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I am amazed at how hard it is to find the answer to this. My son is High School Junior and the Command Sargent Major of his Battalion. None of ...
  1. #1
    jpbreese is offline Junior Member
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    Default How do you carry a folded flag?

    I am amazed at how hard it is to find the answer to this. My son is High School Junior and the Command Sargent Major of his Battalion. None of his instructors know the correct answer and I have spent hours on the internet with little to no results.

    When you carry the folded flag to and from the flag pole, how do you hold it? I have seen in formal ceremonies where they hold it to their chest with their hands straight up pressing it to the chest. I have also seen where it is held in the right arm with the right hand cupping the corner of the flag kind of like carrying a football.

    Is there actually an answer to this question?

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    NAVA1974 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: How do you carry a folded flag?

    The individual service organizations may have guidance on how a folded flag should be carried, especially during military funerals, but these are not binding on civilians. The only requirement is that the flag should not be allowed to touch the ground. In other words, carry it any way you want as long as you do not drop it.

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    unixgeek13 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: How do you carry a folded flag?

    I would like to add one comment to your reply and make a suggestion to the original poster. I would prefer that the recommendation was "carry the folded flag in a consistent and dignified manner".

    My suggestion... as no specific rule exists, adopt one for the organization. I am a Scoutmaster for a Boy Scout troop in NJ. Our rule is that if the flag has been folded in ceremony, it is to be folded and carried only by scouts in full uniform. The folded flag is carried by an individual whose hands are extended, palms up, with the flag supported on those hands, pointing away from the chest.

    That's my 2 cents worth. Thanks!
    Last edited by unixgeek13; 09-01-2010 at 10:04 AM. Reason: added a thanks....

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    watkeison is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: How do you carry a folded flag?

    When you carry the folded flag to and from the flag pole, how do you hold it?
    The proper way to carry a folded Flag is; hold the left hand horizontally with fingers together, close to the body at waist level, place the folded Flag on the hand with the straight side nearest the bearer's body, the right hand (weapon hand) is then placed on top of the Flag, gently holding it in place; the hands should be at approximate 90 one to the other. And the bearer should wear white cloth (cotton preferred) gloves.

    y'all take care
    Bill Atkeison
    former Color guard NCOIC
    Veteran; Legal US Citizen

  5. #5
    TattooedSailor79 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: How do you carry a folded flag?


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    Peter Ansoff is offline USA Flag Site Admin
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    Default Re: How do you carry a folded flag?

    Hi, Bill!

    The proper way to carry a folded Flag is; hold the left hand horizontally with fingers together, close to the body at waist level, place the folded Flag on the hand with the straight side nearest the bearer's body, the right hand (weapon hand) is then placed on top of the Flag, gently holding it in place; the hands should be at approximate 90 one to the other. And the bearer should wear white cloth (cotton preferred) gloves.

    This seems to be the way it's normally done, and TattooedSailor79's photo is a good illustration. However, I don't think I've ever seen it codified. Have you seen it in writing somewhere (regulation, handbook, etc?)

    Best regards,

    Peter Ansoff
    "We live by symbols, and what shall be symbolized by any image of the sight depends upon the mind of him who sees it."
    -- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

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    TattooedSailor79 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: How do you carry a folded flag?

    There's a ton of instructions on the matter but, nothing regarding carrying a folded flag. The "rifle hand" being on top in in case you pass someone that salutes the ensign you will be able to return the salute. If you are walking with someone, they will return the salute.

    Recently I was on restriction and one of our extra duties was to execute morning and evening colors. Being in front of the commander of Naval Station Norfolks building, I expected it to be the most proffessional execution of colors to be held. Not the case! on the way to morning colors everything went down very proffessionally, but at evening colors, after taking down the Ensign, they did not fold it at the flag pole, they balled it up and carried it across the street like that! Being a Quartermaster (flags, honors & ceremonies being one of my jobs) I flipped out! but I changed that ASAP. They said the base CDO (command duty officer) wanted it that way because it took too long to fold it at the pole. The other thing they did i couldnt let go was raising retirement flags after evening colors. I refused to to it because the Ensign does not fly after sunset if the flag pole is not illuminated. That was changed as well. Now they raise thee retirement flags when they should. Between sunrise and 0750.

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    NAVA1974 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: How do you carry a folded flag?

    Quote Originally Posted by TattooedSailor79 View Post
    The other thing they did i couldnt let go was raising retirement flags after evening colors.
    Hello TatooedSailor:
    I am not familiar with the term "retirement flags." Are these flag smaller US Ensigns used instead of the larger daytime flag?

    Nick

  9. #9
    TattooedSailor79 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: How do you carry a folded flag?

    They are the same size flags that would be presented to family members at a funeral. Considered personal flags. 4x6 in size, usually flown at the persons last command after they retire. Some carry a flag with them to each command they go to and have them flown at each command.

  10. #10
    Peter Ansoff is offline USA Flag Site Admin
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    Default Re: How do you carry a folded flag?

    TattooedSailor79 wrote:

    The "rifle hand" being on top in in case you pass someone that salutes the ensign you will be able to return the salute. If you are walking with someone, they will return the salute.

    This is an interesting point. The US Army protocol manual (FM 3-31.5) says:

    Once the flag has been folded (cocked hat), it is treated as a cased Color and not saluted by persons meeting the flag detail. The flag will be treated with the utmost dignity and respect but not be rendered any sort of honors.

    The Marine Corps Honors and Ceremonies manual (MCO P5060.20) says roughly the same thing:

    A folded flag being carried to morning colors, or from evening colors, by a color detail is considered cased and not saluted.

    I don't know if the Navy has any directive that addresses this, but it sounds like the consensus is that you don't salute a folded flag.

    Peter Ansoff
    "We live by symbols, and what shall be symbolized by any image of the sight depends upon the mind of him who sees it."
    -- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

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