Hail and Farewell

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Hail and Farewell (a translation of ave atque vale, last words of the poem Catullus 101) is a traditional military event whereby those coming to and departing from an organization are celebrated. This may coincide with a change in command, be scheduled on an annual basis, or be prompted by any momentous organizational change. It is a time to honor those who have departed the unit and thank them for their service. At the same time it is a welcome to those who are joining and introduces them to the special history and traditions of their new organization. This celebration builds organizational camaraderie and esprit de corps. It supports a sense of continuity through change.

United States[edit]

For the United States Army, a Hail and Farewell is most often celebrated at a formal dining in when there is a change in command. This provides the unit with a formal setting in which to welcome the new commander and honor the old commander. Some units may elect a less formal Dining Out in which family member and other non-military guests are encouraged to take place in the unit change. There are no official requirements outlined by the United States Army to have a Hail and Farewell celebration. It is up to each unit to carry out this tradition as they see fit.[1]

The United States Navy, on the other hand, has specified that by custom the ship's officers must give a formal dinner when their new captain arrives. There may also be a formal dinner for the departing captain and these may be combined into one formal Hail and Farewell dinner.[2]


  1. ^ "Dining-In". Welfare, Recreation, and Morale. United States Army. March 1985. 
  2. ^ "MILITARY CUSTOMS AND CEREMONIES (AMERICAN AND BRITISH)". United States Army Military History Institute (USAMHI). November 1989.