Tag Archives: color guard procedures

When NOT to dip a Color

Cased Colors
WhIMAG0271ile at practice I had the cadets I work with assume this pose only for the picture. I want to make a point. The point is, your color team should never do this: salute with a cased color. When a color is cased it is considered no longer there, or “put away.” Of course, your team will also have two rifle guards, but this picture is meant to emphasize that it is never appropriate to salute when the colors are cased. By the way, both of the cadets are freshman this year!

Retiring the Colors
It’s not all that often the the colors are retired. Retiring the colors is done on rare and important ceremonial occasions. When the colors are presented at the beginning of a ceremony, the non-national color dips in salute to the American flag, but on retiring the colors, both colors receive honor and the non-national color is not dipped just like the American flag.

The Marines Got it Right!

This question has been on the minds of many people- I’ve been asked quite a few times and after some research I found the reason.

Please read this first: To Fringe or Not to Fringe, That is the Question.

A Flag
A flag is flown from a stationary or mounted pole. Flags are never fringed.

A Color
Used in military and military-type organizations. A color is a flag carried by a color team (color guard). Colors are the flags that are fringed. Flags in a flag stand are not mounted and are therefore, called colors.

Service Standards

  • Army, USN, USAF, USCG, USMM: Fringe on all colors carried by a color team.
  • USMC: Fringe on all flags carried by a color team except the American flag/color.
  • Joint Service: When the USMC is the senior service, no fringe on the American color. All other times, fringe on all colors.

Why No Fringe on the American Flag/Color
Title 4, paragraph 1 of the United States Code states:

The flag of the United States shall be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white; and the union of the flag shall be forty-eight stars, white in a blue field.

It does not mention fringe. Paragraph 3 talks about attaching anything to the flag and how that could be considered mutilation.

So, the Marine Corps is following public law as spelled out in the US Code.

So then, Why Do the Other Services Use Fringe?
Ceremonial use.

While there are many conspiracies throughout the US Government that are not theories at all, the fringe and tassel do not have any merit.

The Executive Order, No.10834, signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on August 21, 1959 and printed in the Federal Register at 24 F.R. 6865, DOES NOT STATE: “A military flag is a flag that resembles the regular flag of the United States, except that it has a yellow fringe border on three sides.” THIS STATEMENT IS FALSE, it does not exist in the EO or anywhere else.


Eyes Right for a Color Guard


Click here for info on “Color Guard” vs. “Color Team.”

The Question:
Hello, I’m in an Army JROTC and I have a Federal Inspection coming up. I’m doing the color guard for the AFI and I wondering on what to do during eyes, right. Do I salute the rifle like this picture? Or do I just look to the right and keep marching and it’s just only the flag saluting? If you could reply back to me, I’d appreciate it.
Thank you very much

The Answer:
What a great picture you’ve found! Judging by the uniform, you’ve found a WWI-era Manual of Arms picture, possibly a Boy Scout maybe a Soldier. I really enjoy the history of how certain movements came about that we use today.

The position in the picture is an individual salute while at Right Shoulder. The Army, Marine Corps, and Navy all used to use this type of salute while at either shoulder or Order. Now, only the Marines, Navy and Coast Guard use these individual salutes. The Army ceased using them decades ago. The salutes are not used in formation or while marching, only as an individual while standing still (think of reporting to the formation commander while armed). As we all know, the right forearm should be horizontal and not at an angle like in the picture.

Eyes Right
The Command, Eyes, RIGHT is called at Right Shoulder as two consecutive right steps hit the marching surface. When the next left foot strikes the ground, the following happens all at the same time:

  1. (Army and AF) The Left Rifle Guard, all non-national Color Bearers and National Color Bearer all turn their heads 45-degrees to the right; the Right Rifle Guard looks straight ahead.

(MC, N, & CG) The Left Rifle Guard, all non-national Color Bearers turn their heads 45-degrees to the right; the National Color Bearer and Right Rifle Guard look straight ahead.

  1. (Regulation Drill- all services) The non-national Color Bearer brings his/her color to a 45-degree angle be fully extending the right arm in one count/step after the command.

(Ceremonial Drill- Honor Guard Units only) The non-national Color Bearer brings his/her color to a 45-degree angle be fully extending the right arm in the three counts/steps after the command. Whipping the color forward in one count does present a ceremonial image.

Ready Front
On the command, Ready, FRONT, the team snaps its heads back to looking straight forward and the non-national color bearer bring their color back to vertical in one (regulation drill) or three (ceremonial drill) counts/steps.