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Why "2" to salute after pledge of allegiance?

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It might be Navy/Marine thingy, but all the military personnel I have come in contact with informed me it is: "Present Arms" and "Order Arms".

 

If the BSA is supposed to be non-military, why is it still using military terms? :(

 

Scouts and leaders Attention! Very military :(

 

The bugle calls are military too. :(

 

BSA has ranks, so does the military. :(

 

Scout is a military term. :(

 

Single file line is military. :(

 

"Lead by example" is right out of the US Army manuals. :(

 

BSA is not a military organization! :(

 

No wonder our boys grow up confused and conflicted.... :)

 

Two! ;)

 

Stosh

 

 

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Yes its two, not to. No Hand Salute is not just a "jarhead" thing, it is a command in the Marines repertoire but also in the Air Forces although different in execution. Not sure about the Navy. It probably was an Army command at one time, D&C like other things changes over the years and it is no longer one of their commands. It really isn't any branches thing; it is a Boy Scout thing (tradition) that does originate with military drill and ceremonies. Also I will say that I know a whole lot of vets that did little to no D&C after basic, so all veterans are by no means experts on drill. I'd lump myself in with that group from my active duty experience and it wasn't for 20 plus years of learning and teaching drill w/ CAP cadets I would stay mum on the subject, I still by no means would say I'm any kind of expert.

 

Two comes from the number of movements to execute the command hand salute, not the preparatory command, command of execution. Every movement has a number of steps to execute; in the case of saluting regardless of the command used to get there, there is one step up and one step down. The Army counts say each command (yes for them present arms/order arms) has one step. The Air Force Hand Salute command has two steps while present arms and order arms are single steps, but their two steps are different from the Scouts.

 

Yes today Scouts while supporting the military separates itself from the military. That wasn't always the way, think about how we started. Scouting for Boys was just a rewrite of the book BP wrote for military scouts. In BSA's early days some uniforms were military surplus, we had drum and bugle corps, and you can find more than one picture of early Scouts that looks like a perfect military formation. So yes while 'Two' started with the military, regardless of branch, it is our own tradition now.

 

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It is a Navy command, or at least part of a command. The correct command is "READY, TWO" to drop a salute. As previously mentioned, the Army (and its spinoff the Air Force) use the command "ORDER, ARMS" instead.

 

How saying "TWO" became a BSA tradition is beyond me. Just guessing, but I presume someone, somewhere was trying to distance the BSA from the military and decided to drop the READY preparatory command. And they ended up with a hokey tradition of just saying the number two. Personally, I find the whole practice annoying.

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Just for clarity, I was contributing to this discussion based purely on my army experience.

 

I was unaware that any of the other services used a command such as "hand salute" instead of "present arms". The notion of incorporating a preparatory command such as "ready" is consistent with past and current practice in all the services as I understand them.

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FWIW, Ready is never an appropriate preparatory command for the AF as far as I can think of sitting here. The Air Force has both the commands Hand Salute and Present Arms / Order Arms, they both serve a seperate purpose. Also since all AF drill started as Army drill I would bet it used to be an Army command. But that really isn't all that important to the discussion. If someone dug out a drill and ceremonies manual for the US Army from 100 years ago and compared it to today they would be different. What we know to be correct in todays military has little bearing of saying Two as the second count of a Hand Salute. I don't think it is an intentional distancing from the military to have removed Ready or even being lazy, more likely that was correct at one time for someone in some context and it stuck with the Scouts. How long have Scouts been saying two as opposed to how long they've worried about being PC? I'm sure the two timelines don't match up.

 

All military knowledge aside, we say two to drop our salute because bringing our hand up at the command Hand Salute or more often Scout Salute was one.

 

Edit: Oops, just thought of two occasions, although still not terriably important to the conversation. Ready is used when doing commands by the numbers (a command used in training,) and in Ready Front.(This message has been edited by ejcrimmins)

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150 years ago the command was Present Arms/Order Arms

 

When scouting first started, the use of the staff was sometimes used and when Present Arms was given, the staff was brought up and held directly in front. If the boy did not have a staff, he hand saluted. Same process was used in the military in that the hand salute with weapon was different than when the soldier was without weapon.

 

The only problem with today's ceremonies is that everyone does it differently and if one goes from one troop to another it is a wee bit confusing. There is no standard manual for use in the BSA so variance is going to rule the day.

 

When early scouts stood in formation all the patrols stood in rank, meaning that if there were 8 patrols there would be 8 ranks. The PL's stood in the first file of each rank with the patrol flag. Today everyone stands in single file line behind the SPL and salutes the back of the head of the boy in front.

 

My boys all stand in rank/file and looking better than the single-file process, our district at camporees have adopted the precedent. At least now some of the smaller boys can actually see the flag they are saluting.

 

Whatever process a troop selects, it should at least show respect and decorum. As I tell my boys, with the flags, it is the most important thing you will be doing all evening.

 

Stosh

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I have no answer for "two". but when I was in the Marines in the mid 1990's we use Present and order arms.

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When early scouts stood in formation all the patrols stood in rank, meaning that if there were 8 patrols there would be 8 ranks. The PL's stood in the first file of each rank with the patrol flag. Today everyone stands in single file line behind the SPL and salutes the back of the head of the boy in front.

 

I have never seen the "single file" formation. Our boys, and every other troop I know stands in rank at flags. The venturers always look a little confuzzled, but that's because they don't come off the trail enough to practice parade formation. ;)

 

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So what _are_ we supposed to use to tell everyone to stop saluting? Is it just a simple case of follow the leader?

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"I have never seen the "single file" formation. Our boys, and every other troop I know stands in rank at flags."

 

At our council camp the flag is surrounded in a semi circle of posts about 10' apart with the names of all the campsites on them. Each troop is expected to have the SPL stand at their post with their troops lined up behind them. In the council to our immediate north, the same procedure is used. In the council camp we attend the boys are in one rank, semi-circle around the flags.

 

It varies from one council to another, but my experience is two out of three stand in single-file. My boys have been taught to stand in rank even if it means standing in the back where there is more room.

 

Stosh

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I spent 10 years serving in the US Army and never heard "2" until I was involved in Scouting. It might be USAF, USN, or USMC. But NOT US Army. "Order Arms" is the command in the US Army to lower from the "Present Arms" position. Not "2". I understand why Scouting might not want too say Order Arms.. it has nothing to do with lowering the one Hand, but a Weapon. "Order... Arms!"...

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I guess I'll offer a swing in this dead horse punch-out we're enjoying. :-)

 

I don't mean to contradict any fellow USAF veterans, but from 1995-2003, I didn't hear any "2" command in either (a) any sort of AETC-endorsed training, such as BMT and AFROTC, or (b) throughout my time associated with our base's honor guard.

 

Quickly (!) skimming AFMAN 36-2203, I don't see "2" listed as either a prep command or one of execution. I HAVE, however, heard the command "2" in an Army context (my wife is a now-former company commander in the USAR). The NCOs used the command a few times in a small formation. It caught my attention because, as mentioned earlier, I never heard "2" in the USAF, and I also thought to myself, "Hey, just like the BSA; how nice." :-)

 

Doesn't mean it was right, incidentally; the NCO could have simply been a former BSA member!

 

http://www.e-publishing.af.mil/shared/media/epubs/AFMAN36-2203.pdf(This message has been edited by msmjr2003)

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Had this conversation with some of my Troops other ASMs today while the boys were out on a 12k, land Nav course. and non of them every heard of it either. One was former USN, and Coast Guard Officer. But no one knew of it before Scouting.. all former Eagle Scouts..

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Although its not really important to the original question here is the AF usage of Hand Salute and Two:

 

Hand Salute is a command used only in training. It is a two count movement. At the command Hand Salute count one is raising the hand to a salute then the second count is to immediately return to attention. It is just used to practice saluting, I doubt you would really ever see it outside of BMT/ROTC/et al and even then Present arms and order arms would probably be more practical.

 

Ready, TWO: again, used only in training. In practicing a multiple count movement, i.e. facing movement, the informational command of BY THE NUMBERS can be used prior to giving the command of Right, FACE for example. The trainee(s) then do count one of the command, there is time for immediate corrections. At the command Ready, TWO the trainee(s) do the second count of the movement. You continue to do movements in this fashion until the command WITHOUT THE NUMBERS (I think thats the right command, without checking) is given. So for the majority of folks in the Air Force they are not going to remember either of these commands after initial entry training.

 

I still wonder if Hand Salute was an Army command at one time in history, not saying in place of present arms but in addition to with a different purpose. Only reason for this is since AF heritage starts with the Air Corps (the Army) they are more likely to have commands in common with the Army at one time in history than with the USMC or Navy. I understand it is not currently.

 

Saying Two in a Scouting context is supported by the Ceremonies for Dens and Packs as well is in several ceremonies in the Troop Resource Guide. Whatever the origin it certainly seems to be correct, not that I'm saying its mandatory, but its not incorrect.

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