How many times has your color team come across a situation where if you entered in reverse order, the team would be correct when finally posted? These pictures may help to illustrate the issue:
In this picture, the Sailors probably entered correctly: single file with the American flag in front, but they had to turn to the right which then places the American flag to the left of the formation when it should be to the right. The team would also be in reverse order on exiting.
Here, (notice the carpet says “BRUINS” in both pictures?) the Soldiers enter in reverse order so when they face to the right and then exit, they will be in proper order. Thank you to Nate for this picture.
“A” for effort. I’m sure that both of these teams tried their best to do what they felt was correct, but they missed the mark. When civilians look at men and women in uniform, they see someone who they think knows how to handle our National Emblem in all kinds of situations. All NCOs and POs cannot be subject matter experts in everything, but they should be able to go to a central location and seek advice. [In walks The DrillMaster]
The answer to this situation is a movement called, “Every Left On.” The following is an excerpt fro the book, The Honor Guard Manual.
Every Left On is an alternative entrance for any occasion that does not allow a Colors Turn –on. Do not stop on the right foot, left steps are easier to execute (so as not to have each team member swing the left foot around the right). Team members would face to the right on every left step beginning with the right/lead rifle guard (do not execute a facing movement!). Each team member follows in sequence coming to a halt (or picking up Mark Time) ensuring a 4-inch distance between shoulders when halted as shown in the diagram below. (If the team Marks Time, the commander would wait until the whole team is Marking Time and then call halt.)
For The Honor Guard Manual, I also created and foot placement diagram that further explains how to accomplish this movement.
Here is how to implement Every Left On in the above pictured situations: the team should split the carpet into thirds or half lengthwise. The third on the left is used as the team is marching in. The team posts in the center third and then exits using a Colors Turn-Off.
What about facing movements? Military color teams do not execute facing movements except when posting (Three-Count About Face) and for falling out (Colors Fall Out, MARCH).
Commands: The American flag bearer is in charge and calls commands, see the second picture, above, how the lead rifle guard is yelling commands over his shoulder? Not good. Call commands nice and loud to bring attention to the colors.
Cadence: Please oh please oh please stop calling cadence. Cadence calling is only done when absolutely necessary when carrying the colors. Cadence doesn’t sound “cool,” it sounds like you needed more practice. Be as professional as possible and leave cadence calling for training scenarios.
Military honor guards and color teams: keep the American flag to the far right and in front at all times and enjoy what you do.