Visits / Introductions

Visits / Introductions

The information contained herein is quoted from A Guide To Protocol And Etiquette For Official Entertainment (Pamphlet No. 600-60 Headquarters Department of the Army Washington, D.C., dated 15 October 1989)


The exchange of courtesy visits is one of the Army’s oldest and best established traditions. This is one way soldiers can make social contacts among themselves. These visits, known as official and social calls, are essential to mutual understanding, respect, confidence, and teamwork. The size and complexity of today’s Army may hinder the exchange of courtesy visits. You should follow established customs of the Service, whenever possible.


Policies for making official and social calls differ widely in the various commands and organizations. Such calls are not made as extensively as in past years. Ask the adjutant, the commander’s Aide, or the agency executive officer about the commander’s wishes.


  1. General. All official calls are made at the office of the person visited.
  2. Arrival Calls. Paid by a subordinate to an immediate superior and then on that officer’s superior; i.e., new major to a battalion sets a courtesy call with his Battalion Commander and Brigade Commander for introduction. Another method is to have the newcomer escorted to the various offices, introduced to fellow workers, then at a time convenient to superiors, by appointment, courtesy calls are made. Official calls are made within 48 hours after arrival at the new location.
  3. Departure Calls. The official procedures for leaving an installa-tion or post may vary. Custom requires that an officer departing the post make an official call on his immediate commanding officers as an act of courtesy.


The practice of making social calls has declined greatly. The more common practice today is to have a “hail and farewell” to introduce newcomers and say goodbye to those leaving. However, one should inquire as to which method the commander prefers upon arrival at the new location.

  1. Some general rules for making social calls:
    1. Calls are normally made at the officer’s residence.
    2. The visit is planned at a time convenient to the officer visited.
    3. If the commander is married and the commander’s spouse is present, the spouse of the officer making the visit should also attend.
    4. Social calls should last no less than 10 minutes and no more than 15, unless the caller is requested to stay longer.
  2. Commander's Reception. The custom at many installations is for the senior officer to periodically entertain assigned officers and their spouses at a reception or series of receptions.
  3. New Year’s Day Call. It is customary in many organizations for the officers of the unit to call on the commanding officer on New Year’s Day. One should inquire as to the local policy and how the commander desires to have people call; e.g., alphabetical: A-M 1300-1415, M-Z 1430-1545.


General guidelines. Brevity and accuracy are the two requirements that must be kept in mind when introducing people. The person making the introduction is completely in charge of the situation for the length of time that it takes to effect it. There are a few simple rules to remember, as shown below.

  1. A man is always presented to a woman—with the exception of the president of any country, a king, a dignitary of the Church, or when a junior female officer is “officially” presented to a senior male officer.
  2. The honored/higher-ranking person’s name is stated first, then the name of the person being presented.
  3. Young people are presented to older people of the same sex.
  4. A single person is introduced to a group.