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Knowing the "Protocols"

I remember the first time I heard “retreat” on a military base. It was around 5 p.m. and I was pumping gas on my way home from the commissary. Music started playing and I, of course, ignored it … until I turned around and saw that most cars had pulled over and most of the people had stopped walking and were standing at attention.

Talk about uncomfortable.

Much like hearing the National Anthem in an on-base movie theater and not knowing what to do, many of these protocol issues can really throw newbies, or those unfamiliar with the rules, through a loop.

One military base in Hawaii has dealt with this issue recently. According to this Army story, Wheeler Army Airfield has recently had to address an uptick in vehicles and personnel not stopping during revelry and retreat.

From the story:

[Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Williamson, senior enlisted leader, USAG-HI] explained that the military has evolved to include more civilians and contractors, and leaders should reiterate protocol to make sure it is being adhered to by all personnel.

"The policy clearly states that all vehicle drivers, both military and civilian, will halt their vehicles during reveille and retreat," Williamson said. "Also, it is important that Soldiers living on post and visiting post need to make sure that their families understand all the policies. Directors and supervisors of civilians need to make sure that their staff is aware of the policies as well."

I know I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near as familiar with the “procedures and protocols” as I should be – and while far from a seasoned spouse, I would hardly consider myself a military newbie anymore.

Other than being taken by surprise and learning from your uncomfortable mistakes, what is the best way you’ve come up with for getting and handle on this stuff?

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