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Air Force (U.S.)

Last modified: 2015-04-11 by rick wyatt
Keywords: united states | air force |
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[U.S. Air Force flag]    
[U.S. Air Force flag]
Indoor/Parade version
image by Miles Li, 17 March 2007
Outdoor version
image by Rick Wyatt, 6 September 1998


See also:


Flag Description

The U.S. Air Force flag used for indoor display, ceremonies and parades is like the flags of the other services, it is 4' 4" at the hoist by 5' 6" on the fly with 2 1/2" yellow fringe, and is always carried or displayed with streamers. The field of the flag is ultramarine blue; this is the Air Force's "branch color." When it was still part of the Army, the Air Force's branch colors were ultramarine blue and golden orange, and these colors are still used by Army Aviation.
Tom Gregg, 10 October 1998

The first organizational color known to have been used by the Marine Corps was white with an elaborate painted design depicting an eagle flying with an anchor in its talons, surrounded by an ornate gold framework and bearing the motto, "To the shores of Tripoli." Marines in the Mexican and Civil Wars carried battle flags similar to the national ensign, but with the blue union containing an eagle perched atop the national shield within a ring of stars, and with additional stars in an arc above the ring, the total equaling the number of states in the Union. In 1881, the Corps adopted a color of blue silk, 72 by 78 inches, with the eagle, globe, and anchor embroidered in gold and silver thread, surrounded by a wreath of green oak leaves.

The current design, scarlet with the corps badge in gray and yellow, was adopted in 1939, although Marine Corps Order 4 had established scarlet and gold and the official colors of the Corps as early as 1925. The battle color measures 52 by 66 inches and is trimmed on three sides with 2 1/2 inch golden yellow fringe. The official battle color of the Corps is maintained by Marine Barracks, Washington, DC, and carried on parade by the color sergeant of the Marine Corps. In addition to the battle streamers affixed to the top of the staff, the staff itself is covered with sterling silver bands engraved with the names of actions in which the Corps has been engaged. The staff is topped with a chrome-plated spearhead finial.

The use of flags in the Marine Corps is governed by Navy Regulations and MCO P10520.3B, Flag Manual.
Joe McMillan, 27 June 2002


The US Air Force has an official flag directive, rather irritatingly subsumed in the publication on protocol. It is chapter 2 of Air Force Instruction (AFI) 34-1201, dated 4 October 2006. The guys at NAVA have it available for viewing as a PDF at www.nava.org/Flag%20Information/articles/Flag%20protocol-US%20AF.pdf.  A couple of new flags I noticed: an AF chaplainís service flag (with new guidance on display of the faith-specific chapel flags) and one for Department of the Air Force members of the Senior Executive Service.
Joe McMillan, 5 January 2007


375th Tactical Fighter Squadron Guidon

[Air Force Guidon] image by Tom Gregg, 27 September 1998

USAF uses the same guidon style for all units: ultramarine blue with the unit designation in yellow. The badge is the crest from the USAF COA. TFS stands for "Tactical Fighter Squadron."
Tom Gregg,, 27 September 1998


Organizational flags

USAF organizations at group level and above are authorized an organizational flag if they have an approved emblem. (The USAF organizational scheme is flight-squadron-group-wing-air division-numbered air force-major command.) All emblems for groups and above are in the standard USAF shield-with-scroll format; they are also worn as patches on combat uniforms and flight suits. In most cases the scroll bears the unit designation, but occasionally the unit motto appears instead. The organizational flag is 3 feet on the hoist by 4 feet on the fly plus 2 1/2-inch yellow fringe. The emblem appears beneath the USAF crest and is surrounded by an arc of thirteen white stars. If authorized, campaign and unit decoration streamers are displayed with the flag.
Tom Gregg, 27 June 2002

First Fighter Wing organizational flag

[Organizational flag] image by Tom Gregg, 27 June 2002

The 1st FW descends from the 1st Pursuit Group of the US Army Air Corps, and its emblem is an adaptation of the previous Army-style coat of arms. The 1st FW is part of the active Air Force, flying F-15C fighters. Its assigned squadrons include the famous 94th--the "Hat in the Ring" squadron of WW I fame.
Tom Gregg, 27 June 2002


129th Rescue Wing organizational flag

[Organizational flag] image by Tom Gregg, 27 June 2002

Organizational Flag, 129th Rescue Wing. The 129th RW is a unit of the California Air National Guard. It has two flying squadrons, one with C-130 tanker aircraft and one with HH-60 rescue helicopters. It began life as a transport unit, later converting to the combat rescue role. The 129th regularly flies rescue missions in the US and overseas, and it is credited with saving nearly 300 lives.
Tom Gregg, 27 June 2002