All About The Flag and Color

DrillMasterAsk DrillMaster, Honor Guard, Instructional 2 Comments

This article used to be All About Flag Sizes that I wrote back in 2013 but I felt it needed expanding.


The Outside Flag

  • Garrison: 20′ x 38′
  • Post flag: 8′ 11 3/8″ x 17′ (Army) and 10′ x 19′ (MC/N/CG)
  • Field flag: 6’8″ x 12′ (Army)
  • Storm flag: 5′ x 9’6″ (Army) and 5′ x 9′ (MC/N/CG)
  • Internment flag: 5′ x 9’6″ (use cotton only!)
  • boat flag: 3′ x 4′ (3′ x 5′)
  • Ensign: 2′ 4 7/16″ x 4’6″

The Indoor-Outdoor Color

  • Indoor-Outdoor/ceremonial display (pole hem, with or without fringe): 3′ x 4′ and 4’4″ x 5’6″


See also: To Fringe or Not to Fringe, That is the Question and Flag, Fringe, and Finial Theory.

A flag does not have fringe when it is flown from a stationary (at right) or mounted pole (just below). These are outside flags and are never fringed.

an_outrigger_pole_set flagpolefarm-com

A flag for a color guard has fringe and is what a color team carries and presents or posts. The Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard forbid fringe on the National Ensign, but all departmental and organizational flags must have gold-colored fringe.

Joint Color Guard with Indoor-Outdoor Flags (pole hems)

The Army and Air Force require gold-colored fringe on all flags. The Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard forbid fringe on the national but require fringe on the departmental and organizational.

The Space Force departmental, organizational, and general officer flags must have silver-colored fringe. This is mandatory and you must request it from the flag company.

Color Guard Flag Sizes

  • US flags: 3’ x 4’, (3’ x 5’ is not used in the military), 4’4” x 5’6”
  • Army, AF, & SF departmental flags: 3’ x 4’ and 4’4″ x 5’6″
  • MC, Navy, and CG departmental flags: 4’4″ x 5’6″
  • Organizational flags: 3’ x 4’
  • General/Admiral flags: 3’ x 4’ and 3’ x 5’
  • JROTC organizational flags: 3’ x 4’
  • Civil Air Patrol flags: 3′ x 4′ or 3′ x 5′ 8 3/8″ (CAPR900-2 Section B)
  • Young marines: 3′ x 4′ or 4’4” x 5’6” (MCO 10520.3)
  • Sea Cadets: 3′ x 4′ or 4’4” x 5’6” (NTP 13B)

Flag and Staff Sizes

Mount and carry the smaller flags on eight-foot flagstaffs and the larger flags sizes on nine-foot six-inch flagstaffs. These are the only two sizes used by a military or military-type color teams, except the Air Force.

The USAF had the 10′ staff as the taller one, but a recent change in AFI 34-1201 has 9′ for the taller size. When posting colors, the AF recommends the 7′ staff (this size of staff is not authorized for any other colors situation at all, period. It is ONLY for posting.).

The 10′ staff is only for the Presidential colors. The Army uses 8′ and 9.5′ staffs. The Air Force and Space Force should be using the same. The Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard may only use the 9.5′ staff and the larger flag.

Note: The US Army does not have a size restriction for staffs and flags. You will often see an Army color guard carrying the 9.5′ staff with 3′ x 4′ flags mounted. I think it looks a bit odd, but the flag material stays out of the team’s faces.

State Flags

US Army Regulation 840-10, Section 7-11 states that state flags shall be 3′ x 4′ or 4’4″ x 5’6″. However, one question that DeVaughn Simper, vexillologist at Colonial Flag, receives from the National Guard is: which guidance do they follow? the AR or the State statute?” He refers them to their chain of command since that decision is usually handled by the state Adjutant General.

  • Each state has a different statute as to the legal size of the flag.
  • Utah: 3 ‘x 5’
  • New York: 3′ x 6′ (1:2 ratio)
  • Rhode Island: 3′ x 3.5′ (1:1.3 ratio)
  • Connecticut: 3′ x 3.8′ (1:1.3 ratio)

There’s More

Now read up on All About the Color Guard Nomenclature of the American Flag, All About the Flagstaff, Flagstaff Ornaments, The Only Time the Spread Eagle is Used, How to Properly Mount a Flag on a Flagstaff, To Fringe or not to Fringe, that is the Question

A BIG thank you to DeVaughn Simper of Colonial Flag for helping with the flag size information!

Comments 2

  1. Hello!

    I am the Public Affairs Director at the Veterans Home in Minneapolis. We are in the process of updating all our flags sets by adding in the Space Force. I have a question regarding finials. What should be the correct finial for the Space Force? Should it be the same as the Air Force?

    Also should a complete flag set have different finials or should they all be spears except the US flag which should be an eagle? I have been digging the internet trying to find the answer but all the resources I am finding are older than the Space Force.

    Any light you can shed on this would be fantastic!

    1. Post

      Ms. Garrison,

      Great questions.

      All flags in the same display must be mounted on the same staffs (ash wood guidon staffs at 9’6″ or 8′) be of the same dimensions (4’4″x5’6″ or 3’x4′) with the same flat, silver spade finial. The stands should be the Military Floor stand sold by Glendale Parade Store. However, I understand that what I have just written can get expensive. The alternative for the staffs is the brown wood and for the stands, the low-profile silver stands all available through Glendale.

      The American flag has the same requirements as the military flags.

      I can go much further into standards that would be quite a long explanation but this is what matters to your specific situation right now. Please let me know if you want more info to have on hand when someone questions your display and I will send you an email.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *