Rob Melendez, MD, MBA

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Air Force Core Values

History of the Military Salute. For centuries, men of arms have used some form of the military salute as an exchange of greeting. Modern armed forces, which have inherited some of their military traditions from the Middle Ages, have preserved the military salute and continued its use. The method of giving the salute has varied through the ages, as it still varies in form among the armed forces of today.
Although the genesis of the military salute is shrouded in the mysteries of the ages, historians do have some idea of how it began. In the Middle Ages, for example, knights were mounted and wore armor that covered the body completely, including the head and the face. When two friendly knights met, their custom was for each to raise the visor and expose his face to the view of the other. They always raised the visor with the right hand and held the reins with the left. It was a significant gesture of friendship and confidence, because it exposed the features and also removed the right hand—the sword hand—from the vicinity of the weapon. ”

Excerpt From: Col. Jeffrey C. Benton USAF (Ret.). “Air Force Officer’s Guide 35th Edition.” iBooks.

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