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Flag Order of Precedence

Posted by Sgt Grit Staff

Order of precedence when displaying miltitary flags together

In addition to belonging to the Marine Corps League, I also belong to an American Legion Post. Recently, our post purchased service flags to be displayed in the post home. I keep telling the former Navy members that the Marine Corps flag is displayed after the Army flag but before the Navy Flag. They have yet to get it through their head even after I have shown them a joint color guard with the Marine Corps flag after the Army and before the Navy, So I am taking this document to the next post meeting. DOD Directive 1005.8 spells it out and I have included some official scoop for all who read this column as this is a very very common mistake which is created in a lot of veteran organization homes:

Order of Precedence for Flag Display

The order of precedence for flags is 1) National, 2) State, 3) Military (in order of creation date), and 4) Other.

The United Nations uses alphabetical order in its presentation of national flags so that no one country has precedence over another.

According to the Military District of Washington, Ceremonies and Special Events Office, Army Regulation #840-10 mandates that state flags should be displayed according to the date that each state was admitted to the union.

According to the Department of Defense Directive 1005.8, the prescribed precedence of military flags is determined by service birthdays. The appropriate order is given below:

Army Birthday --14 June 1775
Marine Corps Birthday ? 10 November 1775
Navy Birthday ? 13 Oct 1775-Abolished Feb 1781-Reinstated 7 Sep 1781
Air Force Birthday ? 18 September 1947
*Coast Guard Birthday ? 4 August 1790

*According to the Institute of Heraldry, and in keeping with the order in which troops are listed in Department of Defense Directive 1005.8, during peacetime the Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security. During wartime, if the Coast Guard comes under the control of the Department of Defense, then the Coast Guard flag would come before the Air Force flag in order of precedence.

The Merchant Marine, Vietnam Veterans, and POW/MIA flags can be displayed following the military flags. There is some latitude in the order of display regarding these three flags. Our government has not officially recognized the Merchant Marines as being a branch of the military (its members are often not given veteran's status), but we feel it is appropriate to honor them as a military branch and thus have placed their flag at the end of the military branches.

The Vietnam Veterans and POW/MIA flags could be reversed in their order if so desired. We felt it appropriate to place the flag for the living veterans (who are here to see the honor so accorded them) before the flag for those not presently in our midst. You can use your discretion here.

Monte Railsback
MSgt, USMC (Ret)
1956-1977

Comments

  1. William Worrell May 30 2012, 5:04 pm

    So where & what order are fraternal veterans orgations flags
    (i.e.  American Legion, VFW, MCL, VVA, DAV, etc…)

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