Bad puzzler answer = bad puzzler

Hey, if your hands are full, you don’t have to salute. In fact many guys tried very hard to carry something to eliminate the need to salute. It’s SOP.

I was just told that this is only true from an officer’s standpoint. I got the info years ago from my father who was an officer. If HIS hands were full he was not required to RETURN the salute of a saluting enlisted man, but an enlisted man was always supposed to salute him and should keep his right hand free for that purpose.

Glad I was never in the military.

I was enlisted and if MY hands were full I gave that assifer a nod and a “charge hard, sir”…

You were told wrong. I was in the Air Force and if your hands were full, enlisted or officer, you didn’t have to salute.

BTW: I’m glad you were never in the service too!

Different services have different rules: indoors, outdooors, cover, no cover, straight, gay…Medal of Honor recipient in view (let’s hope that one’s cross-service)…

While I have never been in the military, everything I have found suggests that there is no requirement that someone in civilian clothes or with the hands full to try to salute.

The soldier gives away his identity by holding a pair of grocery sacks in such a way as to allow him to salute. But, by Army regulations, he is not required to salute in either of his two situations:
In civilian attire
Carrying articles with both hands.

See Army Regulations, 600-25, 1-5,section i

Saluting when not in uniform and uncovered is not usually performed by members of the Naval Services. You may see this practice in the Army and/or the Air Force. If you are saluted and you are not in uniform or in uniform and not covered, tradition dictates that you do not salute. Instead you may great the person saluting you with “Good Morning”, “Good Afternoon”, or “Good Evening” depending on the situation. If you approach someone who is senior to you and you are in civilian attire, you do not salute. Instead, you may say “Good Morning Sir or Ma’am” depending on the situation.

I thought the point of the answer was that if you had something in your right hand but not your left, you were still supposed to salute, so by habit they learn to carry what they can in their left hand so they have a hand free. While he may not have been required to salute, it was so ingrained in his mind at that point that he did it anyways.

Even before the vets chimed in here and said this isn’t really the case, that a former soldier might still carry sacks in two hands and not be expected to salute, I thought the solution to this Puzzler was kind of BO-GUSSSS because of how Ray phrased it at the time he first read it:

"I had a pair of grocery sacks in hand… Now you have all the facts. You don?t need to infer anything further… Everything you need to know to solve the Puzzler is right there, I believe.?

That’s kind of a stretch, because the listener does need to infer that the two grocery sacks are in his left hand.

My name is SGT John E. Philibert. This truly happened. I was assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division in Friedberg, Germany from 2000 to 2003. It happened in nearby Butzbach as I left the marktplatz after picking up some groceries. When I asked the fellow how on Earth he knew I was a Soldier, he pointed to the bags and said, “You keep zee right hand free, ja?” and rendered a proper salute. I looked at other shoppers in the crowded marktplatz and noticed that everyone else had their bags distributed in both hands. I was the only person who had all my bags bundled up in my left hand.

It is correct that, if your hands are full, you don’t need to salute. It is also true that if you are in civilian clothes, you don’t need to salute. It is also true that many servicemembers make the conscious effort to put something in both hands to avoid the need to salute, sometimes to the point of absudity, like a pack of cigarettes in one hand and a lighter in the other, then say, “Look. My hands are full. I don’t need to salute.” I’d call them slackers. The point of the puzzler is that it was so ingrained after years in the Army, that I unconsciously put all my grocery bags in my left hand. It was just a habit. Still is. It wasn’t a obvious clue, but it was a subtlety that a sharp-eyed local picked up. I’ve noticed that Marines walking in a group will usually be in step and in formation, whether dressed in civilan clothes or not. Smokers who are or have ever been in the military will hold their cigarettes with their hand over the glowing cherry when they take a drag. Military terms work their way into conversations with non-military; Hoo-ah, roger, copy, say again, ate up, FUBAR, SNAFU, et cetera.