Tag Archives: attach a color to a pole

Ask the DrillMaster: What are we doing wrong with our color guard?

Notre Dame Trimilitary Cadet Color Team, color guard
Notre Dame Trimilitary Cadet Color Team

Question: Since you work with drill teams & know proper flag etiquette, you’re my go-to person on this one. We were told at a national veteran convention by someone from another state that we shouldn’t have an eagle on our state flag staff, only on the US Flag staff. I haven’t found anything about it. Is this accurate? Thanks! B

Answer: Hi B, Thanks so much for the question. Actually, the eagle is only for the president. Army spades are the only authorized finials for all services except the Navy and Coast Guard which both use the battleaxe- except when they are in joint-service situations.

Since veteran organizations are an extension of the military services, they should be following the guidance provided. However, the guidance is kinda difficult to find and can be confusing so I did some research and put everything on my website. The following links are my articles on flags (colors), flagstaffs and ornaments (finials), I hope they are helpful. If they are, please send this information to those you know might benefit from it.

All about ornaments (finials): http://www.thedrillmaster.org/2013/01/31/ask-the-drillmaster-flagstaff-ornaments/

All about the flagstaff: http://www.thedrillmaster.org/2012/10/03/all-about-the-flagstaff/

All about flagstaff sizes: http://www.thedrillmaster.org/2013/03/07/all-about-flag-sizes/

How to mount a flag: http://www.thedrillmaster.org/2012/09/26/how-to-properly-mount-a-flag-on-a-flagstaff/

Fringe on a flag: http://www.thedrillmaster.org/2012/06/26/to-fringe-or-not-to-fringe-that-is-the-question/

How to Properly Mount a Flag on a Flagstaff

This issue has been on my mind for a little while. I have this outlined in my book, Exhibition Drill For The Military Drill Team, Vol II, and I really need to go over it here.

There is only one way to properly mount a flag on a color team flagstaff. Because I say so? No, because I’ve learned through many years how a flag acts and how it is supposed to look whether carried or posted.

Glendale has been offering flags with the hook-and-pile fasteners now for a few years and thank goodness! The leather tabs wore out easily. Here is an excerpt from paradestore.com regarding one of their American flags (emphasis mine):

“They are finished with flannel-lined pole hems* and Velcro tabs and, if requested, golden yellow rayon fringe. These are very durable flags for parade use.”

*By the way, this flannel lining is going to give way eventually, you will have to sew the hook-and-pile fastener (Velcro) through the flag material to make it stay.

There are two parts to the hook-and-pile fastener, one is already partly sewn to the flag at the top and bottom of the flagstaff (pole) hem and one is sticking to it and had a glue-like backing to make it adhere to the staff. Here is how to attach that sticky-backed piece:

The arrow in the picture above points to the small hole in the hook-and-pile fastener tab where you can drill a hole and then insert a small, thin ***. The *** should stick out no more than a quarter inch. When you attach the flag, ensure the hook-and-pile fastener(s) that is sewn into the flag goes over the ***. If you are going to mount that flag at the top and bottom, which is good thinking, you need to perfectly align the tabs and ensure that the tabs and screws do not pull/stress the flag material. The flagstaff ornament in this picture is the spade or Army Spear. It is the standard authorized ornament for all military services with the Navy authorized to use the battle axe (Parede Store photo):

What about flags that still have a leather tab?
Thin strapping tape is a must for you! Eventually, you may want to purchase hook-and-pile fasteners and sew them into your flag(s) at the top and bottom of the flagstaff hem.

So, what does mounting a flag like described above do?
It allows you to carry and post the flag the way it was intended. You see, the leather or hook-and-pile fastener tabs are sewn into the flagstaff hem directly across from the sew line which means that when the ***(s) and tabs are mounted squarely so that the flag will hang as it is supposed to do with the point where the fringe meets centered on the flat spade. Like the American flag in this picture below (USAF photo):

Notice that all three flags in this picture above are not the same. That’s a no-no. The other two flags are the German and USAF.

When carried, the point where the fringe meets faces behind the color bearer this facilitates properly posting the flag and “diamonding” it so the fringe is off to the right.

Any questions?

how to attach a flag to a pole to carry in a color guard, attach a color to a pole, color guard, color team