All About Posting or Presenting Colors

DrillMaster Ask DrillMaster, Color Guard/Color Team, Honor Guard, Honor Guard Training 118 Comments

Honor Guard Color Guard at Port

There is quite a bit of information and several situations that every color team needs to know to maintain the American flag in the position of honor – on the marching right or in front. The American flag never marches any other position. Never. Military and para-military (just about every organization that has its members in uniform) should follow military guidance.

Never march the American flag in the center. The position of honor is to the right- not the center. All flags are marched so that the finial (top ornament, the spade) is as close to the same height as possible. All flagstaffs must also be the same length.

Color Guard Formations

There are only two authorized formations for a color guard. Only two, Line Formation and Column Formation. Everyone who has served even a day in the military is familiar with both. We fall-in for a formation in line formation and when we are going to march somewhere, the formation is given Right Face into column formation and we can then march any necessary distance.


Notice in the graphic above that Inverted Line and Column Formations takes the American flag out of the position of honor. A color guard can never perform these two formations. Never.

What Flags do we Carry and in what Order?

Joint Colors

Military, Civil and Citizen teams have different requirements. The colors listed are in order from the marching right (viewer’s left):

  • Military teams (the US military, ROTC, and JROTC, and other cadet organizations) carry the American, (state,) and service colors. The organizational color would be last.
    • All services must always march with their service color, it may not be replaced by any other flag.
    • The Army is authorized to add a state, territory or foreign national color (only one) and can carry up to four flags, the rest being unit colors. Read here for more information.
    • The Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard are only authorized to carry the National Ensign and the service color. They may add another three-man color guard for a foreign national or US territory color only. Read here for more information.
    • The Air Force and Space Force are authorized to add a state, territory or foreign national color (only one) and can carry up to four flags, the rest being unit colors. Read here for more information.
  • Civil teams (law enforcement, firefighters, and EMS) carry the American, state, municipal, organizational and even fraternal colors. The fraternal color can be omitted when presenting for local government functions.
  • Citizen teams (Scouts, fraternal organizations) carry the American, state, and organizational colors.
    • Tribal teams , on Tribal lands, would carry the Tribal Nation’s color, American, and state colors. Outside of Tribal lands, the American would be first and then the Tribal Nation’s color. Some Tribal teams also carry service colors.

Side note: When an Army, Air Force, or Space Force color team carries the following colors, this is the order. No exceptions.

  1. American flag
  2. Foreign national, state, or territory flag (in that order)
  3. Military departmental flag
  4. (Unit flag)

Please read The Why of the Military Color Guard series of posts.

Carrying More Than One National Flag?

Let’s say you are part of an Emerald Society Pipe and Drum Corps and Honor Guard (a first responder fraternity). Many of these teams carry not only the American flag, but also the Irish flag. Why? The first law enforcement officers and firefighters were Irish. The tradition continues. Back to our situation of two national flags: All national flags are treated the same on American soil – they are not dipped in salute. Both remain upright even during both national anthems, if they are played. All other colors dip in salute.

Joint Service Order for Military Colors

This is the only order for service flags, service emblems, etc. For more information on why this is the order, click here to read Joint Service Order of the Colors. The right/lead rifle guard is a Soldier and the left/rear guard is a Marine.

  1. Right rifle guard, Army
  2. Army
  3. Marine Corps
  4. Navy
  5. Air Force
  6. Space Force
  7. Coast Guard
  8. Left rifle guard, Marine Corps

Note: While service color position remains the same, if all service personnel are not able to be present for the team, their order should go as follows as far as knowledge is concerned: regardless of service or rank, the most knowledgeable (as far as color guard experience) member should be the US color bearer and the second most knowledgeable should be the right rifle guard. Third in this sequence should be the left rifle guard with descending familiarity following from there.

Joint Service Order for First Responders

Full disclosure: I developed this. While this is not a hard-and-fast rule, I thought it necessary to create an order of precedence based on the implementation of each service. Read this for complete first responder joint service information:

  1. Law enforcement officer (LEO)
  2. Fire
  3. EMS

Using the guidance from the military, team make up might look like this:

  1. Right/lead rifle guard: LEO armed with a rifle/shotgun, second-most experienced member
  2. American flag: LEO, most experienced member
  3. Other flag (State, etc.): Firefighter/EMS, can be least in experience
  4. Left/rear guard: Firefighter/EMS armed with a ceremonial fire axe, third in experience

Keep in mind the guidance that the most experienced member should be the US color bearer, regardless of service/profession.

LEO/Fire/EMS Working Together

I encourage and enjoy joint work, but there is an issue that must be addressed: Technique.

What about Military and Civil working together?

Nothing addresses this subject specifically. However, we don’t necessarily read manuals to see what is forbidden or not authorized as that would be a never ending list, we look to the service manuals for what is authorized and we have our answer already. Military sticks with military and that’s it.

What About the Uniform?

For the military, the Class A or ceremonial uniform is it. On base, the utility uniform is an option but only if the official party is wearing it. Never wear mess dress. For more read this article.

Does Height Matter?

Experience before aesthetics, always. Not if you have the luxury of each member of the team being around the same height, but for cadet and civil teams, it should come second to knowledge and experience. Yes, the team might look “off”, but it’s best to have knowledgeable members of the team in key positions rather than have aesthetics. Click here and read this article.

Flag Stuck, etc.?

Problem during the Performance? That’s why God invented the right and left guards for the team! The guards are there to fix whatever issue they can. For more, read this article here.

Hangin’ Around

Waiting for the ceremony still requires proper protocol.

  1. Arrive at the site at least one hour early
  2. Practice while in your travel uniform (this ensures no one thinks the ceremony has already begun and gives the team time to figure out their movements)
  3. Change into ceremonial/Class A uniform
  4. Hang out* with equipment ready in-hand and all team members in their proper place (American flag at right or in front of other flags- yes, even just hanging around – cameras are everywhere)
  5. Ten minutes prior to show time, line up at staging position at Stand at Ease (or Parade Rest) ready to perform

*An example of how NOT to stand around. This is a USAF Base Honor Guard team, I have pictures of other services, this is just an example.

base honor guard, color team, color guard, honor guard training
A USAF Base Honor Guard Color Team

Sporting Events

For horse and ice rink arenas, see The Arena/Rink Colors Presentation article.

For baseball, basketball, football/soccer, see this article and this article.


Color Guard MC Left About

Left Wheel, Right Wheel and About Wheel. These are terms that honor guards use to describe turns accomplished by the color team most often outside. Right/Left Wheels use the center of the team as the rotation point which means half the team marches forward and the other half marches backward to rotate the team 90-degrees in an average of eight steps for teams with four to six members.

