Army

May 17, 2012

Decoding post’s bugle calls

by Charles Melton

Throughout the day, numerous bugle calls echo through the High Desert air at the National Training Center and while some meanings are obvious to everyone, others are a bit mysterious to those with no military background.

Below are the times and meanings of each of the bugle calls heard during a normal duty day.

  • 5:30 a.m.: “First Call” marks the beginning of the day.
  • 6:05 a.m.: “Mess Call,” or the beginning of the breakfast meal on the installation.
  • 6:30 a.m.: “Reveille” sounds across the installation as those not in vehicles should stand at attention and face the direction of the post flag. Soldiers should present a proper military salute and civilians should place their right hands over their heart at this time. Those travelling in vehicles should pull safely off to the side of the road and the driver should get out of the vehicle, face the direction of the flag and render the proper salute.
  • 7:30 a.m.: “Drill Call,” or the end of the daily morning physical training period on the installation.
  • 9 a.m.: “Police Call,” or the start of the duty day for all Soldiers on the installation.
  • 11:30 a.m.: “Mess Call,” or the beginning of the lunch period on the installation.
  • 12:55 p.m.: “Assembly,” or the five minute warning before the duty day resumes at 1 p.m.
  • 1 p.m.: “Drill Call,” or the resumption of the duty for the afternoon.
  • 4:30 p.m.: “Recall,” signaling the approaching of the end of the duty day.
  • 4:55 p.m.: “Assembly,” meaning all units should be gathered in formation in preparation for Retreat at 5 p.m.
  • 5 p.m.: “Retreat” sounds across the installation. Those not in vehicles should stand at attention and face the direction of the post flag. Soldiers should present a proper military salute and civilians should place their right hands over their heart at the first note of “To the Colors.”  Those travelling in vehicles should pull safely off to the side of the road and the driver (Soldier or Civilian) should get out of the vehicle and face the direction of the flag and render the proper salute at the first note of “To the Colors.”
  • 10 p.m.: “Tattoo” serves as notice to all Soldiers that it’s time to begin returning to their quarters.
  • 10:30 p.m.: “To Quarters,” means exactly that. It is time for Soldiers to return to their quarters at the end of the day.
  • 11 p.m.: “Taps” brings an end to the day on the installation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On weekends and holidays, first call is at 6:30 a.m., “Reveille” isn’t played until 7 a.m., mess call is at 8:30 a.m., 12 noon and 4 p.m.; police call is at 9 a.m., “Retreat” is still played at 5 p.m., and the times for “Tattoo,” “To Quarters” and “Taps” remain at their same times.




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