Tag Archives: what’s wrong

American Flag in Center of 5-Man Color Team?

This is another picture where I just have my palm smack my forehead in disbelief. This formation is not allowed for a military color team! This formation is allowed however, if the color forms and remains in a “V” formation with the American flag centered and in front. Yep, go to my Downloads page and start reading the military manuals.

Thanks to Levi Frost for this photo of an Army color team (ROTC cadets or maybe National Guard?) at a college football game in Iowa, possibly Drake University.

You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me!

The opening ceremony or the first NFL game of the 2012 season. Do you see what is wrong?

The colors are reversed…

Thank you to firefighter Byan Downie for the picture.

What’s Wrong With This Honor Guard Picture?

This US Air Force photo shows Airmen carrying cremated remains of veterans for final honors. It is a touching and respectful ceremony and one in which all who participated can be proud. However, there is a slight problem. The Airmen bearing the colors should be on the right of the Airmen bearing the urns. Also, this is not how the cased American flag is carried over a distance.

It’s the small details that all honor guard members must pay attention to and if there isn’t any written guidance available, the team’s training should be able to dictate proper procedures.

What’s Wrong With These Pictures?

What could be wrong with the following pictures?

The flags (hung back-to-back) above are each facing the right way (canton in the upper left) as you view it from either direction. Is this necessary? No, not at all, but someone took the time and cared enough to make sure that everyone, whether flying in or flying out of Melbourne, FL Airport, would see the flag properly. How nice!

Another from Melbourne, FL Airport. This flag isn’t wrong, it just being viewed from a window, on the other side it is correct.

Nothing wrong here either. These flags are posted inside my church. The Christian flag (I wrote part of a chapter on this in The Honor Guard Manual) is on the right, the position of honor, as it should be. Note that this is inside the church, it could also be outside on church grounds or somewhere else for a church function. The point is the key word there which is “church.”

Notice both flags have the gold cord and tassels. If one flag has the cord, all flags must have the cord.

To Fringe or Not to Fringe, That is the Question

Fringe on my flag? Why?

It is an honorable enrichment only, not an integral part of the flag. As it is attached on the edge, it does not “deface” the flag which therefore remains the Stars and Stripes of the US (as per the opinion of the US Attorney General in 1925). The fringe is used only inside or on a staff when carried outside by a bearer, it is never flown from a staff or pole outside (the fringe would fray). As there is no wind to move a flag when inside, the gold fringe adds an element of “prettiness”, nothing more. Most national flags have a fringe in some circumstances and no other country attributes any meaning to the fringe except that it looks better.

There are many posts that posit the theory that the fringe represents martial or admiralty law. However there is no law, decree, order or other legally enforceable proclamation that mentions the fringe, either to prescribe or proscribe its use. Many quote Executive Order 10834 (under President Eisenhower) however this is a public document available in full on the Internet (try the US Archives) and a review will show no mention of a fringe at all. US Army Orders (840-10) do make the use of the fringe obligatory inside, but these apply to the US Army only. The law that defines the flag and its use is USC Title 4 Chapter 1 – again a public document whose provisions are enforceable in a federal court. There is nothing that says that a civilian or civilian organization may not fly a flag with a gold fringe. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_the_gold_fringe_on_the_American_flag_mean#ixzz1yuAlpmOC

Click here for the text of Executive Order 10834 (1959) on the make up of the American flag.

“Fringe is for indoor flags only.”

Is that so? Then you’d better tell the Joint Service Color Team at the top of this post. That statement is partially correct, but it is not a complete statement. Did you know that statement only applies to mounted stationary flags? If a flag is mounted on a flagstaff that is to be carried and you are in a military color team, the flags better have fringe on them. That is the standard.

Gold fringe can be found on ceremonial flags used indoors and for outdoor ceremonies. The fringe is considered completely within the guidelines of proper flag etiquette. There is nothing in the Flag Code about the fringe being for federal government flags only. The Internet contains many sites that claim that the fringe indicates martial law or that the Constitution does not apply in that area. These are entirely unfounded (usually citing Executive Order 10834 and inventing text that is not part of the order) and should be dismissed as urban legends. Others ascribe meanings of spiritual authority. Gold fringes on flags goes back long before the United States. Flags in ancient India had gold fringe, as did those in France, England, and throughout Europe. (Emphasis mine) http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/faq.htm

Why does the Marine Corps not have fringe on the American flag in their color teams?