This is joint service technique from the Marine Corps and ceremonial technique. The Army Wheel is just like the Marine Corps Turn with the rotation point on the guard position.

Color Guard Wheel JPEG

The team executes the About Wheel in the same direction as the Right Wheel rotating the team 180-degrees in 16 steps.


While colors can be and sometimes are posted outdoors (read that link), my experience leads me to recommend that you present and not post. The wind just never plays well with other others. We, in the military try to avoid this as much as possible with the alternative being a color team that posts near the podium for the event. The members present and then stage the team for everyone to see. Sometimes this may not be a viable solution and you will have to have the event and location dictate how the color team handles the colors. See also, How to Present the Colors at an EventWhat is Authorized when Presenting the Colors, and How to Plan and Coordinate a Color Guard Event. This article, How to Present the Colors at an Event, has great information.

Note: As a rule of thumb, colors enter at Right Shoulder (Carry) and depart at Port Arms. Entering at Port is fine if necessary.

  1. Enter
  2. Halt in front of and facing audience
  3. Present Arms for (foreign national anthem and then) the Star Spangled Banner or Pledge of Allegiance (not both see the next paragraph)
  4. Port Arms
  5. (Color bearers move to post colors and rejoin guards)
  6. Depart

The Announcement

“Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the presentation (and posting) of the colors.” Every time a color guard presents the colors, it’s called a presentation. At a formal event, the colors may be placed in stands, that is posting. The colors will always be presented, just not always posted.

Music to Present to

Why Not Both the Anthem and Pledge?

Having both is not necessary. The Star-Spangled Banner is a salute to the flag and we render the military hand salute, stand at attention, or place our right hand over our heart, and dip flags.

We will not find anything that specifically forbids having the Star Spangled Banner played or sung and then having the Pledge of Allegiance in the same ceremony. The military oath supersedes the Pledge from our first day of Active Duty so we in the military hardly ever recite the Pledge if at all. There are times we do recite it and that is explained in our protocol manuals. What we read in TC 3-21.5 (MCO 5060.20 and AFMAN 36-2203) and related manuals is that the only music to honor the flag is the national anthem.

If you are told that the anthem and Pledge will be part of a ceremony and have no say, a great way to facilitate that is to formally present the colors, go to Present for the anthem, (post the colors- for more formal ceremonies,) and then have the color guard depart. Once the team is off stage, the audience can be led through the Pledge.

If the point of contact insists on both the anthem and Pledge and the team remaining for both, have the team return to Carry/Right Shoulder and remain for the Pledge. After recitation, the team departs at Port (Port, ARMS; Colors, Colors Turn, HARCH).

Music Played on Entrance and Exit

A military march can be played for the color guard when entering and exiting and no other time. The usual music for military color guards is the Trio section of the National Emblem March. This YouTube video from the US Navy Band is perfect (also below) and at the correct tempo (around 90 beats per minute is best when presenting/posting indoors). If you have a live band, you can coordinate when to cut the music off. If you play this or another recording, you can halt and let the music play out. If you can get in place before the repeat, please don’t let the whole thing play while everyone stands around waiting for the music to end.

Dipping Flags to the Pledge

US military departmental and organizational flags do not dip for the Pledge. The same goes for the JROTC organizational flag, which is dipped in salute in all military ceremonies while the national anthem of the United States, “To the Colors,” or a foreign national anthem is played, when rendering honors to the Chief of Staff or Secretary of a US military branch, his or her direct representative, or an individual of higher grade, including a foreign dignitary of equivalent or higher grade. Organizational colors are also dipped when rendering honors to organizations and individuals for which the military ceremony is being conducted.

What about other organizational (veteran groups and first responders) and state flags? Dipping state, territory, city, and county flags along with private/national organization and law enforcement, fire, and EMS department flags is appropriate.

Foreign Anthems?

Foreign national anthems are played first and the Star-Spangled Banner is played last. An example of this is a Canadian hockey or baseball teams plays an American team here in the USA. If the American team traveled to Canada, the Star-Spangled Banner would be first with Oh Canada! played last.

Other Music?

While there may be other anthems representing certain people groups, they are not afforded the same protocol as a national anthem. The public is not required to stand or place their hand over their heart. Let’s take the Black Anthem as an example.

While I am in no way suggesting disrespect should be shown to a piece of music that may have meaning to a number of people, it is not at the same level as a national anthem and is not accorded the protocol of standing and placing the right hand over the heart, a military hand salute, or even the color guard going to Present Arms with the rifle guards at the position of Present and the non-national flag dipped forward. If this other music is played, the color guard should only stand at the position of Attention if on the court/field and after that music has finished, the commander of the team gives “Present, ARMS!” and the Star-Spangled Banner is then played or sung.

The announcer can say, “Ladies and gentlemen, the Black Anthem.” After it is finished the announcer should say, “Ladies and gentlemen, please rise, (men remove your hats, and place your right hand over your heart) for the Star-Spangled Banner.” Here is where the color guard would go to Present Arms and the anthem would then begin. The Star-Spangled Banner must be last.

Standard Entrance and Departure

Colors Posting Process

To Present or Post, that is the Question!

Posting the colors is for special occasions. How special? That is up to the organization. Graduations are a special time, that would call for posting the colors. Weekly events would probably warrant pre-posted colors at the least or presenting the colors only.

The Show-n-Go. This is the honor guard term for presenting the colors for an informal/semi-formal event. The colors are pre-posted on the stage/front of the room and the color team enters, formally presents (Anthem), and then departs. No posting.

This happens at all sporting events where a color guard enters the field and should be a regular occurrence for every color guard in the USA and Americans abroad. Formally presenting is reserved for formal events.

With the Show-n-Go, the colors do not matter. As long as the American flag pre-posted, the color team can present whatever they carry as their standard colors (American, State, etc.).

How to Enter

The standard entrance is to enter from the viewer’s right, present to the audience (then post) and depart. See the image above.

To enter from the viewer’s left, use Every Left On. Also, read this article. This avoids Inverted Line Formation explained above.

Every Left On

Flag Stand Positions

Below, is an example of different stand positions behind a podium. For more on which flags should be in which stands, read this article on The Logical Separation of Colors.

How to Exit

The standard exit is to the viewer’s left. See the standard entrance/departure image above.

To exit to the viewer’s right, use Every Left Off. The commander calls, “Step!” and the left rifle guard steps across, as close as possible to the team member on their left. Step any further away and the departure for the team looks terrible.

Color Guard Left Exit

Asked to post another organization’s color(s)? Don’t! Read this!

