Of Flags and Sharp Objects

DrillMasterAsk DrillMaster, Commentary, Honor Guard, Instructional 2 Comments

Colors with Bayonets
Colors with Bayonets

Please read All About The Color Guard for complete information on this subject.

Can a color team use rifles with bayonets or even use swords or sabers?

As the title suggests, flags and sharp objects do not go well together! Never ever, ever, ever put bayonets on rifles or march swords/sabers for a color team!

When a color catches the tip and the wind drags the color across so there is either a nice big rip, run, snag or pulled thread(s) that ruins the color, don’t you dare complain.

There is a reason why rifles with fixed bayonets or swords/sabers are not in pictures in any of the service drill and ceremonies manuals. The color guard pictures only only what is authorized. Period.

Somewhere in my office here in my house I have a picture of me on the Davis-Monthan Base Honor guard back in the early 90s. The picture is of the color team I am on presenting the colors for Arizona Senator John McCain when he visited the base. The Senator and Base commander are in the background and the color team is at the front of the photo with the wind blowing the colors back. Neat photo. Until you see that we were actually dumb enough to have bayonets on our 1903s. Now, it’s a little embarrassing, but we didn’t realize back then and had no guidance.

No bayonets. Swords are authorized for certain teams.

Comments 2

  1. I have a quick question. When a flag officer’s personal flag is carried in a parade (e.g., two-star flag), and the general is marching, I assume the flag is carried immediately behind him and one pace to the right. Is this a correct assumption?

    1. Post

      Mr. Melhuish,

      PCs are carried for formal military ceremonies. A pass-in-review (military parade) has the General Officer (GO) on the reviewing stand and not marching in the parade, so the bearer is at the rear of the stand. The same for a reception line, the bearer is at the rear of the line. A street parade is different as it’s not military in nature. The GO should not expect his/her color to be carried.


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