Flag Sliding Down Staff

How to Avoid a Color Guard Disaster

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Flag Slipping Down Staff
National ensign sliding down staff with wrong USN flag

For honor guard units, drill teams and color guards. I could make this article very short and just write: Check your equipment before every use. It’s that simple. The best thing to do is constant maintenance on your equipment and using two methods to secure the flag to the flagstaff. It really is that simple, but you should also do a little more, just in case.

In the pictures you can see that the American flag slid down the flagstaff during a performance. A big mistake from which the cadets (pictured at top) recovered, thankfully. On the right, they had a more difficult time.

If you have an instance where there is an issue with the flag that can fixed by having one of the rifle guards take care of it, do so. Better to ensure the safety of the colors and team, than to hope the problem goes away. For more on this situation, read the article, “Guard, Fix the Flag”.

Prepare and Maintain

If you have not properly initially prepared your equipment and are not maintaining that equipment, you are begging for problems during a performance.

See also this article about creating Drill Buddies for your team.

And Just to be Sure

For every performance, take along a box of supplies. A tackle box is a good choice since it has all kinds of small compartments and a couple of large ones as well. Here is what to keep in it (not an exhaustive list, you decide what goes in yours to be best prepared).

  • Uniform buttons, a couple of each size
  • Safety pins, several of different sizes
  • Bobby pins, at least 10
  • Uniform and cover (hat) brass/insignia
  • Lint rollers
  • Several different uniform ribbons (it is probably not necessary to bring different devices)
  • One each size of gloves
  • Rifle sling
  • Sling hardware
  • Heel and sole dressing
  • Uniform trouser belt
  • Ceremonial belt
  • Black uniform socks
  • Small screw drivers
  • Jeweler’s screw driver set for glasses
  • Scissors
  • Fast-drying strong glue
  • A roll of duct tape
  • Portable sewing kit
  • Extra name tags
  • What else???

Make a list of items contained in the box and keep the list in the box. When anything is used, replace it immediately upon return to your unit. That way, you will never be without!

Semper Paratus

The motto of the Coast Guard. It means, always prepared.

See semper paratus
Know semper paratus
Be semper paratus

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