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Flags and Guidons of the U.S. Army


and Guidons of the
U.S. Army


Flags and Guidons


States Army flags traditionally have been
used for purposes of identification and
the fostering of esprit de corps. The
present policies stem from ideas and
practices dating back to the Revolutionary
War. In turn, those were influenced by the
military traditions of Western Europe to a
great extent. The English, French, Dutch,
Spanish, and others brought to North
America their flags, military uniforms and
other official symbolism. Leaders of the
colonists were familiar with military
traditions and those of England and
France, particularly.


With the Declaration of Independence and
the formation of troops, came the need for
items to identify the soldiers and
military units. On February 20, 1776,
Washington’s headquarters issued as
order on flags quoted, in part, below:


"As it is necessary that every
Regiment should be furnished Colours, and
that those Colours should…bear some kind
of similitude to the Uniform of the
regiment to which they belong, the
Colonels… may fix upon such as are
proper, the standard (or Regimental
Colours) and Colours for each Grand
Division, …The Number of the Regiment is
to be mark’d on the Colours, and such a
Motto, as the Colonel may choose, in
fixing upon which, the General advises a
Consultation amongst them. The Colonels
are to delay no time, in getting this
matter fix’d, that the Qr. Mr. Genl. May
provide the Colours as soon as


order emphasized the significance of
organizational colors to the Army by
directing expeditious design and
procurement; delegated responsibility for
design and procurement and prescribed
design pattern elements.


As late as 1779, the designs of regimental
and national colors to be carried by Army
organizations were the subject of
correspondence between Washington and
Richard Peters of the Board of War. From
that correspondence it is evident that the
Americans intended to follow the British
practice of using two different designs
for the National flag: one for the Naval
or Marine flat and the other for the
battle or Army flag. By 1780, the stars
and stripes design flag adopted by the
United States in 1777 was generally known
as the marine (maritime) flag used
extensively at sea; but no Army National
flag had been adopted prior to 1780.


The first Army National color was of blue
incorporating the design of an eagle
displayed (somewhat similar to that in the
coat of arms adopted for the United
States) and the name of the regiment. That
National color of the Army was carried
until 1841 when it became the regimental
color. From that blue flag evolved the
eagle on regimental and battalion flags
and, finally, on Major Army Command flags.


The precedents for the current United
States system of designing flags for units
was established during the Revolution.
From the policies established at that time
evolved the basis of future systems of
identification of units through the flags
displayed. There were many additions and
modifications in flags throughout the
years. The numerical strength and
organization of the Army changed;
different weapons were adopted; methods of
warfare were revised; materials and
methods of manufacture of fabrics were


Continuous recognition of the significance
of flags to the morale of members of the
Army resulted in the development of a
well-defined system of flags for
organizations at all echelons. In general,
flags incorporate design elements which
are identical to or relate to the insignia
worn by the members of the organization.


The following are examples of a few of the
authorized flags and guidons. Department
of the Army policy for unit and individual
flags, guidons and streamers are contained
in Army Regulation 840-10, Heraldic
Activities – Flags, Guidons, Streamers,
Tabards, and Automobile and Aircraft
Plates. Questions may be addressed at
(703) 806-4972 or DSN 656-4972.


Flags, Armies

Flags, Corps

Flags, Infantry Division




Flags, Separate Battalions



Flags, Regiments & Separate Battalions


& Separate Battalions



Separate Battalion Chemical

Separate TOE unit without Branch Insignia

of Separate Battalions –

TOE unit without


Companies of Battalions Special Forces

Separate Battalions Psychological Operations

of a Battalion of Regiments
Special Forces

Company of a Separate Battalion
Psychological Operations



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