Custom and Courtesies in the Army: Upholding Tradition and Respect

Customs and Courtesies in the Army

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Customs and courtesies are the foundation of many organizations. Universities, law enforcement agencies, and the military all have them. Like other organizations, customs, and courtesies in the Army foster discipline and morale while providing a way of sustaining traditions for generations.

Customs and courtesies in the Army are no different. They are a source of pride that any member can attest to. They are marks of respect to self, fellow service members, flag, and country. All members of the army perform them with solemnity and distinction.

It’s important to know what these are and what they mean. It can ensure your actions in a military setting are never disrespectful. Read on to learn more about these Army foundations.

What are Military Customs and Courtesies?

Army customs and courtesies create an inevitable bond among military members, regardless of when they were in service. It can even unite members of the different branches of the armed forces.

This unique military etiquette helps integrate recruits. The rigors of basic training provide the perfect setting for them to learn the meaning behind army customs and courtesies. It becomes second nature as they internalize and incorporate them into their daily routine. That often leads to a greater sense of community and belonging to a meaningful cause.  


Defined as an established practice, customs are positive actions that promote consistent behavior. Military customs can help create a more cordial environment that would otherwise be difficult to maintain in the close quarters of a military base.

An example of a well-known custom in the military is the bugle call. It signifies the daily raising and the lowering of the flag. Service members must stop what they’re doing to stand and salute.


Courtesies are good manners and politeness extended to others during daily interaction. Both are crucial to maintaining discipline in the military. They differ from civilian courtesies in many ways and are essential while serving in uniform.

A typical example of military courtesy is the salute. This seemingly unassuming act has a wealth of meaning behind it. It’s a sign of respect and a recognition of the commitment made by both members. That is true even though the junior officers extend the greeting first. All customs and courtesies in the Army are rooted in respect.

3 Other Military Traditions

Countless movies and television shows replicate army traditions. It’s one of the reasons they’re well-known to civilians as well. Here are three other traditions that may not be as familiar.

Creating Challenge Coins for Brigades

Brigades are battalions comprised of 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers. They provide tactical support in both wartime and peacetime. 

Challenge coins are a time-honored tradition. They can symbolize a tour of active duty or a significant event. It’s a commemorative piece that denotes membership and honors those who served bravely as part of a unit. It may often depict a special occasion, achievement, or experience the group has shared. It’s an honored keepsake, allowing unit members to remember those they served with and commemorating any losses.

It is such a significant tradition that has extended beyond the military. Law enforcement agencies, business organizations, and even Presidents now use Challenge Coins. They help boost morale and foster a feeling of belonging to something meaningful.

Denoting Rank with Belt Buckles

Every item on a military uniform is significant. They are either used for practical purposes or to denote a rank or unit. The belt buckle is no exception and has a long history in the US military.

They were first introduced centuries ago to secure weapons and armor during combat. They also kept soldiers’ cloaks fastened. Usually made out of iron, they slowly became more decorative over time.

Silver and gold evolved as the more popular metals of choice, coinciding with the creation of even more intricate designs. They also began to depict an officer’s rank and are still an essential part of military uniforms today.

It’s also often a tell-tale sign of a particular designation, such as the Navy Mustangs. Many of these officers whose actions fast-tracked them to active duty wear a belt buckle depicting the horse of the same name. The Manchu belt buckle is also symbolic and commemorates the 85-mile march of the 9th regiment in the 1900s.

Salute to Colors

We’ve already detailed the importance of saluting fellow military members. It is an act extended to the national flag as well. Salute to colors refers to the saluting of the flag.

Colors are national flags mounted on pikes or short flag staffs. Military personnel must salute from six steps away when passing a national color. They hold the salute until they’ve passed six steps beyond it. They must perform the same act when a national color is passing by. This tradition does not pertain to civilian spectators who may be carrying small flags at a parade.

Having Respect for the Customs and Courtesies of the Army

Seeing some of the more well-known customs and courtesies of the army can invoke a sense of pride in even non-members of the military. That is often due to the solemnity observed while they are being performed. They’re actions steeped in tradition, and understanding their significance isn’t difficult.