Entering and Departing to Music

Music is not mandatory. If you are going to have music, it is best that it be live. If not, a recording can sound quite unprofessional. The standard entrance and exit music for presenting/posting the colors is the Trio section of the National Emblem march by Edwin Eugene Bagley. Here is the YouTube video of the USAF Heritage Band playing the march. The link begins the video at the Trio section. This tempo is about 120 SPM (steps per minute). For the colors, you want a tempo of about 90 SPM.

When to Retire/Retrieve the Colors

Retrieving the colors is reserved for the extra, extra formal occasions. Do not retire the colors for weekly or even monthly meetings. Retirement is for very formal galas or balls. Use the posting sequence in reverse.

  1. Enter
  2. Halt in front of and facing audience
  3. Color bearers retrieve colors and rejoin guards
  4. Present Arms for a few seconds (military flags do not dip)
  5. Port Arms
  6. Depart

Comments 118

  1. Good evening,

    Recently my colorguard was performing at a high school football game. Do to some technical problems they couldn’t play the National anthem so they did a moment of silence. In the moment I kept my CG at present during the moment of silence. If this happens again what is the proper way to go about it?

    1. Post

      First of all, you did an excellent job at the spur of the moment thinking. If you know there’s a technical issue at the outset, march on, guards go to Present on your command and that’s it. The departmental or organizational flag would not dip since it would only dip for the Star-Spangled Banner. I hope you are aware that military flags don’t dip every time you give the command to Present.

      If a technical problem happens in the moment, just use your best judgment again.

      Well done.


  2. Drillmaster,

    Is there a certain requirement for the color guard on number of members for nber of flags being raised? We are a Girl scout group that dies regular flag ceremonies at annual girl scout events seasonally and we include the US flag, the state flag and the GS flag, it has come under question recently if there should be at least a certain number of girls in the color guard for that number of flags. Any information would be greatly appreciated!!

    Thank you!!

    1. Post


      There’s no requirement other than one color bearer per color. That’s it. If you want to provide guards to march at either end, you most certainly may. Civilian organizations like Scouts are not required to provide anything else.


  3. I know this question may make someone’s eye twitch, but can veterans perform color guard duties in civilian clothes for an informal event? Over the past 15+ years, a local organization has had a very successful veteran golf outing which included a color guard to kick it off. There has always been support by either a local National Guard or Reserve unit, VFW post, or American Legion post (all in uniform). This year we have completely exhausted trying to find a group that can do it. We have veterans who are golfing who have volunteered to do the color guard, but only 1 still has a dress uniform (which doesn’t fit well). We’d still like to continue the tradition, but I don’t want anyone having heart attacks when they see 4 guys in polos and shorts posting the colors. Thanks for any insight…

    1. Post

      Hello sir,

      No eye twitching here. What you describe sounds like the perfect solution. Four guys in polo shirts and shorts (a uniform of sorts) presenting the colors just before the golf tournament in which they will participate works.


  4. I am organizing a parade in a small town of Arkansas. I would like to include a color guard. I’m wondering whom I could contact to arrange this. Any information you could provide would be helpful. Thank you & thank you for your service.

    1. Post

      Ms. Pierron,

      Your local police department, sheriff’s office, fire department, veteran group, and high school JROTC are all liable to have a color guard each.


  5. RE: White Gloves

    I’ve heard that white gloves are only to be worn with long sleeve uniform. I’ve also heard that they may be worn with short sleeve as well. Which is it? Both? Is there a proper white glove etiquette?

    1. Post

      Mr. Kipp,

      Traditionally, military members have always presented the colors in the Class A or ceremonial uniform and both only have long sleeves. This is probably where the “white gloves are only worn with long sleeves” idea comes from.
      There’s no rule that I’m aware of. It is best, however, to tuck the sleeve of the glove into the the hand so that the glove’s crease is at the wrist. That presents a professional image.

  6. I belong to a Veterans Group and we are having our 40th. Anniversary.
    I need some help on placing the following flags

    Org flag
    Agent Orange

    Any assistance would be so appreciated.

    1. Post

      Mr. Davison,

      As you look at the flags (audience’s perspective), the American will be on your left, (state flag goes here, if you choose to display it,) the organization’s flag is next (at the American’s left, viewer’s right), the Agent Orange flag, and then last is the POW/MIA flag.

      Please let me know if you have any further questions.


  7. I am the clerk of the school board for a school system in Virginia. Our board holds twice-monthly meetings. We have five high schools in our county, so on a rotational basis we have a high school JROTC color guard unit come in to present the colors for our Pledge of Allegiance at each board meeting.

    I have no military background myself, so please forgive my ignorance about protocols. My question for you is this: How should I refer to the color guard unit’s presentation? Is it “posting” of the colors or is it “presentation” of the colors? (Or something else?)

    We’re located next door to Quantico. Out of respect for our local military families, I want to be accurate in how I refer to the color guard presentation on our meeting agendas. Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. Post


      I very much appreciate you wanting to use the correct terminology. I just updated the article to include that information and I’ll provide it for you here.

      All colors presentations are a Presentation. When the occasion is more formal, the colors are posted. Your meetings are not in the formal category, so your announcement would be, “Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the presentation of the colors by XYZ high school Junior ROTC.”

      Again, thank you for your attention to detail!


  8. At the beginning of our University’s Women’s Basketball game, it has been customary that an ROTC Color Guard enter the Arena, formally, and present the Colors, followed by the National Anthem. During the first game of this season, the Color Guard entered , as usual. The PA announcer directed the audience to join in the playing of the Black Anthem, which was followed by the National Anthem. The audience was standing, holding their right hands on their hearts, expecting the National Anthem. The Black Anthem is a beautiful song with inspirational lyrics, but is it expected that the audience be showing the same respect by standing as if the National Anthem was being played?

    1. Post

      Mr. Hall,

      Thank you for your question. From a protocol standpoint, the public is asked to stand for national anthems. These anthems represent nations and not just people based on any other factor (language, skin color, etc.). It is respectful to stand for the anthems of friendly foreign countries at sporting events in the USA where a Canadian or Mexican team might play an American team. The foreign anthem is played first and the home anthem, our Star-Spangled Banner is this case, is played last.

      While I am in no way suggesting disrespect should be shown to a piece of music that may have meaning to a number of people, it is not at the same level as a national anthem and is not accorded the protocol of standing and placing the right hand over the heart, a military hand salute, or even the color guard going to Present Arms with the rifle guards at the position of Present and the non-national flag dipped forward. If this other music is played, the color guard should only stand at the position of Attention if on the court/field and after that music has finished, the commander of the team gives “Present, ARMS!” and the Star-Spangled Banner is then played or sung.

