US Troops Wearing Their Flag Backwards

This is something that I've been trying to figure out for a while now. How come U.S. troops wear the flag backwards on their right arm?

-Cheers, Gremlin
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.

Google - US flag backwards-result. Not hard mate, top entry on google
Good, but I thought that I remembered the Yanks having patches on both arms, so I also Googled. And came up with this:

The Army has two authorized flag patches, one to be
worn on the left shoulder, with the canton facing left, and
another “reverse field” patch worn on the right shoulder, with
the canton facing right. The two different orientations are
mandated because Army regulations call for the flag “to be
worn so that to observers, it looks as if the flag is flying against
a breeze. for Apr-Jun 04/Burgess.pdf

The reason's the same, though.
I have never seen a left-shoulder US flag.

It's not a policy unique to the Army, however. For example, the flag painted on the starboard side of a US airliner is reversed as well, for the same reason.

A septic aviator mate of mine gave me the following answer when I asked the same question;

"The Stars always go before the stripes".

Seems it would be disrespectful to have it the 'right' way round on the opposing arm so they are flown in reverse so the stars are always at the front. Suppose its a similar think to us flying the Union Flag the right way up (which very few seem to know.....but most Orderly Cpls learn very quickly....especially once the RSM walks past it. ;) )
Luckely we don't have to go through all that shite..


Cloggie said:
Luckely we don't have to go through all that shite..

Who says the Dutch are crazy? Quite logical I think!


Not just the US that does this.


From Slate
Soldiers and Their Backward Flags
By Brendan I. Koerner
Updated Tuesday, March 18, 2003, at 6:46 PM ET

Many sharp-eyed civilians have noted an apparent oddity on the uniform sleeves of American soldiers: backward flag patches. Why is Old Glory flipped around like that?

Only the flag patches affixed to right shoulders of uniforms are reversed, so the blue field of stars faces forward. (Left shoulder patches aren't a problem, as the stars face forward without meddling.) The reversal was inspired by the age-old practice of carrying flags into battle. When fastened to a standard, the American flag's blue-and-white portion is always closest to the pole. A flag bearer rushing into the fray, then, would naturally lead with the stars. In fact, it would be virtually impossible to lead with the stripes—the flag would simply wilt and wrap around the pole, rather than waving triumphantly in the wind.

For a soldier to lead with shoulder-borne stripes, then, might smack of cowardice and retreat, as if the toter were backpedaling away from the conflict. The official Army guidelines on the donning of flag patches add that the forward-facing stars give "the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward." So perhaps it's best to think of every soldier as a latter-day flag bearer, leading the headlong charge into battle.

It should also be noted that military flag patches are often trimmed with gold borders. This is in imitation of the gold-fringed flag, also known as the U.S. military flag. According to an executive order signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1959, the gold-fringed flag (and, by extension, patch-sized replicas) are to be used exclusively by the armed forces. That order isn't always obeyed, however; many federal courtrooms now feature gold-fringed flags, despite the fact that they should only appear during courts-martial.
For those special occasions when the falg is worn on both sides, both standard and reversed flags are available, along with muted, IR reflective and various other configurations.

The current US Army field uniform uses velcro to attach the flag so a standard Red White and Blue flag can be worn in barracks and easily replaced with a tactical version as appropriate in the field.

Note that US forces also wear their formation patch on the left sleeve with the right sleeve (below the flag) being reserved for the patch of a unit with which they have previously served on operations.

No patch on Right hand sleeve = no combat/operational experience and is rare these days except for new recruits and senior war-dodgers.
How come our Union Jacks arent Subdued then??? Or is it the Yanks doin their weird things again?
cos they have fecking huge flags and we only have little ones.
Gremlin0790 said:
This is something that I've been trying to figure out for a while now. How come U.S. troops wear the flag backwards on their right arm?

-Cheers, Gremlin
That's not unusual as most people don't know the right way up to fly our Union Flag. I have even seen it flown upside down on military buildings. I went to Normandy a few years ago and did the D Day beaches ( I reckoned it was safe enough by now) and the place is full of the flags of the allies. I must have seen over 100 Union Flags and only one was the wrong way up. So if the French, or at least the Normans can fly our flag the right way up, why can't a lot of Brits?

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