All About The Flag

DrillMaster Ask DrillMaster, Honor Guard, Instructional Leave a Comment

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 Flag

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


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 do not have fringe on the National Ensign.

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

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

Now we come to the ceremonial requirement for (pictured below). Except for American-only colors formations, none of the national flags carried by the honor guards in DC have fringe because some other countries don’t allow fringe on their flags or have fringe that looks like shag carpet. International agreements dictated that, in situations like this, all national flags will not have fringe (UN & NATO). In international situations here in the US, no fringe on any national flag, regardless of the service.

Joint Cordon Arrival Ceremony (No fringe on the national flags)

Color Guard Flag Sizes

  • US flags: 3’ x 4’, 3’ x 5’, 4’4” x 5’6”
  • Departmental flags: 3’ x 5’ and 4’4″ x 5’6″
  • Military 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 13 B)

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 of Colonial Flag receives from 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)

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).

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.

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!

Leave a Reply