As he disembarked from his U.S. Marine Corps helicopter in New York, today, the president returned a formal military salute with a sloppy and careless salute while wielding a coffee cup, prompting some to dub it the “latte salute.”
The Daily Caller helpfully points out that this happened “only a few hours after he dispatched the nation’s military on their attack mission into northern Syria.”
Not seeing a problem, the president’s aides published the video on his Instagram account.
ABC excused the sloppy salute, saying, “while it is protocol for U.S. service members in uniform to salute the commander in chief, it’s not required for a civilian president to salute back, military experts say.”
Ronald Reagan is said to have begun the practice back in 1981.
Whether or not it’s “protocol” to do something that has been the practice for over 30 years, it is official protocol to execute a salute properly.
The salute is “the most important of all military courtesies,” says a manual for Marine Corps officer candidates.“In some situations, the salute is not appropriate,” says the manual. “In general, do not salute when… carrying articles with both hands or being otherwise so occupied as to make saluting impractical,” says the manual, titled “Customs and Courtesies.”
In other words, if you’re going to salute – do it right.
Retired Air Force Major Mike Banzet summed it up for perhaps most in the military when he said told me via email, the following:
“I, personally have saluted long silver boxes as I transported 2 people and one “un associated portions” from the desert to Germany. I managed not to have a drink in my hand.
From the award winning movie, Scent of a Woman, here’s Al Pacino ripping young Charlie a new one for his careless salute: