
  6. I once witnessed Gen Sir John Reith find himself in this situation. He braced up, and no-one would have been in any doubt that he had properly returned the compliment.

    If you start to stray from national customs then not only will you set yourself an uncomfortable precedent, but you may also make life difficult for other Brit officers who are not aware of, or do not want to adopt, the new customs you are inventing on the fly.

    That said I have also witnessed devilish's predicament. The WO2 concerned (you can see where the confusion lies when in dessies/CS95) returned the salute as he also didn't want to appear impolite, but he quickly explained, with a 'thank you Sir' as the saluter was a foreign Capt, that he was not a commissioned officer. It was very neatly handled with no offence or embarrassment caused.
  7. I remember being in a barracks in the (former) East Germany, with the gate manned by conscripts. They saluted pretty much everything that moved.

    Option (a). If they don't know who or what they're saluting, surely that isn't our problem?
  8. A smart brace up and a greeting would suffice surely.

    He is following his own countries protocols, you should follow yours. A salute without headress is not done by most of us in the British Forces, so a brace up and a greeting would be quite sufficient.

    Like LISpace writes above, should there be confusion in the ranks then it is best sorted out on the spot.

    Conscripts saluting is an odd one. But I have always adopted the approach of bracing up and acknowledging their actions. They probably just think is a quaint British custom, but that their greeting is being returned.

    They aren´t being ignored or laughed at. Foreigners are unlikely to see the funny side of a Lance Jack being saluted by a General quite as easily as a Brit. :D

    Bearing in mind respect goes both ways, etc. And if you are the only Brit in the station, then you flying our flag so to speak.

    And, more importantly, said saluter might be in charge of MT or Stores :D
  9. Are you sure? The last conscripts entered the Italian Army in early 2005.
  10. May just have been a basic training camp, just assumed that they were conscripts.
  11. Remember that US Warrant Officers are entitled to compliments.
  12. They're only foreigners, and can't help it.
  13. Should be a burra peg old boy, chota's no damn use to anyone....
  14. If you insist.

    That's a gorgeous dress you're wearing, and I love what you've done with your hair.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  15. Just to set this tedious ball rolling again - not by British ORs (EMs for our American readers).

    The definitive answer is to 'brace up' and say good morning/afternoon/evening.