      The announcer can say, “Ladies and gentlemen, the Black Anthem.” After it is finished the announcer should say, “Ladies and gentlemen, please rise, (men remove your hats, and place your right hand over your heart) for the Star-Spangled Banner.” Here is where the color guard would go to Present Arms and the anthem would then begin.

      I hope you find this helpful. Protocol and military standards are both very specific.


  9. Hi DrillMaster,

    First, thanks for a wonderful website and your time in effort maintaining it.

    I am an adult leader and our Boy Scout Troop has been asked to provide the color guard to present the colors for the Veteran’s Day opening day ceremony of our chartered organization school. I’ve read about what you describe as a Show-n-Go, which is what they are asking for. This will take place in the school courtyard where no colors are previously posted. Our Scouts (both Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts) will be in Class-As.

    Our color guard would use our American flag on our flag pole. They would enter from audience front left, walk to the center, pivot right, go up some stairs and then use Every Left On to present the colors on the right of the speaker. The Cub Scouts would lead in Pledge of Allegiance, then the school would sing the Star Spangled Banner. Finally we would exit.

    I’ve only previously posted colors for our weekly Troop meetings or seen color guard posting colors at Summer Camp.

    How does this sound?
    Anything to improve or change?
    What would an example script look like for something like this look like?

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Post

      Excellent plan!! I’m very impressed that you have read so much of my website and then formulated the process that fits your situation best. Well done!
      The script might go:

      Announer: ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the presentation of the colors, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the (playing/singing of the) Star-Spangled Banner.

      Colors enter and post.

      Pledge and anthem. (Note, both are not necessary. The anthem takes precedence.)

      Colors depart.

      Announcer: please be seated.

      I hope that’s helpful and that you and your Scouts have a great time.


  10. Our Girl Scout troop is excited to participate in their school’s Veterans Day program and has the honor of being the Color Guard. This will be the girls second time and they take this very seriously. The teacher responsible for coordinating the program has requested they both raise the flag and present the Colors. My concern is there is no official “protocol” for this and we may inadvertently offend someone or disrespect the flag/Veterans in attendance in some way by doing this.

    Is there a protocol for this? Or should we respectfully push back on doing both? Your guidance is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Girl Scout troop leader

    1. Post

      Ms. DeLoach,

      What a great opportunity for your girls!

      There isn’t a protocol problem with having both, but it is out of the norm.

      For the colors presentation, the Star-Spangled Banner is played and for the flag raising (called a Flag Detail), the anthem is also played. I suggest only the Flag Detail for this reason.

      You can present the colors, have the team remain, bring the Flag Detail in, but if you don’t have enough members to do both simultaneously, the color guard can present and depart.

      Please let me know if you require any information specific to the color guard or Flag Detail. I’m more than happy to assist.


  11. I am the director of a community youth choir and we are presenting a Veteran’s Day Concert in a few weeks. I have invited a color guard to present the flags to open the program. I am planning to follow with the Star Spangled Banner. Should the flags be presented in a quiet auditorium or with music in the background? Also, once the flags are on stage should they be retired at the end of the program since this is not a formal event? I’ve read many comments but wasn’t sure. I was wondering about having taps played at the end of the program following a song which honors our veterans. The reason was to honor friends and family of our veterans who may no longer be with us. A veteran told me this should be all right. Is this appropriate (I understand Memorial Day is in memory of those we’ve lost) and should taps be played before flags are retired if at all? I am putting the program together and wanted to make sure we were following correct protocol. Thank you!

    1. Post

      Ms. Hesinch,

      What a thoughtful question. I appreciate it when my fellow Americans care about doing the right thing.

      Here is my suggestion for you to begin the program:
      Announcer: “Ladies and gentlemen, we will begin in just a few minutes. Please silence all cell phones.” The color guard posts to their staging position and stands at Parade Rest. At the scheduled time: “Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the presentation (posting) of the colors.” This is the cue for the color guard to come to Attention, Carry Colors, and to march forward to center on the audience (on stage). Background music is not appropriate but the Trio section of National Emblem is a great military standard. You can find it here: href=”” title=”Trio to National Emblem” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”> the link opens a new tab in your browser. Playing this section of the march (this slowly) can be very awkward for color guard members who do not have experience. If the team has not marched to music before, I suggest silence.

      When the team commander gives “Present Arms!” (it needs to be a loud command), that’s when the Star-Spangled banner is played. When then the music finishes, the team can depart if an American flag is already in view, or they can post the flags in stands on the stage. Once the team posts the flags, they depart and the announcer tells the audience: “Please be seated.”

      The lack of formality of the event requires the flags to not be formally retired. The color guard can informally gather the flags after the event is finished. Flags are only retired at “white tie” type events and those are quite rare.

      Veterans Day recognizes living veterans, we do not collectively mourn the loss of veterans who have died on this day. It is inappropriate to sound (not play) Taps for the event. The veteran who told you it would be alright is incorrect. Taps is sounded for deceased veterans at their funerals, they are recognized then. As you noted, Memorial Day is for the veterans who did not return home alive and Taps is appropriate then.

      Please let me know if you have any further questions and, again, thank you for being diligent in seeking to follow protocol.


  12. Is it ok to present the colors in a uniform other than dress uniform? For example OCPs (Operationl Camouflage pattern)?

    1. Post

      The color guard should be in the same uniform as the official party. On a military installation, presenting in the utility uniform can be perfectly accessible. Off base, it’s not a good choice. Class A should be the standard.

    1. Post

      Hello sir,

      The Army, Air Force, and Space Force, according to their regulations, can include the foreign national flag in the formation.

      The Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard, according to their regulations, must have a separate three-man team to carry the foreign national flag.

      So, whichever standards you follow, or, if you are a mixed (veteran) group, choose to follow, you are covered.


      1. Thank you for the response. To elaborate it is an active duty Armed Forces Color Guard (9 Person with all services). I’ve heard that with joint service teams the senior service manual is used, however I haven’t seen any clear guidance or regulations for Joint Service Color Guards.

        1. Post

          The joint service color guard made up of the service honor guard units in and around Washington DC use the Army ceremonial techniques.

          The same goes for any time two or three teams perform at the same ceremony. The senior service always leads.

          From this we can take note that the senior service is the one to follow.