For most military members, it continues to be the code they live by, even as they re-enter civilian life. You may no longer experience the disciplined structure that was once a part of your daily routine. Still, it isn’t something you are likely to forget. Despite this, physical reminders of this past life can bring comfort and significance.

Challenge coins and belt buckles are two items that can help keep these memories alive. Lone Star Challenge Coins can create customized replicas of these symbolic items. We also customize lapel pins, medals, patches, and more.

We are a Veteran-managed company, so we know the importance of keeping traditions alive. We can create a unique piece as a reminder of the military time you still hold dear. Contact us to learn more and get a free proof and quote today!

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J and jarren
J and jarren
10 November 2023
My class spent well over $9,000 on our class coins. First issue, they didn't get them to us in a timely manner. We received them barely in time for graduation. Second, they sent us coins with a misspelled word (brave) as seen in the picture. Third issue, a lot of the spinners came broken, also as seen in the picture. When I reached out to the company, they claim sending replacement coins out at a later date is rectifying of this situation. Very empathetic to the situation at hand overall. Not very professional at all, terrible business practices and they definitely will not receive future business from me nor any recommendations either. Zero stars
M. Wong
M. Wong
27 October 2023
I found this company last year after a recommendation from a friend and I've ordered several times now. What keeps me coming back is the high level of customer service and responsiveness in the projects that have been created. The work product is also great and the quality of the coins, detail and just overall, I am very pleased with. This is my GO TO shop now for coins. Please check them out, you will not be disappointed! PS. Big shout to Corbin for his amazing guest service!
Stephen Ryan
Stephen Ryan
25 October 2023
This company is fantastic! I reached out to them to create a custom shaped coin with custom artwork that they had put together for me. The coins are a Veteran's Day thank you token for those who served at our company. We will definitely be returning for future orders. From start to finish, they were very open with communication, extremely fast to respond to concerns and questions, and lastly delivered something that blew us out of the water. Thank you so much!
Alejandra O'Connor
Alejandra O'Connor
25 October 2023
I ordered challenge coins on behalf of my government agency. Lone Star was easy to work with and did amazing things with the graphics I sent. They turned the artwork around quickly and each time it was better than what we had hoped for. We did have several back and forth messages to get the coin exactly as we wanted it. Our representative was so patient with us and had excellent customer service. We also got the coins in the mail quickly. Working with Lone Star was a wonderful experience end-to-end.
Italy Mair
Italy Mair
18 October 2023
Great service, great communication, and great products! Would definitely recommend them.
Rafael Moronta
Rafael Moronta
13 October 2023
Amazing artwork.. aside from the product what I loved most of our experience was the flexibility to create a coin that’s exceeds your own expectations. Thank you guys so much for making the process seamless and affordable!
5 October 2023
Absolutely fantastic company to work with. Communication was always quick, and the final product looked even better than the proof did. 10/10 would recommend!
26 September 2023
I engaged with Lone star challenge coins to make coins for my fiancé's celebration of life. I was pretty clueless about design, and they provided the perfect design. The coins arrived in time, and we were more than satisfied with the outcome. Their customer service was excellent as well. They guided me (held my hand) throughout the process, and were quick to respond. I cannot say enough about their product and company.
Debbie Avinger
Debbie Avinger
26 September 2023
We are so grateful for the work Lone Star Challenge Coins did for our nonprofit fundraising event! They worked with our budget and gave us medals with ribbons and challenge coins that were better than we expected.
Dan Kiser
Dan Kiser
22 September 2023
Corbin was very combative when I explained that the design provided was not at all reflective of the requests that I provided on the Inquiry form. Based on the customer service alone during that 1 phone call, I am not inclined to pursue any business with this company. EDIT: I spoke to the owner, Mike, and he helped rectify the situation and framed it as a learning opportunity for his team. This is a good reminder that people make mistakes but first impressions matter.
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