Nomenclature of the American Flag

DrillMasterHonor Guard, Instructional 1 Comment

Flag Nomenclature

  • Canton or Union (blue field)
  • Fly (length)
  • Fly End (the end that flaps in the wind and gets the most damage)
  • Grommets (commonly brass-reinforced holes within the header for mounting the flag on an outdoor flag pole, usually there are 2, but some very large flags have a third grommet in the center)
  • Header (a strong fabric for reinforcement of the flag)
  • Hoist (mounted to the flag pole)
  • Seven red and 6 white stripes

Flag Sizes
Each military service has the same size flags that are flown in different locations and at different times.

“Two flag handlers are needed when raising or lowering the storm (small) flag, six handlers for the post (medium) flag, and eight handlers for the garrison (large) flag.”
TC 3-21.5 (Jan 2012)

The following information is from AR 840-10 (Nov 98)

Garrison flag—20-foot hoist by 38-foot fly, of approved material. (The post flag may be flown in lieu of the garrison flag.) The garrison flag may be flown on the following holidays and special occasions:
(a) New Year’s Day, 1 January.
(b) Inauguration Day, 20 January every fourth year.
(c) Martin Luther King, Jr’s Birthday, third Monday in January.
(d) President’s Day, third Monday in February.
(e) Easter Sunday (variable).
(f) Loyalty Day and Law Day, USA, 1 May.
(g) Mother’s Day, second Sunday in May.
(h) Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May.
(i) National Maritime Day, 22 May.
(j) Memorial Day, last Monday in May.
(k) Flag Day, 14 June.
(l) Father’s Day, third Sunday in June.
(m) Independence Day, 4 July.
(n) National Aviation Day, 19 August.
(o) Labor Day, first Monday in September.
(p) Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, 17 September.
(q) Gold Star Mother’s Day, last Sunday in September.
(r) Columbus Day, second Monday in October.
(s) Veterans Day, 11 November.
(t) Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November.
(u) Christmas Day, 25 December.
(v) Important occasions as designated by Presidential Proclamation or Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA).
(w) Celebration of a regional nature when directed by the installation commander.

(2) Post flag—8-foot 11 3/8-inch hoist by 17-foot fly, of approved material. The post flag is flown daily except when the garrison and storm flags are flown. When a garrison flag is not available, the post flag will be flown on holidays and important occasions.

(3) Field flag—6-foot 8-inch hoist by 12-foot fly, of approved material. The field flag may be displayed from a flag pole only when distinguished visitors are present and only with the positional field flag.

(4) Storm flag—5-foot hoist by 9-foot 6-inch fly, of approved material. The storm flag is flown in inclement weather.

(5) Interment flag—5-foot hoist by 9-foot 6-inch fly, of approved material. The interment flag is authorized for deceased military personnel and for deceased veterans. Upon application to the nearest postmaster, the Veterans Administration will provide flags for deceased veterans. [“Internment”, with an ‘n’, means confinement during wartime- DrillMaster]

(6) Boat flag—3-foot hoist by 4-foot fly, of approved material. The U.S. boat flag is displayed only with positional boat flag colors and general officers flags.

(7) Ensign—2-foot 4 7/16-inch hoist by 4-foot 6-inch fly, of approved material. The ensign will be displayed on vessels when required to indicate nationality.

(8) Union jack—The union jack consists of a blue base with white stars similar in all respects to the union of the flag of the United States. The union jack is flown on ships at anchor or tied up at pier. When flown with the flag of the United States, the union jack will be the same size as the union of the national color being flown.

(9) Grave decoration flag—7-inch hoist by 11-inch fly, of cotton muslin (TM 10-287).

(10) Automobile flags
(a) Twelve-inch hoist by 18-inch fly, of approved material, trimmed on three sides with fringe 1 1/2 inches wide. This flag is to
be displayed with the individual automobile flag of the President and Vice President of the United States.
(b) Eighteen-inch hoist by 26-inch fly, of approved material trimmed on three sides with fringes 1 1/2 inches wide. This flag is to be displayed on automobiles of individuals listed in table 1-1.

b. National flags listed below are for indoor display and for use in ceremonies and parades. For these purposes, the flag of the United States will be of rayon banner cloth or heavyweight nylon, trimmed on three sides with golden yellow fringe, 2 1/2 inches wide. It will be the same size or larger than other flags displayed or carried at the same time.
(1) Four-foot 4-inch hoist by 5-foot 6-inch fly. This size flag will be displayed with the United States Army flag, organizational flag of Major Army Commands, positional colors (table 1-1), the Corps of Cadets’ color, the 1st Battalion, 3d Infantry color, the 4-foot 4-inch by 5-foot 6-inch chapel flag and the individual flag of a General of the Army.
(2) Three-foot hoist by 4-foot fly. This size flag will be displayed with the Army Field flag, distinguishing flags, organizational colors, and institutional flags of the same size. It will also be displayed within the offices listed in c below when no other positional or organizational flags are authorized.

c. Authorization for indoor display. The flag of the United States is authorized for indoor display for each—
(1) Office, headquarters, and organization authorized a positional color, distinguishing flag, or organizational color.
(2) Organization of battalion size or larger, temporary or permanent, not otherwise authorized a flag of the United States.
(3) Military offices not otherwise authorized an indoor flag of the United States, for the purpose of administering oaths of office.
(4) Military courtroom.
(5) U.S. Army element of joint commands, military groups, and missions. One flag is authorized for any one headquarters operating in a dual capacity.
(6) Subordinate element of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command.
(7) ROTC unit.
(8) Senior Executive Service (SES) employee for permanent retention.

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