Posting Other Organization’s Colors

DrillMasterColor Guard/Color Team, Honor Guard, Instructional 2 Comments

You may have come across this situation: You receive a call from a local organization asking for your color guard to post the colors at an event. What throws a bit of a wrench into the request is that the event coordinator wants you to post their colors. They have flags and stands and have dreamed up a big production with your team bringing in their colors.


Possible Scenarios

  1. Your team arrives, goes to practice with the organization’s flags and you find that besides the American and state flags, there is a unique flag of the organization and maybe even a religious flag.
  2. You find flags that have lived in the corners of an auditorium and the last time they were touched was June 29th, 1973. They are full of dust and have permanent creases from hanging there so long.
  3. The flags won’t come out of the stands.
  4. There are eight flags displayed in stands, but you are asked to post two or three. Plus, you don’t have the manpower to post all of them anyway.

Avoid Those Scenarios!

US military and cadet color guards cannot carry ANY OTHER FLAGS except what is outlined in your regs. In general that means only the US, (state, city, county – Army and USAF only), and military departmental and organizational flags. The purple heart group’s flag or the POW flag, anything like that, you cannot carry. These flags are not authorized in a military color guard.

For First responder color guards, I would use the exact same restrictions. You wear a uniform, represent that civil service, and nothing else.

But How?

The “Show-N-Go”.

  1. Arrive at least one hour before the ceremony in travel/fall out uniform.
  2. Leave the organization’s flags posted where they are.
  3. Bring your set of colors.
  4. Practice several times and ensure event organizer knows exactly what you are doing.
    1. Event Organizers: the color guard will do their best to accommodate you, but they have strict guidelines and they will not deviate from them. As far as the event is concerned, the color guard commander is your color guard protocol expert and his decision is final.
  5. Break from practice with enough time to change into your appropriate uniform.
  6. At ten minutes prior to the event, setup at Stand at Ease/Parade Rest out of the way of the audience.
  7. At the appointed time the MC says something like, “Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the presentation of the colors.”
  8. The color team enters at Right Shoulder/Carry, centers on and turns to the audience.
    1. Entering from stage right: Every Left On.
    2. Entering from stage left or executing the snake-in from the center aisle: Colors Turn On or Left Face.
  9. Formally present the colors for the National Anthem (military colors do not dip for the Pledge).
    1. Event Organizers: Either the Anthem or the Pledge, not both.
    2. Play/sing the Anthem or recite the Pledge only after the color guard commander has given the command of Present Arms.
  10. Go to the Port position to depart (do not leave at Right Shoulder/Carry as your flags are not longer the focus).
    1. If exiting to stage right: Colors Turn Off or Right Face.
    2. If exiting to stage left or up the center aisle: Every Left Off.
  11. Pack up and change into travel/fall out uniform.
  12. Receive accolades.
  13. Depart for home.

Posting colors should be reserved for very special occasions. Retrieving the colors should be for extremely formal occasions only. Once you post the colors for a volleyball game, posting has lost its significance even though there’s nothing wrong with a volleyball game. Just present the colors, don’t post.

Formally presenting a second set of colors should be your team’s standard for the majority of colors details requests you receive.

How Many?

We will use two categories for posting the colors. Above, we fully developed External Posting except for the number of colors to post. External would be for an organization outside of yours.

  • Army and Air Force can post up to four flags: US, state/city/county, and departmental.
  • Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard can post two flags only: National ensign and departmental/organizational.
  • First Responders usually post US, state, and city/county.

Internal Posting would be for your organization with few, if any, outsiders.

  • Army and Air Force can post up to four flags: US, state/city/county, departmental, and organizational.
  • Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard can post two flags only: National ensign and departmental/organizational.
  • First Responders usually post US, state, city/county, and the department’s flag.

A note on posting: Bringing in two flags (for example) with other flags already posted is not the best situation. It’s not unheard of, but not the best thing to do. However, there is one caveat to this: Personal colors, General’s/Admiral’s and Senior Executive Office flags, are not carried and posted.

Comments 2

  1. I have a question and have looked through every Reg I can think of. The State is holding a Bi-Centennial parade and would like to have a joint color guard with Active Army, National Guard and the Civil Air Patrol carrying their flag. Can this group be mixed in this way?

    1. Post

      Ms. Mitchell,

      Nothing prohibits cadet organizations from marching with Active Duty, National Guard, or Reserve color bearers, however, all military drill and ceremonies and protocol manuals state specifically what is authorized and that is only members of the US military. I would not mix.

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