First call

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"First Call" is a bugle call with three distinct meanings.

At a U.S. military installation it is a pre-reveille "courtesy" signal, sounded around 05:50, originally to assemble the trumpeteers to deliver the reveille that would be forthcoming at 06:00. Some locations also sound it a few minutes before retreat (lowering the flag at the end of the day). In other military contexts it may be used (e.g. 5 minutes) prior to sounding Assembly for any particular formation. Individuals who have not fallen in by the last note of Assembly may be considered late or AWOL.[citation needed]

On ships of the US Navy, First Call is sounded at 0755, 5 minutes ahead of Morning Colors (raising the national ensign), and 5 minutes before Evening Colors (lowering the national ensign). In the absence of a bugle, the word is passed, "First call, first call to colors." The same ceremony takes place on shore establishments but not on ships underway.[1]

At a horse race, it is a signal that all mounts should be at the paddock exit in order to proceed to the track to begin the post parade. The tune is usually sounded by a bugler five to 10 minutes before the scheduled start time of the race. The call serves a similar purpose in dog racing. When used for this purpose, the bugle call is usually referred to as the Call to the Post.[2]

Bugle Calls First Call.svg


  1. ^ "Naval traditions about flags". Retrieved 2 July 2016. 
  2. ^ "A Last Hurrah for Hollywood Park". The New York Times. 15 December 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2016. 

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