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Public Affairs Guidance for the wearing of the reverse-side full-color U.S. flag cloth for the Utility Uniforms

1. REFERENCES. ALARACT Message 018/2004

2. PURPOSE. To provide guidance to public affairs officers in preparation for questions about the addition of the US flag on Battle Dress Uniforms.

3. BACKGROUND. On February 11, 2004, Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen Schoomaker approved implementation of the addition of the reverse-side full-color U.S. flag for utility uniforms.

The nation is at war and will be for the foreseeable future as an expeditionary Army, our Soldiers’ commitment to fight and win our nation’s wars, whether at home or abroad, is best exemplified by permanently wearing the U.S. flag insignia on the utility uniforms. Additionally, wearing the U.S. flag insignia permanently also reduces the impact of sewing and removing the U.S. flag insignia on uniforms.

4. PUBLIC AFFAIRS POSTURE. Internally, public affairs posture is active. Soldiers and their families need accurate and timely information on how they will be impacted by this change. Utilize ARNEWS, and Soldiers and Army Times to publicize the message.

Externally, PAOs should respond to query.



An Army at war serving a nation at war.
We are an Army transforming to an expeditionary mindset.

We are at war and will be for the foreseeable future.


Q1. What is the reimbursement policy for this change?
A1. Soldiers should wait until the insignia is provided to them. The U.S. Flag insignia procurement and attachment on BDUs and cold weather coat for enlisted Soldiers will be at government expense, using OMA funds. The U.S. Flag insignia procurement and attachment on BDUs and cold weather coat for commissioned and warrant officers will be at the expense of the individual. The U.S. Flag insignia procurement and attachment on Desert BDU, maternity BDU, Aircrew Battle Dress Uniform, and the Combat Vehicle Crewman Uniform and jacket, cold weather for enlisted Soldiers and officers will be at government expense, using OMA funds based on CTA-50-900 allocations.

Q2. Is this uniform policy for Reserves and National Guard Soldiers also?
A2. Yes. The new policy applies to all Soldiers (Regular Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve)

Q3. Why are we using a full color flag instead of a subdued flag?
A3. Chapter 1, Title 4, United States Code, provides for the design of the U.S. flag and specifies the colors as red, white, and blue. Colors other than red, white, and blue violate the U.S. Code; therefore, subdued-colored U.S. Flag insignias are not authorized for wear.

Q4. What are the wearing instructions?
A4. Soldiers will be required to wear the U.S. Flag insignia on the following utility uniforms: BDU, Desert BDU, maternity BDU, Cold Weather Coat (Field Jacket), Aircrew BDU, and the Combat Vehicle Crewman Uniform. Soldiers will wear the U.S. Flag insignia sewn 1/2 inch below the right shoulder seam of the utility uniform. When the Shoulder Sleeve insignia- Former Wartime Service (SSI-FWTS) is worn on the right shoulder of the utility uniform, the U.S. Flag insignia is placed 1/8 inch below the SSI-FWTS.

Q5. This does not apply to the Gortex parka, correct?
A5. That’s correct, it will be sewn onto the Field Jacket, not the Gortex parka.

Q6. The flag is facing backwards. Why is that?
A6. The appropriate replica for the right shoulder sleeve is identified as the reverse side flag. The full-color, U.S. Flag insignia is worn so that the star field faces forward, or to the flag’s own left. When worn in this manner, the flag is facing to the observer’s right, and gives the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward.

Q7. What size is the flag?
A7. The size of the U.S. Flag insignia is approximately 2 inches by 3 inches.

Q8. When does this policy take effect?
A8. The new policy is in effect upon the commanders’ ability to procure the insignias and allocate funds, and the operational tempo due to upcoming deployments; however, mandatory wear date of the U.S. Flag insignia on the uniforms listed above is NLT 1 Oct 05.

Q9. The effective date for this policy to be fully implemented is 1 October 05. Why so late?
A9. The Mandatory Possession Date has been established as 1 Oct 05 in an effort to provide manufacturers adequate time to produce and distribute the insignia and meet the demand, and to allow for those units in OIF2 and OEF 4/5 to transition after they return from the AOR.

Q10. What is the primary reason for putting the flag on the uniform?
A10. The requirement is based on the expeditionary nature of today’s Army, and to reduce the impact of sewing and removing the U.S. flag insignia on uniforms. Additionally, the basis for this change is to reinforce that we are still a nation at war, fighting the Global War on Terrorism and will be for the foreseeable future.

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