  13. Hello, we are wanting to have a flag posting for the first day of school, we have two options for an outdoors ceremony:
    Have color guard advance with folded standard which is then presented and then hoisted, recite pledge, and then sing school song.
    Have standard posted on outdoor pole, and then have color guard advance with U.S. flag and school flag, present the colors, say pledge, sing school song, and then dismiss flags, then carry on the rest of the ceremony.
    Which would be the best alternative? And perhaps the wording of the best alternative-“please stand for the presentation of the colors”, etc.

    1. Post

      Mrs Peterson,

      Thank you for your question. What great ideas!

      Your first idea is for a Flag Detail (not called a color guard). The flag detail brings in the national (state, school) with one bearer per flag and two team members to work the halyard. I would stick with just raising the national on one pole if you have separate poles and then raise the others after the ceremony or, if you have one pole and two flags, that would work just as easily.
      The procedure would be:
      Announcer- “Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the advancement and raising of our national flag (nation’s colors).”
      Everyone stands, flag detail enters, attaches flag, commander gives “Present, ARMS”, flag is raised to the top, halyard secured, halyard bearers salute, commander gives “Order, ARMS”. Flag Detail remains at pole (can be dismissed, but adds to the timing and can seem awkward for what follows).
      Announcer-“Please join in the Pledge of Allegiance.” Recitation. Sing school song.
      If you are going to have the color guard, same procedure as above except for the following.
      Announcer- “Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the presentation of the colors.”
      Color guard is centered and facing the audience, commander gives “Present, ARMS”.
      Pledge, song.
      Announcer- “Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the dismissal of the colors.”

      If everyone is standing and no one is seated, then the announcement could be, “Ladies and gentlemen, please direct your attention to the front (flag pole) for the…”

      I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any further questions.


  14. Our City is organizing a 9/11 event and would like our Color Guard team to perform. We are always first up to start off any event we attend. They have us scheduled for the end. What is your take on that? Thank you!

    1. Post

      MSgt Piccolo,

      Thank you for your question. I first thought you were going to say that the team would be second, maybe third, but last?

      It’s quite possible that another color guard will formally present the colors for the anthem and that your team will have a special presentation (akin to retrieving the colors possibly) to close out the event.

      I know that many event organizers try to include as many local organizations as possible and even rotate through these organizations for yearly events.

      I do think you should contact those in charge and see what their thinking is and how your team fits in as presenting last is unusual. You want to guard against thinking that puts the honor of the flag and the team at risk.

      Please let me know what happens as I am quite curious!


  15. Dear sirs
    We are having a family reunion and would like to have a flag presentation of some kind. We have no scout troops and no one in uniform. What would be acceptable.

    1. Post

      May I suggest either mount the flag on a building or post or have a pole, permanent or temporary, in the ground and raise the flag and have everyone recite the Pledge.


  16. OK US Flag is prePosted at stage on left about fron left of table-podium with Eagle facing away from assembly. To present or is it Post the colors, they rotate the Eagle towards the assembly. And we salute during the Turning saying “PRESENT ARMS” then when done say “TWO”.

    We are being told that US Flag should be PUSHED BACK away from Podium-Table to RETIRE IT?

    Where is this WRITTEN as FLAG ETIQUETTE? To Move US FLAG forward to Front of Podium-Table at beginning of a Meeting and then Push it Back to RETIRE it? This has caused some negative comments as to what is the right way to PRESENT prePosted US Flag and then to RETIRE a PrePosted US FLAG???? I trust my questions about situation makes sense as to how to CORRECTLY prsent and retire a prePOSTED US FLAG. Thanks.

    1. Post

      Mr. Elam,

      Neither rotating nor pushing a posted flag back and forth has anything to do with flag etiquette. Whoever thought this up did just that- thought it up. It has no basis in reality as far as protocol is concerned.

      Posting a flag means to bring it before an audience, present it with the Star-Spangled Banner, post it and have the individual depart. The Pledge can be a substitute, but is usually for civilian audiences. Military audiences use the national anthem since our oath covers us for life.

      To retire the colors means the opposite: to retrieve the flag, salute it, and have the flag leave the presence of the audience.

      The commands for rendering a salute are: “Present, ARMS!” and then “Order, ARMS!” that is the Army, Air Force, and Space Force technique. “Hand, SALUTE!” followed by “Ready, TWO!” are the commands that the Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard use. You are mixing the two and using an incomplete command.

      Having a preposted flag is just fine. It should not be rotated, pushed forward, or pushed backward. As long as the flag has a prominent place during your meetings, you are following protocol. Any other time, the flag can be less prominent- pushed back to the rear of the stage.

      I hope this helps.

  17. Hello,
    Recently I was at a High School Graduation and the U.S. Flag was present on stage along with the state flag. Before the graduation started the color guard marched in with the U.S. Flag and state. The National Anthem was played and the color guard marched out with the U.S. Flag and state. Is this proper, to have two U.S. Fags present?

    1. Post

      Mr. Brown,

      This is a great question, thank you for it.

      I have recently found out that some believe having two American flags at the same ceremony is somehow inappropriate. I don’t know where this idea comes from but it’s not true.

      What you saw is called a show-n-go in the ceremonial drill world and is perfectly acceptable. It’s performed when posting the colors would be too formal and a school graduation is not a formal enough occasion.

      I hope this answers your question satisfactorily.


      1. We may have an event where one set of flags (American flag and two organizational flags) will be pre-posted and one will be posted by the color guard. I am directing the color guard, but I am *very* low pay-grade, and this is a national organization. Our Administrator will be there. I am urging a show-and-go, but I’m not optimistic. If we *must* post the colors, where should the pre-posted colors be, and where should we post? I’m thinking pre-posted on their own left and posting on their own right. There will be a stage. Would it be better to have the pre-posted flags on the stage? If so, do we post to the left or would splitting be better (American on its right on one side of the stage; organizational flags on the other side)?

        1. Post

          Hi Tom,

          I feel your pain here. If you are unable to show-no-go (so glad you are aware of that!), I think your split post idea on the stage sounds like your best option. As I picture it in my mind, the split would have less of an impact on everyone noticing that org flag(s) will already be there. It’s bad protocol to not post all flags, but you have to work within your parameters.


    1. Post
  18. If you are posting colors at an organizational event but the aisle is not very wide, would it be appropriate to line up single file, American Flag in the front and Organization banners bringing up the rear?

    1. Post

    1. Post

      Hello sir,
      Many people get the terms honor guard and color guard confused. An honor guard is a ceremonial unit, a team of individuals. This unit breaks down into the three ceremonial elements: color guard, pallbearers, and firing party. Team members also perform a variety of other ceremonial duties: cordon, personak escort, Missing Man Table, Flag Detail, etc.
      The flags of each service present would be appropriate. Depending on the ceremony, you could have all six departmental flags posted on the stage (or just the American and state flags) and have the color guard bring in the flags of the services present for a presentation only and not have them posted. That would be the easiest.

