The Logical Separation of Colors

DrillMaster Ask DrillMaster, Color Guard/Color Team, Honor Guard Training, Instructional Leave a Comment

While I’m sure that you are completely mesmerized at my drawing abilities, I hope the illustrations help get the idea across.

First: know the difference between posting and presenting the colors. Posting the colors is when the colors guard/team enters, renders honors and then places the colors in the stands. Presenting is when the colors team enters, renders honors and departs (called a “Show-n-Go”). This article is about the former, posting the colors.

The following is guidance for a DrillMaster Certified Ceremonial Guardsman.

Where to Post

Location. On stage at the back, in front on the floor, together, split. It’s up to you for your situation. You are educated and trained in various techniques to handle different situations, rely on that and as long as the American flag receives the utmost respect during the ceremony, you will be fine.

Together or Split? Again, that depends. Here is some guidance.

As long as the American flag is in the position of honor the whole time (in front or to the right of the other flags), aesthetics and visual balance are the big factors when considering separating posted flags or keeping them together (audience, camera angles, etc.). Position the stands with uniform separation either all together or in groups.




“You Got Odds, I Got Evens.”

You decided to split post, so now let’s consider the number of flags to post.

An even number of flags is simple to group when split posting, 50-50.

An odd number of flags is a different issue. How does one separate an odd number? In the example image below, we have a three and two split. Look at your flags with a logical view of how to group them. The example below might be all that you need.

American | State | City                                      Organization | POW/MIA

What to Post

Post all of your flags. Try not to have one or more flags preposted and then carry in two for presenting and posting. If this might be the case, it would be better to prepost all of the colors (e.g. American, state, City, & Organizational) and then present the minimum (American and state).

The minimum for the color team is four members, two flags and two rifle/axe guards. Two armed guards are the standard for the military and paramilitary (LE, fire, EMS) organizations, but not scouting programs, colors only for them. Rifles or axes are the weapons and the flags are

  1. The American flag
  2. Non-national flag
    • Uniformed service flag
    • State flag

Additional flags – the above is the minimum for first responders. Additional flags would be next: city, service (LEO, fire, EMS). Here is information on the POW/MIA.

How to Post

See the article, All About Posting or Presenting the Colors.

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