I never knew....

Why is the U.S. flag worn "backwards" on the uniform?
Army Regulation 670-1 , Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia , is the governing authority for the wear of Army uniforms. Paragraph 28-18 governs the wear of the United States Flag on Army Uniforms.
The flag may only be worn on the utility and organizational uniforms (such as the camouflage BDU). The flag may only be worn during joint-duty and multinational deployments. When the servicemember returns to home station, the flag must be removed. (Guide Note: A message went out in February 2004 changing this restriction, and making the U.S. Flag a mandatory uniform componant for all soldiers, effective October 1, 2005
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 flags are not authorized for wear. Joint commanders have to make the decision as to whether or not the wear of a full-color flag, for morale purposes, is more important than having all aspects of the uniform camouflaged.
When approved for wear, the full-color U.S. flag cloth replica is sewn 1/2 inch below the right shoulder seam of the temperate, hot-weather, enhanced hot-weather, and desert BDU; the BDU field jacket; and the cold-weather uniform. The flag is worn on the right shoulder, because, in the military, the "place of honor" is to a military member's right.
The full-color U.S. flag cloth replica is worn so that the star field faces forward, or to the flag's own right. 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.
The rule dates back to the Army's early history, when both mounted cavalry and infantry units would designate a standard bearer, who carried the Colors into battle. As he charged, his forward momentum caused the flag to stream back. Since the Stars and Stripes are mounted with the canton closest to the pole, that section stayed to the right, while the stripes flew to the left.

Had noticed before, the flag on the shoulder, sometimes would look to be backwards, but didn't know why.


  • VH said....

    Thanks for posting this; great information.

  • Ada said....

    I forgot all about that, I was never in combat so never had to worry about waering the flag insignia other than my company/battalion badge, but it is good to know if I go back in.

  • Majik said....

    I never knew that about the flag on a uniform before. At least Canadians only have to worry about whether or not our flag is right side up.

  • Metallman said....

    Wow. Good stuff. I never knew that and never noticed it for that matter. But it's a great concept. The flag is worn that way to show that the soldier is moving forward. I love it.

  • Anonymous

    could it be the picture is in mirror view? if you flip the pic. back the flag looks fine. Very unlikely for this to be true. Also knowing on the back of the batch you won't see much of a flag, but a whole bunch of wires and stitches you can't really stitch it on backwards.My ques is that the pic. is wrong/mirrored and not the uniform itself.

  • chilly said....

    Oh it's very true. Just do a search on it and see for yourself. :)

    Hi and Thanks everyone for your comments. :)

  • Layne | Reward Rebel said....

    That is really fascinating, as even the possibility of there being such an explanation never would've occurred to me! I would've simply assumed the photo had been printed in reverse to how it was shot ('Anonymous' seems certain of this).

    Mind you, I did have to stop and check it isn't April 1st! :lol:

  • Margaret said....

    Never knew that fact! Thanks for adding to my eddification.

  • DeltaP said....

    The simple explanation is that the flag's canton must face forward. The rationale is also the same for aeroplanes. I only knew about it recently as well. :)

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  • Anonymous

    Wow - thanx for sharing! I just recently watched Stop-Loss and couldn't figure out why it was backwards.

    And, "now I know!"

    Happy Friday!

  • Karen Zemek, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said....

    That's interesting! I never even noticed the flag was backwards before.

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