All of the other services use fringe for their colors in a color team, but the Marine Corps does not carry an American flag with fringe. MCO P10520.3B, Flag Manual, states, “The use of fringe on national colors or standards within the Marine Corps is prohibited.” This is because the Flag Code states that nothing will be attached to the American flag.

Note: you may read that the Navy follows the Marine Corps by carrying an un-fringed American flag. Since the Navy relies on the Marine Corps for its drill and ceremonies, Marine Corps traditions apply to the Navy and Coast Guard.

The Army and Air Force carry fringed colors, when fringed, the flags become “ceremonial colors”, but are not usually marched. The Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard never carry a fringed American flag, any other color carried by these two services is always fringed, and sometimes marched.

What about the cord and tassels?

The gold tassel represents that the Flag has been honored with victory in battle or the flag has seen heroics in battle.http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_the_gold_tassel_cord_on_the_American_Flag_mean#ixzz1yuQ1ALyk

For those associated with the Army

A cord 8-foot 6-inch in length with a tassel at each end is attached at the center of the cord below the finial on the staff of the U.S. flag only when it is displayed with a flag also equipped with a cord and tassel. Only 4-foot, 4-inch by 5-foot, 6-inch positional colors and the color of the U.S. Corps of Cadets are authorized a cord and tassel. The colors of the cord and tassel for the US flag are red, white, and blue when displayed by the Army. http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/UniformedServices/Flags/US_Flags.aspx


For those associated with the Marine Corps

Battle Streamers OR a scarlet and gold cord for the USMC fringed color. The colors of the cord and tassel for the unfringed US flag are red, white, and blue.

And here we have another What’s Wrong With This Picture entry:

Both colors do not have fringe and this is incorrect. Period.

Photos are from the DOD.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

This installment comes from some veteran and active duty honor guard or color team units, unfortunately.

What’s wrong with each? Let’s look:

The American Flag is on the wrong side. The position of honor is on the marching right. Always.

All flags should be at the same height and the American flag at the far right, next to the right/lead rifle bearer.

Again, the flags are on the reverse order.

Wrong side.

This is a base honor guard presenting the colors for the Preakness horse race in 2011.

What’s wrong with this? The USAF flag should be last; all service flags are last after the American and state flags.

Air force base honor guard members with Army Soldiers.

Two things are wrong here:

1. the colors are out of order, and 2. NEVER assume Parade Rest and thrust any flag forward.
That position is for the guidon only. Colors are always kept vertical.

Two things are wrong here as well: 1. Colors are out of order, and 2. look at the left/trail rifle bearer- his hands are backwards on his rifle.
I understand the team wanting to create a mirror image, but the Reverse Present is not a move that is in any manual, ever taught or ever performed outside of the exhibition drill arena.

The American flag is never carried in the center of a military-type (this includes LEOs, firefighters, ems, etc.) color team.
The American flag is ALWAYS on the marching right/viewer’s left.

For those very few who may not understand why I am posting these pictures, it is because, sooner or later, everyone makes mistakes and if others can learn from those mistakes, great! It’s about educating as many as possible.

Do you have a picture that you would like critiqued? Send it to The DrillMaster.

What’s Wrong with this Picture

Another installment of everyone’s favorite post!

This makes me cringe since I spent 17 years with the AF’s Base Honor Guard program. Let’s go from the viewer’s left-to-right.

  • Lead/Right Rifle Guard: Fine, good job.
  • NCT*: Close your mouth, stop fish-poling, tuck your gloves.
  • Color Bearer: Turn your right wrist to match he NCT’s, your left arm should be a fist’s distance (4″) from your torso- straight across no bend at the wrist like you are doing, upper left arm should come straight down and close your fingers.
  • Color Bearer: Filthy gloves! Stop holding the flagstaff with your left (see above) and turn your left hand more.
  • Trail/Left Rifle Guard: close your fingers on right hand, bad spacing.

*A USAF acronym for Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the Color Team.