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17-gun salute??

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Eightball, Jul 24, 2005.

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  1. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    "Today, General William Westmoreland, onetime commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, was buried yesterday at the U.S. Military Academy [at 91]. . . following a private chapel service . . . 17-gun salute at West Point" following the coffin's descent. (Quoted from my local newspaper).

    Now, this might be kinda random, but when did we start giving 17-gun salutes? I always thought that it was more along the lines of a 21-gun salute for military members (or volleys of factors of 21 in order to match that number) :confused: ? Am I just confused, or did I miss the boat that dictates how many guns of a salute exist? Would someone please explain this so that those of us who aren't up-to-date on military procedures have an idea of what is the deal?
     
  2. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Member

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    21-gun salutes are reserved for nations and heads of state. As a general officer, Westmoreland rated 17 guns.

    Pilgrim
     
  3. Kharn

    Kharn Member

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    Yeap, not everyone gets 21 guns.

    Kharn
     
  4. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    Many people confuse the firing of a salute with the volleys of musketry which are fired over the grave at a military funeral.

    There is a protocol that states how many guns fire in salute of a dignitary. This salute is fired with howitzers. I believe a 21 gun salute is reserved for heads of state.

    Three volleys of musketry are fired at the end of a military funeral to signal the end of the funeral. It dates back to the days when conflicting armies would call a truce to clear the battlefield of dead and wounded. Three volleys of musketry was the signal to the other side that you had finished burying your dead and evacuated your wounded and were ready to continue operations. The custom lives on today as the closing (along with the playing of taps) of a funeral where military honors are rendered.

    HTH

    Jeff
     
  5. isp2605

    isp2605 Member

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    It's an old military tradition. The number of guns fired depended on the person's rank. The president (CIC) got 21, full generals got 17 guns, and then down the rank meant lesser guns.
     
  6. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    See here for a brief summary of gun salutes and who rates how many guns.
     
  7. AechKay

    AechKay Member

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    I believe Charles de Gaulle got a 17 gun salute when he came to the US. The history channel said 17 gun salutes were fashioned for generals and such. *Shrug* just what I heard.
     
  8. BlackCat

    BlackCat member

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    So how many gun salute do I get if I'm killed in Iraq? None?

    I always though it'd be a 21 gun salute, but apparently not.

    I remember when I was about 5, I attended a WW2 vet's funeral where they played taps, and I thought there was a gun salute of sorts.
     
  9. BlackCat

    BlackCat member

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  10. Clean97GTI

    Clean97GTI Member

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    just remember how many salutes the enlisted rifleman receives. ;)
     
  11. CAPTAIN MIKE

    CAPTAIN MIKE Member

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    21 Guns

    The only 21 guns I'm ever going to see or hear are the ones in my GUN SAFE
     
  12. Kharn

    Kharn Member

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    Dont forget "This is my rifle, this is my gun", howitzers serve a different purpose than riflemen.

    Kharn
     
  13. Double Maduro

    Double Maduro Member

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    You may not get a gun salute, but you are entitled to a real bugler and a piper if you want.

    I have told everyone I know that I want a bugler to blow taps. I get misty whenever I hear it.

    I also want a piper to play "Ina godda davida", all 18 minutes of it.

    DM
     
  14. Powderman

    Powderman Member

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    In a military funeral, there are the pallbearers, the NCOIC, and the firing squad.

    The firing squad consists of 7 servicemembers. Each has a rifle and 3 rounds of blank ammunition.

    The command sequence goes like this:

    ATTENTION

    WITH BLANK AMMUNITION, LOAD.
    (Execute port arms, half right face, and open stance to the same position as parade rest.

    READY
    Chamber the first round if this has not been done; or place your selector switch to semi, or release the safety lock.

    AIM
    The butt of the weapon is snapped smartly under the right arm, weapon pointed upward at about a 40 degree angle, finger on trigger.

    FIRE

    One volley is fired.

    AIM
    Cycle the bolt if necessary.

    FIRE
    Second volley fired.

    AIM
    Cycle if needed.

    FIRE
    Final volley fired.

    CEASE FIRE
    Weapon returned to port arms, execute a half left face.

    PRESENT, ARMS

    Then, Taps is played.

    (Note: This procedure is Army-oriented; I'm not sure about the other branches.

    7 rifles X 3 rounds = 21 rounds fired.
     
  15. onrhander

    onrhander Member

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    This thread brings back the memory of when we laid my farther,aWWII vet, to rest in the Vetegans' Cematery,almost five years ago. Three rounds.Three spent shells to the family members,our mouther and the five of us.We ,the 5 of us mom is now gone also,will get together for a remberance on that day in August.God how we all miss him,even my granddauther(all of 7) misses her popa-popa.
     
  16. JamisJockey

    JamisJockey member

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    Powderman:
    Pretty much the same, except IIRC we (I was a jarhead) didn't use the "With Blank ammunition" part. I'm pretty sure it was "Load", "ready", etc.
     
  17. BlackCat

    BlackCat member

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    Powderman, thank you.

    That's how I remember it.

    So while not technically a 21 gun salute, it's a great compromise.
     
  18. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    Powderman,
    The firing party can consist of 3-10 soldiers. Seven is normally used, but FM 21-5 (they've renumbered them since I retired don''t have the current number handy) allowed for a firing party of various sizes depending on manpower as available.

    As I stated in my earlier post, the firing of volleys of musketry is not a 21 gun salute even if it consists of 21 rounds being fired. It has a totally different meaning. A gun salute consists of firing a certain number of artillery pieces.

    Jeff
     
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