  20. JROTC in my child’s High School practices presenting colors in the morning (by the parking lot where students get dropped off) with the USA flag fully flying. Is flying the colors during practice appropriate?
    I’ve been out of the military for a while, but it seems disrespectful to fly the colors during practice and see cars and students casually walk by the colors without saluting it.
    Seems to me that practicing presenting colors should be done with just a flag pole.

    1. Post

      I understand how you feel about this and I wholly agree your assessment. Only the Marine Corps Order (governing the Marine Corps, navy, and Coast Guard) states that practice should be accomplished with a furled and cased flag.

      The issue we come across is muscle memory. Cadets practice and rehearse the exact procedures for a color guard in competition. The techniques they use require full access to the flag for the realism of practice so that nothing is a surprise when they step onto the competition deck. TO that end, it’s my opinion that color guards should practice with two state flags or practice flags made specifically for this situation.

      The last thing we want is to have the presence of the American flag to be seen as commonplace and ignored. We may be too late in that regard.

      Thank you very much for your comment.

    1. Post

      You would enter into the room, stand centered on and facing the audience for the Pledge or anthem, and when either (not both) is finished, turn and post the flag. It’s not ideal, but it is a situation that some are forced into.

    1. Post

      Just to be sure, a color guard never dips the American flag, it remains vertical or slightly angled forward, depending on the service (See “The Why of the Color Guard” series of articles for more information). A color guard carrying one or more US military service colors only dips those colors in salute to the national anthems of the US and friendly nations. These requirements are spelled out in AR 840-1, MCO 5060.2, and AFI 34-1201 and apply to all services. All state flags are dipped to the anthems as well. There is no other music where dipping flags would be appropriate.

  21. We post the colors at our Catholic Church every Memorial Day.
    Usually we have two of us in Class A uniform. I will be in uniform and a Knights of Columbus in uniform. I will be in class A uniform
    and carrying the Flag and he will carry the church Flag. We mean no disrespect, and honor Memorial Day. There is limited space,
    We pray that the critics will have a soft heart , we stand for the Flag and kneel for the Fallen

    1. Post

      Mr. Zimmerman,

      I have done the same thing on past Memorial Days, it’s just been me in uniform posting the American flag. The other veterans in my congregation have at least 20 years on me and have been happy to let me do it.
      You work with what you have and if you have just the two of you, all that matters is the intent behind your actions.
      Thank you for stepping up to serve our country years ago and now honor our fallen brothers- and sisters-in-arms.

  22. I think I know the answer but want to clarify.
    During the Covid thing we are dealing with, my veterans org has been asked to do a color guard for a Memorial Day service. The current policy of the organization (all vets orgs in this state at the moment) is that we do not do color guards, so that means uniforms are out. If I am reading this correctly, color guards are done in class A’s, period.
    Am I correct in assuming that I will be disappointing the guy putting this together? IMHO, doing it wrong is more disrespectful than not doing it.
    It might be a moot point due to the short notice I may not get enough people anyway but I would like to know.

    1. Post

      Mr. Adams,

      I don’t understand why your organizations would not perform colors presentations. Have we in the military not stood up in times of need?

      Orders from a government official are not enforceable law.

      Class A or B is appropriate for colors, A being preferable.

  23. This may be a moot question, as it pertains to a fictional situation, but I like to have my writings as accurate as possible, despite it being science fiction.

    The situation is a wedding. The Bride is a RAAF Flight Lieutenant, the Groom a USSF Captain. The ceremony takes place in an ecumenical chapel on a privately-owned, UN-administered island in the South China Sea. (Ceded from a future Chinese government for the establishment of an international space launch center.)

    I’d like to begin the ceremony with positing of colors, with one flag bearer and one guard from each service. Would this be proper, given the circumstances? And would this happen before or after the entry of the mother of the Bride (the traditional signal for the start of a Christian wedding ceremony)?

    Please and Thank You.

    1. Post

      Mr. Harris,

      Posting the colors before the whole ceremony would be perfectly acceptable but only on the fourth Monday of June in a year ending with an even number if the moon was in it’s 3/4 waxing state and there was a partial solar eclipse the following Thursday afternoon between 1343 and 1427. :-)

      Seriously, colors are not presented or posted for weddings. If colors are present in the chapel, they are pre-posted and only the two national colors are authorized in this situation. The Christian flag could also be displayed.

      Oh, and China would never give up any land whatsoever for any kind of use.


  24. Drillmaster,

    Is there a standard size, ie 5×8, for the colors being presented in a Show-n-Go? Also, do the colors have to have a fringe? I’m inquiring about a color guard that will be composed of Boy and Girl Scouts.


    1. Post

      Hello Dimitra,

      Thank you for your question.

      For Scouting programs I suggest the 3’x4′ flag on an 8′ staff. If you were to follow the Army standard, which most do, all flags are required to have gold colored fringe.

      I hope that is helpful and am happy to answer any other questions you may have.


      1. Hi John,

        Copy all and thanks. The colors will not be presented at scouting events. They will be presented at Township functions such as Memorial Day, Veterans Day and parades. The older scouts will be carrying them. Should they be larger given their purpose?


      2. John,

        Good copy and thanks. The colors will be presented at Township events such as Memorial Day, Veterans Day and parades. They will be carried by our older scouts. They are not for scouting events. Given their purpose would I require larger flags?


        1. Post

          Not at all. In the ceremonial drill world, you would want 9’6″ staffs with 4’4″x5’6 flags. It’s not necessary to go all out for Scouts, not that Scouts cannot handle it, it’s just not necessary to “go big” when the smaller flags and staffs would fit the bill.

          1. John,

            Thanks again. Last set of questions. Is the following flagpole hardware appropriate for our colors: Eagle for the US flag and military spear for the Township and State flags? Or does the hardware have to be uniform, ie all colors have military spears. Lastly, most of our events are outdoors, so which flagpole type is more appropriate wood or aluminum pole?


          2. Post


            I would suggest the light ash wood guidon staffs topped with the Army Spearhead finial for all flags. Having said that, I can only recommend. The guidon staffs are built to last when maintained properly (use graphite on all the screws and joints and regularly ensure that the screws are tight).

          3. Dear Drillmaster,

            I am in the process of ordering flags and equipment for our boy scout color guard to be used primarily at our Township Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies. I have decided with the flag sizes of 4′.3” x 5′.5” in accordance with the flag code for the US, State and Township flags. I read your blog on To Fringe or not to Fringe and tend to agree with you that nothing should be attached to the US flag as per the code, although I understand this requirement varies by each branch of service. For my purposes, what do you advise? Keep it simple and use flags with no fringes? Or include the fringes?


