termination of the call, ruffles and flourishes, music, or
gun salute, depending on which is the last rendered. If
a gun salute is not prescribed on arrival but a flag or
pennant is to be displayed during the visit, it is broken
at the start of the call.
6. Piping of the side, ruffles and flourishes, and
music are rendered in that order. In the absence of a
band, To the Colors is sounded on the bugle in lieu of
the national anthem, when required.
7. The visitor, if entitled to 11 guns or more, is
invited to inspect the guard upon completion of honors.
Departure honors for an official visit are as
1. The rail is manned, if required.
2. Attention is sounded as the visitor arrives on
3. When the visitor is ready to leave the ship, the
guard presents arms; all persons on the quarterdeck
salute; and ruffles and flourishes, followed by music,
are rendered. The visitor is then piped over the side. The
salute and present arms terminate with the last note of
the call. If no salute is to be fired, the flag or pennant
displayed in honor of the visitor is hauled down.
4. The boat or vehicle is piped away from the side.
5. If a gun salute is prescribed on departure, it is
fired when the visitor is clear of the side. If a flag or
pennant is displayed in honor of the visitor, it is hauled
down with the last gun of the salute.
The same honor and ceremonies as for an official
visit to a ship of the Navy is rendered, insofar as
practicable and appropriate, on the occasion of an
official visit to a naval station, except that manning the
rail, piping the side, and parading side boys are not
considered appropriate. When, in the opinion of the
senior officer present, such honors will serve a definite
purpose, they may be rendered.
The Signalman's responsibilities for honors
during official visits are the proper display of flags or
pennants. That entails some advance planning and
coordination to ensure a snappy evolution.
A basic rule for the display is that only one
distinctive mark may fly from a ship. Thus, if the
person visiting is an officer eligible for command at
sea who rates a personal flag or command pennant, the
personal flag flies in lieu of the commission pennant.
If the ship visited is a flagship and the officer visiting
is senior to the commander of the unit and rates a
personal flag or command pennant, the personal flag
or command pennant of the officer visiting flies in lieu
of the unit commander's personal flag or pennant. The
flag or pennant of an officer not eligible for command
at sea is not displayed from a ship of the Navy.
The Red Cross flag is never replaced. The flying
of the personal flag of an officer eligible for command
of a warship at sea violates the neutrality of the
provisions of the Geneva Convention.
In addition to the rule that only one distinctive
mark may be displayed at one time, the commission
pennant and personal flag of a civil official may not
be displayed simultaneously. When a civil official in
whose honor the display of a personal flag is
prescribed pays an official visit or embarks for
passage, the personal flag is displayed at the after
masthead or most conspicuous hoist, replacing the
distinctive mark. If the mark is a commission pennant,
it is immediately lowered; if it is an officer's personal
flag or command pennant, it is shifted, as explained
earlier in this chapter.
Visits during dress ship also provide variations in
displaying personal flags and command pennants.
Check U.S. Navy Regulations and NTP 13 for details.
HONORS ON RELIEF OF COMMAND
When a flag officer or a unit commander relieves
a command or departs after being relieved, the same
honors are rendered as for an official visit, subject to
regulations pertaining to gun salutes.
When assuming a command, an officer reads
his/her orders to the assembled officers and crew.
Immediately after reading the orders, the officer's
personal flag or command pennant is broken, and a
gun salute, if required, is fired.
If the flag officer or unit commander is relieving
another officer in command, the officer being relieved
reads his/her orders to the assembled officers and
crew. On completion thereof, or after the gun salute,
if fired, the commission pennant is hoisted and the
personal flag or pennant immediately lowered. The
officer succeeding to command then reads his/her
orders, and on completion thereof, the flag or
command pennant is broken and the ship's
commission pennant is hauled down.