The Color Guard and Multiple National & State Colors

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Multiple National Colors

So, what is a team to do when you have more than one national color? Here is some information to consider:

  1. When overseas Air Force Base Honor Guard teams carry both colors when called to present them on base and in the local community. The photo here is of the Spangdahlem Air Base team when we (I’m on the American flag**) were in France. We were on an American Military Cemetery so the American is to the marching right and we carried the French flag as requested. However, we could have separated the national colors, and followed the guidance for what is next.
  2. None of the service honor guards in DC march two national colors together, they are always separate, but the only reference for this in a service manual that is not specifically for an honor guard, is the Marine Corps Order. In this picture, you see the Marine Barracks Washington team assembled to practice for an arrival ceremony from a foreign national Marine commander. The C4* is on the left of the picture carrying the Ensign (American flag) and the Marine Corps battle colors. On the right of the picture you see another color guard with the foreign national colors and two guards.

**If that image looks familiar to you, it should. Take a look at my logo. It’s the color guard image I used as the silhouette.

Must foreign national colors always be separated? My guidance is that you should at least try, but if you do not have the personnel to handle this situation, then there is really nothing you can do but march the American flag on the marching right, other national color, and the State or service color. Or just the two national colors.

Foreign flags are flown in (English) Alphabetical order. If you carry more than two national colors, the American is always first on American soil and then the next two flags would begin in alphabetical order (e.g. Belgium, Netherlands, UK, etc.).

From the information above, you would require a minimum of a team of four for the American flag color guard and then color guards of three members each for the additional foreign national colors.

Multiple State Colors

State colors are flown in order of entrance into the Union. One state color marches in the the American flag color guard. If necessary, two could march with the American flag, but no more.

If you need to march any more than two state colors, follow the order mentioned above and march all of the state colors as a single unit; a platoon or even straight line in column formation, no guards.

The order of precedence for the state flags United States.

  1. Delaware
  2. Pennsylvania
  3. New Jersey
  4. Georgia
  5. Connecticut
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Maryland
  8. South Carolina
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Virginia
  11. New York
  12. North Carolina
  13. Rhode Island
  14. Vermont
  15. Kentucky
  16. Tennessee
  17. Ohio
  18. Louisiana
  19. Indiana
  20. Mississippi
  21. Illinois
  22. Alabama
  23. Maine
  24. Missouri
  25. Arkansas
  26. Michigan
  27. Florida
  28. Texas
  29. Iowa
  30. Wisconsin
  31. California
  32. Minnesota
  33. Oregon
  34. Kansas
  35. West Virginia
  36. Nevada
  37. Nebraska
  38. Colorado
  39. North Dakota
  40. South Dakota
  41. Montana
  42. Washington
  43. Idaho
  44. Wyoming
  45. Utah
  46. Oklahoma
  47. New Mexico
  48. Arizona
  49. Alaska
  50. Hawaii

Territory Flags come after State Flags

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Virgin Islands
  3. Puerto Rico
  4. Guam
  5. American Samoa
  6. Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands

County flags come next.

Then city flags.

Then Organizational flags.

Click here to read about marching the POW/MIA flag.

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