American flag shuolder patch

Discussion in 'US Flags on Uniforms and Clothing' started by John Pierre, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. John Pierre

    John Pierre Guest

    On which shoulder does the patch rest? Military left and civilian right? The flag on either shoulder must fly forward, the union (stars) flying forward as in going into battle?
    I just was apprised of differences. Most civilian flag patches rest on the right shoulder, military on the left. Something to do with the shield arm being the left and unlikely to be cut off as the right sword arm being more likely to be severed. TIA. And I am glad to be a new member of this site.
    JP
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2007
  2. wmjnb

    wmjnb Guest

    I too would appreciate a reply to this question. My son's soccer team is playing in a French tournament this summer. We will be the only team representing the United States and would like to show our American pride. An advanced thank you to all who comment.
     
  3. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    The FAQ on the Army Institute of Heraldry website says the following about this issue:

    "The US [Flag] Code does not address the positioning of the flag patch. It is appropriate to wear an American flag patch on the left or right sleeve. When worn on the left sleeve, the union would appear towards the front and the stripes would run horizontally toward the back. When worn on the right sleeve, it is considered proper to reverse the design so that the union is at the observer’s right to suggest that the flag is flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward."

    "Since the law does not specifically address the positioning of the patch, a decision is left to the discretion of the organization prescribing the wear. As many states and cities have ordinances pertaining to the use of the flag, you may wish to contact the Attorney General of your state or the City Attorney’s office regarding this matter."

    For practical purposes, then, the decision is up to you. The Army wears the patches on their right sleeves, but either side is OK.


    Regards,

    Peter Ansoff
     
  4. american_flag_uk

    american_flag_uk Moderator

    yeah thats why they have a 'backwards' flag on aeroplanes too... ie american airlines have a flag picture on either side of the tail of the airplane... the right side of it is union to the left-- the left side of it the union is to the right so it simultes an actual flag as it would look if it was a real flag there (obviously cnat be a real flag or itd get torn to bits in the wind!)
     
  5. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    "(obviously cnat be a real flag or itd get torn to bits in the wind!)"

    There have been cases of real flags flown on airplanes. As I recall, the old Imperial Airways "Hercules" airliners of the 1920s used to hoist British flags on flagstaffs above the cockpit when arriving and departing from Croydon airport. Also, I've seen pictures of flags flying on the FW200 "Condors" (on the ground, of course) that the Nazi bigwigs used as VIP transports during World War II.

    Dirigibles often fly flags from their sterns, just like ships. The big rigid airships that the US Navy operated in the 1930s flew Admirals' flags from the command gondola when they had an Admiral on board.

    Best,

    Peter Ansoff
     
  6. vva1936

    vva1936 Guest

    What is the way to wear the amnerican flag on a shirt which can be on honor guard. It is on the right shoulder.
     
  7. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    vva1936: What is the way to wear the amnerican flag on a shirt which can be on honor guard. It is on the right shoulder.

    See my 4 March post, above. The flag patch can be worn on either the right or the left shoulder, and the union should face forward in either case.

    Peter Ansoff
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2008
  8. M_kulsziski

    M_kulsziski Guest

    Re: American flag shoulder patch

    You say the union should face forward in all cases but on the Uniform of the boy Scouts of america the flag is on the right shoulder and the union in towards the back.

    Based on what I have found it does not make a difference when worn on the right shoulder.

    If there is something written that shows this to be wrong I would appreciate seeing it so I can send this into BSA and see how they replry to this.

    thanks
    Mike:rolleyes:
     
  9. american_flag_uk

    american_flag_uk Moderator

    if theres just one flag patch (on right shoulder only) i think it is perfectly fine to show the flag the correct way round that is the canton to the left.... your not trying to emulate a flying flag by having it on one side only....

    if the patches are one on either arm then both cantons should face toward the front to emulate a flying flag... the left side a 'normal' way round the right side with the canton to the right side of the patch... hope this helps :)
     
  10. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    M_kulsziski: You say the union should face forward in all cases but on the Uniform of the boy Scouts of america the flag is on the right shoulder and the union in towards the back.

    No, I'm not the one that said that -- it was a quote from the US Army Institute of Heraldry. Please see my 4 March 07 post in this thread. The applicable US Army regulation (670-1) says the same thing:

    "The full-color U.S. flag cloth replica is worn so that the star field faces forward, or to the flag's own right. When worn in this manner, the flag is facing to the observer's right, and gives the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward. The appropriate replica for the right shoulder sleeve is identified as the reverse side flag." [The regulation also has an illustration showing a right sleeve with the union forward, to the observer's right.]

    Of course, these are just the Army's regulations, and don't necessarily apply to other organizations. The Boy Scouts are free to establish their own rules if they wish to.

    Peter Ansoff
     
  11. The Army uniform has the Flag on the right shoulder (union fwd).
     
  12. Okiedokiejesus

    Okiedokiejesus New Member

    I was always taught in Boy Scouts that the blue field was always in the upper left hand side when facing the flag. I don't understand the flag being worn on our military uniforms with the blue field in the upper right hand side of the flag?
     
