Proper flag head for military colors

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Flag Discussion' started by Gaz, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. Gaz

    Gaz New Member

    Hello. I have searched everywere for this info and can find nothing conclusive. My Sea Cadet unit has recently started a color guard and we are in the process of acquiring flags. We currently have a US Flag, which has gold fringe (most Military flags have this fringe). On top of the staff, we have a US eagle. However we do not know what type of device should go on top the other flags. I have seen everything from spear point to a ball, to a flat truck. Would any of you happen to know what the rules are about this?
  2. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Hello, Gaz -- welcome aboard!

    There is no universal standard for flagstaff ornaments (also known as "finials"). Each of the military services has its own set of regulations, and a few of the states have regulations specifying particular finials for their state flags. For example, Maryland specifies a "buttony cross," and Kentucky specifies a cardinal (bird).

    Since you are a Sea Cadet unit, the US Navy regulations might be most appropriate. According to NTP 13-B, Ch. 11, the correct ornament for the US flag, the Navy flag and battalion colors is not an eagle, but a "battle ax." The battle ax has a vertical spear point, and a wide horizontal blade on one side with a curved extension on the opposite side. You can see a picture of it here:

    Flagstaff Ornaments

    Eagles are used for the personal flags of civilian officials and senior officers. Note that the eagle finial used by the Navy is different from the one that you're used to seeing ashore; the eagle is facing forward and the wings are folded back.

    On a boat, the correct finial for the US flag is a flat truck, unless a senior officer or civilian official is embarked.

    I hope this information is useful. Again, welcome aboard!

    Peter Ansoff
  3. Gaz

    Gaz New Member

    Thank you so much Peter. You've cleared up so many questions. However, do you happen to know what sized staff should be used for the color guard? From what I've read, it should be a 9 foot staff, witha 4'x6' flag.

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