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The Presidential Salute Battery (Guns Platoon [1]) is an element of the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment. The battery, which is staffed by soldiers qualified as MOS 11C (Mortarman)[2] , is chiefly responsible for firing ceremonial gun-salute honors in general officer funerals and retirements, on state occasions, and in a tactical capacity, is tasked with providing the regiment's indirect fire support.[3]

Presidential Salute Battery
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Active1953 – Present
Country United States
Branch United States Army
RoleMemorial affairs, ceremonies and special events
Part of3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard)
Garrison/HQJoint Base Myer–Henderson Hall


Activated in 1953, the Presidential Salute Battery is equipped with ten 3-inch Gun M5s which have been mounted on M6 howitzer carriages. The M5 is a World War II-era anti-tank weapon.[4][5]

The Presidential Salute Battery pictured in 2013 during a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

The battery renders gun salutes according to a customary order of arms which is 21 rounds for heads of state (including the president of the United States and former presidents); 19 for the vice-president of the United States, foreign chiefs of government, and members of the cabinet of the United States; and 17, 15, 13, and 11 for flag officers of the rank of O-10, O-9, O-8, and O-7, respectively.[6]

Under an 1890 regulation issued by the United States Department of War, the "Salute to the Union" consists of one round for every state of the United States, or 50 rounds since 1959; it is fired by the battery annually at noon on U.S. Independence Day.[7][8] The Presidential Salute Battery fires blank artillery rounds packed with a 1.5 pound powder charge.[9]



The battery is assigned to Arlington National Cemetery for full honor burials of sitting and former presidents of the United States, sitting cabinet secretaries, and military flag officers, as well as wreath laying ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknowns .[10] For funerals at Arlington it uses one of two firing positions, either from Section 4 of the cemetery on Dewey Drive, or at Red Springs on McClellan Drive.[11]

Public and military observancesEdit

The battery fires ceremonial gun salutes at events including the U.S. Army's weekly Twilight Tattoo, observances for Flag Day and Independence Day, and at the inauguration of a new president of the United States.[12][13][14][15][16]

Presidential Salute Battery soldiers train on the M252 mortar in 2013, their primary equipment for non-ceremonial duties.

Military operationsEdit

In support of the 3rd Infantry Regiment's tactical responsibilities, platoon members operate the 81mm M252 mortar system, per the 11C MOS job assignment, as battalion weapons platoon for the regiment.[17]

State and official visitsEdit

During the White House arrival ceremony at state and official visits, the battery fires gun salutes from a firing position in President's Park during the performance of the visiting state's national anthem.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Army 3rd U.S. Infantry Salute Guns Platoon members Sgt. Richard Lewi of Upper Marlboro, Md., and Spc. Stacy Nichols of Cleveland stand ready for a 21-gun salute to the president. Photo by Cpl. Joe Battista, USMC". Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  2. ^ A day in the Life of the Old Guard, the Army's oldest unit, Pentagon Channel
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Presidential Salute Battery". U.S. Army. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  5. ^ Michael, John (2011). Fort Myer. Arcadia. p. 127. ISBN 1439642346.
  6. ^ FM 3–21.5 "Drill and Ceremonies". U.S. Army. 2003.
  7. ^ "Expect to Hear Booms from 50-Gun Salute Tomorrow". WTOP-AM. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Origin of the 21-Gun Salute". U.S. Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  9. ^ "Presidential Salute Battery Practice". 27 August 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  10. ^ "Full Military Honors". Arlington National Cemetery. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  11. ^ Knudsen, Robert (2008). A Living Treasure: Seasonal Photographs of Arlington National Cemetery. Potomac Books. ISBN 159797272X.
  12. ^ Leipold, JD. "Twilight Tattoo marks 238 years of Army history". U.S. Army. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  13. ^ Vigeant, Fred (17 June 2015). "A Capitol Fourth Celebration". WITF-TV. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  14. ^ "On Flag Day, U.S. Army Celebrates 238th Birthday". Indian Country Media Network. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  15. ^ Vinyard, Erica. "Always heard but never seen". U.S. Army. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  16. ^ Levy, Leonard (1994). Encyclopedia of the American Presidency, Volume 4. Simon & Schuster. p. 1348. ISBN 0132759756.
  17. ^ Ballentine, Chris. "Presidential Salute Battery Conducts Mortar Live Fire". U.S. Army. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  18. ^ French, Mary Mel (2010). United States Protocol. Rowman & Littlefield.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Presidential Salute Battery at Wikimedia Commons