  13. ddlprov

    ddlprov New Member

    I am too learned;learnted in BOY SCOUT, and burden Green form
     
  14. RickAndCody

    RickAndCody New Member

    Hi all. This is my first post here. I was told by an American Legion post in the Denver area that when embroidering an American flag on both sleeves of a shirt or jacket the star field should always be toward the back. Now, that seemed backwards to me but he was adamant about the star field being toward the back on both sleeves. Any thing to confirm what is appropriate would be most appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Rick
     
  15. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Greetings, Rick -- Welcome!

    I was told by an American Legion post in the Denver area that when embroidering an American flag on both sleeves of a shirt or jacket the star field should always be toward the back.

    Your friend at the Legion post is 100% wrong. Army and Air Force regulations are clear that the star field is always to the front, regardless of which sleeve the patch is on. This issue has been discussed quite a bit here in the form -- check out some of the earlier posts that include citations from the regulations.

    Incidentally, the same thing applies to flags that are painted on the sides of vehicles and aircraft -- the star field is generally forward, so that the flag looks like it's flying in the wind as the vehicle moves.

    Peter A.
     
  16. medtech87108

    medtech87108 New Member

    That's an interesting explanation and makes as much sense as other traditions, but it still looks awkward. I wrote to the Army to ask about this and have not gotten a reply.
     
  17. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Hi, Medtech!

    That's an interesting explanation and makes as much sense as other traditions,

    Again, it's more than just a tradition -- it's what is specified in US military regulations. Of course, those only apply to their respective military services. Civilians and civilian organizations can do it whichever way they wish.

    but it still looks awkward

    Why so? I think that it looks more awkward for the flag to be "flying" backwards, particularly when it's painted on vehicles and aircraft.

    Peter Ansoff
     
  18. Captjay

    Captjay New Member

    Re: American flag shoulder patch

    I am a member of an American Legion Post in Minnesota and am responsible for all Honor Guard duties of our post. I have had many discussions concerning this issue and have come to understand it as this; Veterans and active duty persons wear the right side patch in the reverse or "advance" position to signify that they are or have been in the military. The Boy Scouts and all other groups not associated with a military organization or group wear their right side patch in the "retreat" position. I don't know how true this is, but it sounds reasonable as I see most police, firefighter and other services tend to wear the patch with the union to the back which would follow along with this explanation. As many have stated before, the uniform code does not address this but I think it makes perfect sense.
     
  19. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Greetings, Captjay -- welcome aboard!

    Veterans and active duty persons wear the right side patch in the reverse or "advance" position to signify that they are or have been in the military.

    Actually, this is not true. The Army wears its flag patches this way, but the other services do not. For example, the Air Force instruction on protocol (AFI 34-1201) says "Patches worn on uniforms depicting the United States Flag should be worn on the left shoulder, with the union to the viewers left." Each of the services has its own regulations, and there's no overall policy as far as I know.

    I believe that most non-military government organizations put their patches on the left sleeve. This is true of the flags on NASA space suits, for example.

    The Boy Scouts and all other groups not associated with a military organization or group wear their right side patch in the "retreat" position. I don't know how true this is, but it sounds reasonable as I see most police, firefighter and other services tend to wear the patch with the union to the back which would follow along with this explanation.

    It's true that many non-military organizations wear their patches on the right sleeve with the flag facing backwards. Others, however, wear it on the left sleeve with the union forward. I think that this is simply because most flag patches are manufactured with the union on the left, which means that it faces backward when it's on the right sleeve. As you point out, the civilian "flag code" does not specify which side the patch should be on, or its orientation.

    Regards,

    Peter Ansoff
     
  20. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

    .
    Hello, Capt. Jay ! :D

    Welcome to the USA-Flag-Site Forums !!! :D


    At this time, there are a total of 29 "threads" in this forum, "US Flags on Uniforms and Clothing". It seems to me that about half of them (give or take a few...) touch upon this very subject.

    What I've been able to "get" from the majority of the posts I've read in this forum is that the "U.S. Flag Code" (as such) does NOT say anything about this particular subject. Furthermore, the various "Armed Services" seem to all have different policies regarding this matter (Which means,I guess, that there is NO "uniform" policy about uniform Flag patches!). And, as near as I can tell, this NON-uniformity of Flag Patch policy seems to be deeply entrenched in the various veterans groups as well.

    NO wonder there is so much confusion and discussion about all this! :eek:

    The "good" thing is that people want to do "the right thing" and they come here wanting to find out HOW to do it. The "tough" part about this subject in these threads, is that very few people seem to go to have gone to the "trouble" of looking through the other threads FIRST to see if their questions or concerns were already addressed in some way.

    The result is that the same, or similar, questions get asked over and over, and they end up being answered over and over.

    Wouldn't it be nice if we had a nice, clear-cut, and succinct FAQ all about Flag Patches that covered the civilians, the veterans, the scouts, the different branches of the military, and (maybe) everybody else ???

    I think I'll go back and make sure I've read all of these threads here, even if I have to re-read them.

    SIGH . . . . . :(

    Robin Hickman
    .
     

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