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Hawaiian 'salute' angers brass

Aug. 12, 2005 at 1:29 PM

BAGHDAD, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- The thumb-and-pinkie salute called the shaka, a symbol of pride, heritage and greeting in Hawaii, is a source of trouble for U.S. military in Iraq.

The shaka is the normal good-day sign for members of the Hawaii National Guard serving in Iraq. But, it has been banned at Camp Victory after a soldier mistakenly flashed the shaka at a superior officer instead of the traditional salute.

"Yeah, the story has gotten around. Kinda ridiculous," one Hawaii soldier told the Honolulu Advertiser. "The general is totally in the wrong by banning the shaka, when he should have smoked the soldier instead. A coupla hundred pushups would have been better than banning the shaka."

Lt. Col. Robert Whetstone, a public-affairs officer with Task Force Baghdad, said he was not sure who gave the order. But, added, "Whether it involves a lieutenant or a general, we all must render proper military courtesy."

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