The Silver Dollar Salute
Why do newly commissioned Officers give a Silver Dollar to the recipient of their first salute?
This long standing tradition doesn't seem to be documented in any military publications. It apparently started sometime in the 19th century with the Army. In the mid 19th century a dollar, especially a silver dollar was worth much more than it is today.
It is said that you have to buy your first salute and then earn every salute there after through your performance and by gaining the respect of your subordinates. The Navy adopted the tradition some time prior to WW II and today the tradition is considered a way to show respect for those superior enlisted personnel who helped you achieve your commissioned status. We don't know how precise this theory is, but this is what we tell those who ask.
BJ 'n Cindy