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Table of Honors

Air Force Protocol
from 'Til Wheels are Up'

In place of gun salutes, the number of persons in the honor cordon indicates the type of honors being accorded. The numbers in the “honor cordon” column include the honor cordon commander and airmen, but do not include additional flights used for the presidential ceremonies, or on special occasions the installation commander considers appropriate.
Distinguished PersonsHonor CordonRuffles & FlourishesMusicFlags
President214National Anthem2
Hail to the Chief2,3
United States & Presidential
Ex-President214National AnthemUnited States
Heads of State of foreign countries and Reigning Royalty214Foreign AnthemUnited States & Foreign
Vice President194Hail to ColumbiaUnited States & command
Governor of a State of the United States In Jurisdiction194Honors March5United States & command
The Chief Justice of the United States194Honors March5United States & command
Foreign prime minister of other cabinet officer, foreign ambassador, high commissioner, or special diplomatic representative whose credentials give him authority equal to or greater than that of an ambassador194National or Foreign Anthem4United States & command
Speaker of the House of Representatives194Honors March5United States & command
Secretary of State194Honors March5United States & command
The United States Representative to the United Nations194Honors March5United States & command
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States194Honors March5United States & command
Secretary of Defense194Honors March5United States & command
Cabinet Members194Honors March5United States & command
Governor of a State of the United States out of jurisdiction194Honors March5United States & command
United States Senators194Honors March5United States & command
Members of the House of Representatives of the United States194Honors March5United States & command
Deputy Secretary of Defense; Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force194Honors March5United States & command
Director of Defense Research and Engineering194Honors March5United States & command
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Chief of Staff, United States Army; Chief of Naval Operations; Chief of Staff, USAF; Commandant of the Marine Corps1964Honors March5United States & command
General of the Army; Fleet Admiral; General of the Air Force (five-star rank)1964Honors March5United States & command
Under Secretaries of the Cabinet; Solicitor General174Honors March5United States & command
Assistant Secretaries to the Cabinet; Assistant to the Attorney General174Honors March5United States & command
Assistant Secretaries of Defense and the General Counsel of the DOD and Undersecretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force1764Honors March5United States & command
General and Admirals (four star rank)1764Honors March5United States & command
Assistant Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force1764Honors March5United States & command
Lieutenant Generals, Vice Admirals1563Honors March5United States & command
Foreign Ambassadors out of jurisdiction152Honors March5United States & command
Major Generals, Rear Admirals (Upper half)1362Honors March5United States & command
Brigadier Generals, Rear Admirals (Lower half)1161Honors March5United States & command
Other Commissioned Officers961Honors March5United States & command
  1. Same number in honor cordon is provided on departures as on arrival for all distinguished persons.
  2. The United States Navy Band arrangements of the National Anthem and the United States Marine Corps Band arrangements of “Hail to the Chief” are designated as the official Department of Defense arrangements to be henceforth played by all service bands on appropriate occasions.
  3. The traditional musical selection “Hail to the Chief” is designated as a musical tribute to the President of the United States; as such, it will not be performed by military musical organizations as a tribute to other dignitaries. Performances of this selection will be subject to:
    1. During “Hail to the Chief” by military musical organizations, military personnel in uniform, other than band personnel, will accord the same honor as they would for the National Anthem or “To the Colors.”
    2. If, in the course of any ceremony, honors must be performed more than once, “Hail to the Chief” may be used interchangeably with the National Anthem as honors to the President of the United States.
    3. When specified by the President, the Secretary of State, the Chief of the Secret Service, or their authorized representatives, “Hail to the Chief” may be used as an opportunity for the President and his immediate party to move to or from their places while all others stand fast.
  4. When one or more foreign national anthems and the U. S. National Anthem are to be performed, the U. S. National Anthem will be performed last, except in conjunction with morning colors.
  5. Army or Air Force generals receive the Generals March; admirals, commodores, or Marine generals receive the Admirals March; all others not specified receive the last 32-bar strain of the “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”
  6. Foreign civilian and military officials, occupying positions comparable to these U. S. Officials, will receive equivalent honors. Foreign recipients of honors must be representatives of countries recognized by the United States.
  7. Appropriate background music is any music such as national air or a folk song favorably associated with the distinguished person or his country. If no such music is known or available, any well-sounding music of universal appeal and propriety may be used. All music performed as background should be appropriately subdued to the principal action.
  8. Appropriate inspection music may be in any meter and played so that is would not require the inspection party to conform to its cadence.
  9. Commanders of Air Force installations may obtain recorded music on discs for use in conjunction with honors and ceremonies by writing direct to the Audio Section, United States Air Force Band, Bolling AFB, DC 20332.
  10. In events honoring foreign dignitaries, the flag of the foreign country of the guest or guests being honored should be included in the color guard when available.