I received such a great question that it spurred me into creating a new tag (DrillMaster Recommends) and writing this article. Thank you, Mr. Villanueva!
Question: I’m looking at updating our PD’s flags. Our new Honor Guard would like to purchase an American flag a Texas flag, poles for each and bases. What do you recommend?
For a non-military color team, you could use just about any combination of flagstaffs, ornaments and colors. However, non-military honor guard units are still military-type units and most often follow some sort of military guidance and usually that is the Army’s drill and ceremonies manual, Training Circular (TC) 3-21.5 which was Field Manual (FM) 3-21.5 which was FM 22-5. As far as colors go, nothing has changes from manual to manual. However, I encourage honor guard units to follow the honor guard methods of the military which have been designed and refined to provide the best look, best techniques with a minimum of wear and tear on the body. The Honor Guard Manual is the only complete guide for honor guards available today.
So, here is what I recommend:
Flagstaff and color (flag): (I suggest 6 staffs and flags: 2 American and 4 state) Proper standard ceremonial colors are 4′ 4″ x 5.5′ on 9′ 6″ light ash 2-piece guidon flagstaffs with the Army Spear/Spade ornament. When working in smaller areas (crowded ballroom, for instance), 3′ x 5′ colors on 7′ 9″ or 8′ 5″ flagstaffs is permissible. For complete information, please read All About the Flagstaff then Flagstaff Ornaments, All About Flag Sizes and whether or not your colors should have fringe. Finally, read How to Properly Mount a Flag on a Flagstaff. Flagstaffs other than described above (i.e. aluminum) are not authorized in the military and that goes for JROTC as well. The only exception to that is Army female cadets may use the aluminum flagstaffs.
Color Bearer Harness: (I suggest 4 parade and 4 practice) The most professional harness, what I’ve used for years and what the presidential service honor guard color teams use, is the black clarino (high gloss) or white leather harness with either chrome or gold-colored hardware just looks superior. Match the hardware color with the uniform accents and the hardware on the flagstaffs for a complete look.
Stands: (I suggest at least 2) My first choice is the Military Floor Stand. Thanks to my working with Wendy Lazar, the founder and previous owner of Glendale Industries (www.paradestore.com), this stand is offered without the extra hardware which holds 2 more flags. My second choice would be the cast iron Admiral Floor Stand which comes with a small plastic sleeve to support a guidon flagstaff’s ferrule or you could also use these Floor Stand Adapters and even use these carrying cases.
Covers: Flagstaff covers the military uses are these Canvas Covers. However, the canvas is relatively lightweight and can easily wear or get a hole in it from a misplaced Army Spear. The nylon cover* is more durable or you could use this airline carrying case for each of your flagstaffs. There are these carrying cases as well.
*Military color teams do not execute the case/uncase sequence during ceremonies except on very rare occasions. JROTC color teams do perform these tasks as part of a competition. The nylon cover is not authorized for competition. Colors are uncased before a ceremony 99.9% of the time.
Equipment links take you directly to my favorite online military equipment supply company, paradestore.com pages.