Official and Unofficial USAF Flags

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As much as it may cause discomfort for some readers, facts outweigh feelings. I updated the #NotTheUSAFFlag tag on Instagram to include a couple more posts of mine. I do not mind being respectfully challenged, sometimes it’s the only way we get to learn. But the research I accomplished this morning has only solidified my stance.

I Chinese Communist Party Plot?

Within about an hour’s worth of research and I noticed a couple more of my Instagram posts of color guards that I didn’t recognize as carrying the Chinese knockoff novelty flag.

USAF Seal flag

Above is the official US Air Force seal on a flag, which is not an authorized flag. This is what is called a novelty flag. A novelty flag would be one for your favorite sports team, a corporation, or even a school.

Even the Thin Line series of flags that have the image of the American flag in black and white with a colored line or lines to identify military, law enforcement and more, looks like they are inappropriately using the stars and stripes (I’ll agree with that). However, technically, since there are no red stripes and no blue canton, it’s not infringing on the Flag Code and is just another novelty flag.

USAF Emblem flag

Novelty flags are everywhere and sometimes it’s difficult to tell what is official and what is not. The flag above uses the US Air Force Emblem and is approved by USAF Public Affairs for use when use of the USAF Seal is not authorized. Only the Emblem may be used for public/commercial use and requires an official license agreement.

Covering All Bases

Let’s make sure we identify everything necessary here. You may see flags with the following images, they also are novelty flags and not authorized for color guards to carry.

The USAF Symbol
The USAF Signature

Before we Finish…

I wanted to just briefly touch on our newest service, the US Space Force.

Below, is the official US Space Force departmental flag when it was presented to then President Trump. This is the only authorized Space Force flag and must have silver-colored fringe. Note: going into 2022, there is a shortage of silver fringe and some USSF flags will have white fringe. No other flag is authorized to be carried in military color guards.

This is the US Space Force logo:

US Space Force logo

For more information, contact:

Air & Space Forces Intellectual Property Management Office
Air Force Public Affairs Agency
555 E Street East
Bldg T-581
JBSA-Randolph, TX 78150

Governing directives for the information in this article: 10 U.S.C. § 2260, 15 U.S.C. § 167; 1114-1125, DODI 5535.12 and DAFI 35-114, Air Force Branding and Trademark Licensing Program, and DOD Guidelines about the use of DOD Seals, Logos, Insignia, and Service Medals. All of these links are available here.

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