          4. Post

            Hello Dimitra!
            I really appreciate your research into this, it makes the process so much easier and you end up spending money on the right equipment. Well done!
            I say, forget the fringe. Whole it may have served a purpose a hundred-plus years ago, it’s no longer necessary, nor appropriate, even.
            If you would, please send me a photo of your your troop with their new equipment, I would very much enjoy seeing and posting about a leader who has done things the right way.
            By the way, is your best friend in this situation. Let them know I sent you.

  25. I seek a practical reality check about long distance marching with the flag. Just as a matter of physical activity doing 10-20 miles several days in a row is a lot different than hiking with a pack. Obviously a color guard would want to work up to this, as athletes train for any event. I’d appreciate insight as to knowing whether such a goal is a reasonable one in the first place? Between the weight, the size, the length of the staff, the terrian and the weather there are obviously many factors. Do you experienced flag marchers have any insights or rules of thumb etc to share?

  26. When our city has a parade, they have a chorus stand in front of the color guard and sing the national anthem. Many of us think that is wrong. We think the chorus should stand behind the color guard. What is the proper way to do this or doesn’t it matter?

    1. Post


      The colors should be front and center for presentations. The choir needs to be heard, not seen. The color guard is what needs to be seen. While our Flag Code does not specifically address this type of situation, we can get a sense of color guard location from reading the guidelines set forth in it: the flag is always to have the position of honor and dignity. It is to be seen clearly by as many people (in this case) as possible.

      Thank you very much for your question, I hope this helps shed light to help your community better honor the flag.

  27. Drill Master,

    I’m the MC for an upcoming Veterans Day Ceremony which consists of Presentation of Colors and the playing of the National Anthem.The event will be outdoors at a Veterans Park Memorial. The scouts will be carrying the colors. The scoutmaster is prior service like myself and we both want to introduce some military protocol with the civilian scout commands. The mayor will be speaking at the event. Is it appropriate at an outdoor event prior to posting the colors for the scoutmaster to report ‘The Colors are Present’ to the mayor since she is highest ranking? Or is it more appropriate to present the colors to the audience, present arms, National Anthem is played, colors are posted? Similarly, before the colors are retired is it appropriate outdoors to request permission to retire the colors?


    1. Post

      Hello Dimitra,

      Great questions! What you are talking about is an Army procedure of reporting to the commander at a dining-in (for instance). The commander would know exactly what to do and say. Since you are dealing with a civilian for your ceremony, the mayor, I would suggest not introducing something that is accomplished in a military setting.
      On a similar note, I truly appreciate the scoutmaster and you wanting the scouts to be more aware of colors standards!
      One last suggestion – have a set of flags already posted and the scouts present a second set colors and march out. What we in the ceremonial drill world call a Show-n-go. The reason being is that posting the colors is for more formal occasions and indoor settings. So, the sequence of events would look like this: announcement to stand, colors brought forward, salute, Anthem, back to Carry/Port, depart, continue with the ceremony.

      1. Drill Master,

        Thank you for your prompt and thorough response.
        I have one follow up question. I’m falling in on a program which always involved posting and retiring the colors and the program has been printed with this protocol. I never questioned it until I started to research the protocol since I am the MC. Even if we don’t execute a show-n-go is it proper to post and retire outdoors? I read in the FM that this protocol is reserved for indoors but can it still be executed outdoors? We also don’t have two sets of colors unless the scouts have a presentation set. The American, State and Township colors will be borrowed from the courthouse.


        1. Post

          Having the program already printed presents a challenge for you this year. Since you don’t have two sets of colors, you might have to follow the program, however here us an idea: pre-post the US, state, & township colors and then borrow another US and state (& township) from a local police or fire department, sheriff’s office, or even the local staties for the scouts.
          The presentation would be easily glossed over instead of having the scouts post. No problem there except for wording. The retirement of the colors (really only accomplished on *very* formal occasions- black tie/mess dress) could be substituted with the Pledge or skipped with an announcement like, “That concludes our Veterans Day ceremony, thank you for attending.” or something similar.

          1. Thank you very much. I think we can make that happen. The reference to retiring of the colors is at the very end In small font. There is no reference to posting in the program, only Presentation of the Colors. I could white out retiring of the colors if necessary. I’m having a meeting with the scout leader prior to our rehearsal next week where I expect to flush all this out. Thanks again. Your advise is very helpful. Dimitra

          2. Post
  28. At the beginning of a football game, a local group of Boy Scouts will be unfurling a large US flag on the field. What is proper protocol for color guard ? thank you

    1. Post

      LT Dao,

      Stand on the side where the bottom of the flag will be and present to that side of the stadium. The crowd on that side should see the large American flag opened so that the canyon is in the upper left corner.

  29. I was wondering I see the USAF Honor Guard shouldering their rifles on their outside shoulders. Where is that exactly written?

    1. Post
  30. In a parade, does a national veterans service organization colorguard, such as the VFW, have a higher precedence (order of unit line up) than a non-veteran color guard such as the Shriners?

    1. Post

      Great question. I would say yes, but a parade lineup doesn’t necessarily have precedence, although it can. The organizers can and do place entrants however they wish.

  31. RE: The Pledge and National Anthem DO NOT go together. It’s one or the other. DO not use both.
    Can you elaborate? What reference establishes this protocol or instruction to which, or all, Services?

    I’ve seen many ceremonies with the color guard presenting arms for the anthem, then port arms and wait for the pledge before retiring with the colors.

    1. Post

      I’ve seen several ceremonies where both happen as well, doesn’t make it right.

      Each set of service manuals (drill and ceremonies, protocol, and flag) explains when to dip the American flag, ceremonies are explained with reference to the Star Spangled Banner sung or played. We do not add to or take away from the protocols for these ceremonies and that includes recitation of the Pledge. We, in the military, do not have the Pledge as a part of any ceremony due to our oath.
      Too many people, wholly ignorant of service standards and traditional want to make things “specialer” or “ceremonialer” by adding their own selfish personal touch, making the ceremony about them.
      You won’t find the negative of what I have stated in a service manual, my statement is mix of the intent of several manuals.

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  33. I recently attended a funeral – the PGR provided honors…during the ceremony, the PGR Flag Line held the American Flag in the left hand and when “Present Arm’s” command was given, each and every flag holder followed the command and rendered the hand salute via their right hand. Is this a proper, rendering a hand salute while bearing the flag?

