Ask The Commander! April Responses

| April 2, 2010 | 0 Comments

Col. Matthew Margotta, Garrison CommanderThe “Ask the Commander” program is designed as a communication tool to allow Soldiers, civilians and family members to get concerns addressed and questions answered by the garrison commander. All submitted questions go directly to the garrison commander; directorates and support staff research queries and provide responses to the commander.

Due to newspaper space limitations, only a sampling of questions are printed or broadcast on TV2, a channel available on Army installations. Generally, the commander answers questions of community-wide impact.

Q:Can you please remind our community what the appropriate action is to take when the flag is being lowered at the end of the day?

A: The U.S. Army is steeped in a rich history of traditions, including ceremonies we conduct to convey honor and respect to our nation and to the members of our military community.

Among our many traditions are the different bugle calls that are rendered. The most familiar bugle calls are reveille, retreat and taps.

Reveille and retreat signify the beginning and end of our workday. At 6:30 a.m., reveille is played and the American flag is raised, signifying the start of the official duty day.

Service members in uniform who are outside should face toward the direction of the flagpole (if visible) or toward the sound of the music and render a hand salute.

The salute is lowered when the music stops playing.

Service members not in uniform should stand at attention without saluting. Civilians should stop what they are doing and face the direction of the flagpole and place their hands over their hearts. Personnel in vehicles should stop the vehicle and wait until reveille concludes.

Retreat is played at 5 p.m., denoting the close of the duty day. The same protocol that is used during reveille should also be followed during retreat. However, retreat is played, first, followed by the firing of cannon and then the playing of “To the Colors.”

The American flag is lowered and a salute is rendered during “To the Colors.”

At 10 p.m., taps is sounded, calling for quiet and an end to the day.

While established protocols govern reveille and retreat, I would ask you to think beyond “what to do” and consider more “why we do it.”

The American flag is a symbol of our great nation. As it is raised and lowered each day, I invite you to reflect on our American values and on the freedoms and liberties we enjoy.

Remember the Soldiers who defend our nation and those who are with us today and those who have fallen.
The next time the bugle sounds, let it be a reminder to pay tribute, not because it is required of you, not because it is tradition, but because you feel pride for our country and are honoring those who serve.

Having your voice heard
Another successful Army Family Action Plan conference concluded March 18. I was reminded again how the garrison is best able to serve the community when we are able to hear its concerns and suggestions.

Please remember that throughout the year, there are several methods you can use to be heard.

The Interactive Customer Evaluation system, or ICE, is one of the primary ways that our customers – our community members – can reach us.

Through ICE, community members can comment, via a Web link, on a specific transaction with a particular service provider. Every comment submitted is immediately e-mailed to an installation service manager.
Access ICE at

Another method to communicate is the Installation Action Council.  The council is composed of Soldier and spouse representatives from each brigade and command, and from constituent groups, such as retirees, veterans, civilian employees and single Soldiers.

The council has a unique opportunity to talk with the garrison leadership about community issues.
To submit an issue you’d like reviewed by the council, call 655-9033 or go to

Additionally, community members can attend quarterly town hall meetings. For upcoming meetings, contact the North Community office at 655-0497 or the South Community office at 438-6996.

To reach the Community Relations office at the Directorate of Emergency Services, call 655-5170 in the North and 438-8727 in the South.

Finally, to reach the Army Hawaii Family Housing Resident Hotline, call 275-3710 in the North or 275-3810 in the South.

To learn more about these and other community outreach programs, call Customer Management Services at 655-9033 or send an e-mail to 

More Information

To submit an “Ask the Commander” question, send an e-mail to or go to the TV2 taping Aug. 4, 3:30-4:30 p.m., at the Schofield Barracks Main Post Exchange.

For more information, call Ophelia Isreal (655-9303) at Customer Management Services, or call Aiko Brum (656-3155) or Jack Wiers (656-3489) at U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs.

Category: News, Standing Columns

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *