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Military flag code manuals—and more

dkh_06In the course of my research about flags, I frequently use the flag manuals from the Armed Services—Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. You might find them useful too.


U.S. Air Force flag manual
(91 pages PDF)

U.S. Marine Corps flag manual (71 pages PDF)

U.S. Army flag manual (82 pages PDF)

U.S. Navy flag manual (106 pages PDF).

U.S. Coast Guard uses the Navy’s NTP 13 (B) with this additional material.

Nautical flag etiquette and protocol for civilians is addressed by the U.S. Power Squadrons, and may be found in detail here. Maritime or nautical etiquette can be quite different from ordinary civilian flag code, so this is so interesting for those of us who are land-locked.

If I have made any egregious errors with this material, don’t fuss and fume about it, but please, drop me a note.

3 thoughts on “Military flag code manuals—and more

  1. […] Military flag code manuals—and moreIn the course of my research about flags, I frequently use the flag manuals from the Armed Services—Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. You might find them useful too. US Air Force flag manual (91 pages PDF) … […]

  2. Hey ,
    I am a cadet in Civil Air Patrol, I was wondering if their is a published rule that alll uniformed persons, must fold the flag after reveille.
    [ the full story is my squadron deputy commander and I had an arguement on wither or not the flag should be allowed to be crumbled, I said it should not be.
    Let me know ASAP!

    THANKs!

    1. Dear Ms. Dean—No, there is not a published rule that says all uniformed persons must fold the flag after reveille. I assumed you mean when the flag is lowered and removed from the flagpole, to be stored until the next day. The various branches of the military may have specific rules for handling the flag, but the Civil Air Patrol is a 501(c)(3) chartered organization, and unless it has its own rules for handling the flag, then it would default to the U.S. Flag Code, linked here. And no where in the U.S. Flag Code are we instructed on how to fold the flag.

      I am not sure what you mean by “crumpled.” When the flag comes down the pole, unless there are at least two people there to catch it, it’s very hard to remove the flag from the rope without letting it crumple into your arms and chest. This is ok. Otherwise it could touch the ground. It can then be draped or folded over the forearm and carried inside to be stored.

      Certainly it is permissible to fold the flag into a simple square for storing it, since it takes a minimum of two people to perform the traditional 13 tri-cornered fold. I have seven assorted flags at my home, and I store them in my hallway by hanging them on sturdy hooks, mounted on the walls. All the flags are 3x5s, and I have the hooks installed precisely the right distance apart for the flags to smoothly hang down from the hoist side (and high enough so the flags do not touch the floor). It is a practical and safe way for me to store my flags, and very easy for me to take one down and lay it over my arm so I can take it out to the pole.

      I encourage you to print out your own copy of the Flag Code that I linked to. This official version will print out to about 20 pages, and is complete in that it contains all the citations and amendments. It is a wonderful historical document and fascinating to read. And then you will know exactly what the law says (and just as important—what is does not say). In addition, here is a link to the portion of the U.S. Code that applies to the National Anthem. It is not in the same section as the “Flag Code,” so the rules for it are frequently misunderstood or overlooked.

      I hope this helps. Thank you for writing, and you are welcome to telephone me if you have more questions.

      Best Wishes,
      Deborah Hendrick
      830-899-4464
      Deborah Hendrick

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