    1. Post

      Mr. Rudell,

      Saluting while holding the flag is not proper. Even though the people holding the flags are not part of a color guard complete with rifle guards, they are still color bearers and considered “armed” (the flagstaff is a modern modification of the ancient spear). When your hand is occupied with a flag, you do not salute. Most likely the majority of PGR members are former military and should know better.

    2. When standing a Flag Line at a funeral as an American Legion Rider, standing at attention with U.S.A flagstaff vertical in right hand, bottom of flagstaff on the ground to the right of foot and the VFW Honor Guard caller gives the command “present Arms”, should we raise our flag staff, or just stand there with no action?

      1. Post

        Mr. Murphy,

        Thank you for your question and continued support as an ALR.

        On the command, you and the other flag bearers would remain at Attention. I’m do glad that you are holding the flag properly in the right hand. Many, hold it in the left and render a hand salute, which is incorrect.

        While you and the others may want to do more, I can assure you that your presence at funerals is the “salute” that every patriot appreciates.

  34. Good Morning, we are having a July 4th parade are want to make sure we are doing things right. The Navy Color Guard will be front of the parade. When they arrive at the grand stand the national anthem will be sung by a young girl. When is the apporiate time to start singing?

    1. Post

      Hi Paul,
      At the appointed time of the parade start, the MC could say, Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the National Anthem.” At that point the commander of the color guard, the National Ensign bearer, should give a loud,” Present, ARMS!” and then the singing can begin.
      At the end of the music, the color guard commander can give “Order, ARMS!” and then “Forward, MARCH!” At that, the festivities begin!

  35. Drill master,
    I just posted colors for an event there was four of us we had two rifles the American flag bearer and the Washington State flag bearer. When we posted flags into their stands I was under the understanding that when they seated the flags then dress them that they took one step back and the person with the American flag was the only one to render a salute and then they both marched off what is the procedure for this and?

    1. Post
      1. When posting flags what is the proper location of the American flag, does the American flag get posted by it self and all others to the opposite side of the speaker

        1. Post
  36. What is your experience when it comes to presenting colors for an event and one of the members is a no-show or is dropped last second due to an injury. What would you do if there is no backup and it is go time? I would think go with no secondary flag and present colors with the national flag bearer and two guards??? Or would it be a situation you just do not perform and inform the event coordinator we can’t perform the event?

    1. Post

      Hi Carlos,
      If you have two guards and an American flag bearer, you are good to go. It’s not usual, but three is the minimum and quite appropriate for military, first responders, explorers, and cadet organization color guards.

  37. our flag should always have guards alongside even not armed but with axes and or just personnell alongside her

    1. Post

      Mr. Farrington,

      It all depends on the unit. Military color guards are required to be armed with rifles except in a chapel, then they are uncovered and unarmed. Church-based color guards do not have armed guards. Firefighters use the ceremonial fire axe or a rifle, depending on their location/tradition. I’ll be writing an article soon about this.

  38. Current situation,

    Have a scout group carrying a folded national standard for hoisting at the beginning of a Memorial Day service…

    Service flags in procession to follow for posting in stands around fixed pole.

    Was considering the following order of events

    BS Unit hoists Colors
    GS Unit leads pledge
    National Anthem (now contraindicated by your page information)

    Would it be appropriate to have BS hoist while playing “To the Colors” then GS lead pledge?

    1. Post
  39. For US Army ceremonies (Relief in Place/Transfer of Authority) should a pre-posted National Color be displayed if the ceremony has a Color Guard “posting” another set of colors?

    1. Post

      Hello sir,

      The color guard can enter and formally present the colors and then depart while a set of colors is pre-posted for the ceremony. If the team is actually going to post the colors, no other flags should be in the stands. I hope that helps. If not, I’ll email you or we can talk on the phone.

  40. Preface: I am not military or Law Enforcement. Just looking for some advice so we do the right thing in parades and ceremonies.
    I belong to a Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (an Irish/Catholic benevolent Order). When we march, we can carry up to six flags and to pikes. We always put the American flag in the proper place of honor, on its own right. However, there always seems to be confusion on where to place the remaining flags. They are as follows: Current Irish flag (tri-color), Old Irish flag (green field with gold harp), Catholic flag, NY State flag, and the Irish provincial flag (represents the four ancient provinces of Ireland). I know the pikes go on the outsides to “guard” the flags. In what order, starting from the American flag, should the rest be placed?

    Thank you

    1. Post

      Hello Patrick,

      What a great question! Here’s my take on the order (and the reason why):

      1. Right guard
      2. American (on American soil)
      3. Current Irish (foreign national)
      4. NY state (states come after national)
      5. Catholic (organizational flag)
      6. Old Irish (previous foreign national not officially used)
      7. Irish Provincial (ancient foreign national not officially used)
      8. Left guard

      I hope this helps.

      1. Thank you very much. That is most helpful! Ignore the email I sent you. It was just incase this was not the appropriate place for this question.

  41. Hello and thank you for this informative article. Question: is it appropriate to post the colors while wearing a bowtie? Uniform for upcoming ROTC ball requires the bowtie but I have seen elsewhere that only the straight tie would be appropriate for the posting/retiring of colors. Thanks for your help.

    1. Post

      Great question! Simple answer: No. The color guard is dressed in the service dress/Class A or a ceremonial-type of uniform. What you are describing is a mess dress uniform and that is not authorized to be worn for presenting the colors. Mess dress does not include a cover (hat) and a color guard is covered (wears hats) in all situations except inside a chapel.

  42. My JROTC Color Guard has been requested to present/post the Colors at an affair. The host wants us to post the Puerto Rican Flag as well. I’ve never seen this done before. How do we go about it?

    1. Post

      If your JROTC is Army or Air Force, the PR flag is included in the formation and posted with the other colors.
      If your JROTC is Marine Corps, Navy, or Coast Guard, you form another three-man color guard for the PR flag with two guards. The PR and other US territory flags are considered foreign national flags when it comes to flag protocol.
      Don’t forget your departmental/JROTC flag as well.
      My recommendation is, if it is an informal occasion, have a full set of colors preposted and come in to formally present the colors and depart. If you cannot do that, post what you have.

  43. Is it appropriate to have a ceremonial rifle as part of the honor guard in a church? I think weapons are not appropriate in churches.

    1. Post
  44. color members with weapons, is there any requirement to have them on opposite shoulders when marching? one member is at right-shoulder arms, the other is left shoulder arms.

    1. Post

      It depends on which service manual you follow. Army has both guards at Right Shoulder. All other services and United States Certified Ceremonial Guardsmen place rifles or axes on the outside/outboard shoulder.

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