The Presidential Salute Battery (PSB) was started in 1953. Their mission was to fire cannon salutes in and around the National Capital Region (NCR) in honor of dignitaries of the United States, the sovereign or chief of state of a foreign nation, a member of a reigning royal family, and the President, ex-President and President-elect of the United States.
Additionally, the battery fires for General Officer funerals in Arlington National Cemetery in support of The United States Army, The United States Navy, and The United States Marine Corps. The number of guns in a salute is based on the rank of the fallen. These salutes are always in odd numbers and governed by Army Regulation 600-25. The PSB also fires for ceremonies and special events throughout the NCR including during the crescendo of The United States Army Band’s rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” preformed every summer.
The PSB maintains constant readiness in support a State Funeral in the event and honor of a deceased President, ex-President, or President-elect of the United States. This however, does not detract the platoon from the importance of the other missions.
Outside of memorial affairs, ceremonies, and special events, PSB also has a tactical mission as the 1st Battalion’s Mortar Platoon. Members of the platoon train on the M252 81mm mortar system to maintain proficiency on their Military Occupational Skill as infantry mortar men in the Army and in preparation for a contingency operation in the NCR.
The motto of the battery, “The Highest Honor”, has a dual meaning. First, it refers to the 21 – Gun Salute commonly fired by the PSB. It is universally recognized as the highest military honor that can be rendered. Second, it expresses the pride and honor in every member of the battery in what they do and the opportunity to serve in such a distinct unit.