Results 1 to 35 of 35

Thread: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Central MA
    Posts
    6,024

    Default You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    The title says it all...

    http://www.businessinsider.com/heres...niforms-2017-5


    Tim Marshall, the author of "Worth Dying for: The Power and Politics of Flags" explains why American flags are reversed on military uniforms. Following is a transcript of the video.

    A lot of people ask, "why is the US flag reversed when it's on an arm patch of a US military?" Just as the US flag dips to no man or king and you will see even at the Olympic ceremonies, the American flag is the only one that doesn't dip to the head of state of the host country. Because — it's not a mark of disrespect to them, it's a mark of respect to the American flag. And they take it so seriously that it must always face forward.

    Now, on a flag pole that puts the stars on the left-hand side next to the flag pole, that's the most prestigious position. On an arm patch, you are looking at it differently and when the soldier, or marine or whatever, marches forward, the US flag most face forward. It must not be seen to be in retreat. And so the stars are actually now on the right-hand side of their badge and so they face forward, just as it never retreats. It's always in its special position when it's flown on a car.

    You might think this is taking things to extremes but when you really get to the bottom of flags, they are about extremes of passion and extremes of belief. And the Americans take their flag very, very seriously.
    "The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.”
    -Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    19,686

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianY View Post
    . . .when you really get to the bottom of flags, they are about extremes of passion and extremes of belief. . .
    Rattling the teacups.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    40,619

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Posts
    23,180

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Yeah, I know that is the rationalization for the U.S. Flag patch being presented backward on modern military uniforms. It still looks stupid to me.

    Just as the new U.S. Army dress uniform looks like a stupid copy of an 19th century costume to me.
    .
    Last edited by Tom Montgomery; 07-12-2017 at 03:58 PM.
    " Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy. You in America will see that some day."

    " The truth is that men are tired of liberty."

    -- Benito Mussolini



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Portland, Maine
    Posts
    14,313

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianY View Post
    Just as the US flag dips to no man or king and you will see even at the Olympic ceremonies, the American flag is the only one that doesn't dip to the head of state of the host country. Because — it's not a mark of disrespect to them, it's a mark of respect to the American flag.
    .
    This sounds like total bullsh*t to me.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    victoria, australia. (1 address now)
    Posts
    42,527

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianY View Post
    The title says it all...

    http://www.businessinsider.com/heres...niforms-2017-5


    Tim Marshall, the author of "Worth Dying for: The Power and Politics of Flags" explains why American flags are reversed on military uniforms. Following is a transcript of the video.

    A lot of people ask, "why is the US flag reversed when it's on an arm patch of a US military?" Just as the US flag dips to no man or king and you will see even at the Olympic ceremonies, the American flag is the only one that doesn't dip to the head of state of the host country. Because — it's not a mark of disrespect to them, it's a mark of respect to the American flag. And they take it so seriously that it must always face forward.

    Now, on a flag pole that puts the stars on the left-hand side next to the flag pole, that's the most prestigious position. On an arm patch, you are looking at it differently and when the soldier, or marine or whatever, marches forward, the US flag most face forward. It must not be seen to be in retreat. And so the stars are actually now on the right-hand side of their badge and so they face forward, just as it never retreats. It's always in its special position when it's flown on a car.

    You might think this is taking things to extremes but when you really get to the bottom of flags, they are about extremes of passion and extremes of belief. And the Americans take their flag very, very seriously.
    Blurt……………… You really do need to get over yourselves……………..

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Central MA
    Posts
    6,024

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    This sounds like total bullsh*t to me.
    Yes. It means that one is respecting the US flag more than the head of state...in other words, disrespecting the head of state in favor of respecting the flag.

    But I didn't make the rules, so what do I know?
    "The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.”
    -Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    victoria, australia. (1 address now)
    Posts
    42,527

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    So what do you do when the current Head of State is 'disrespecting' the office he holds?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    1,864

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    So what do you do when the current Head of State is 'disrespecting' the office he holds?
    I believe turning the flag upside down is the international sign of distress!
    Skip

    ---This post is delivered with righteous passion and with a solemn southern directness --

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    7,245

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Saw a guy in a uniform at the store. It looked like the flag was attached with Velcro.
    Easily removable for some reason?
    “What, Me Worry?". -. A. E. Newman

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Posts
    23,180

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    21st century U.S. military uniforms suck big time.
    " Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy. You in America will see that some day."

    " The truth is that men are tired of liberty."

    -- Benito Mussolini



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    7,245

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    “What, Me Worry?". -. A. E. Newman

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Posts
    23,180

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Ugh.
    " Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy. You in America will see that some day."

    " The truth is that men are tired of liberty."

    -- Benito Mussolini



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    New Zealand's Far North
    Posts
    7,251

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    This sounds like total bullsh*t to me.
    Gotta agree with you.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Mountain lakes of Vermont
    Posts
    9,163

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Can you imagine the savings to the budget if the military cut out the fancy dress uniforms for everyone but the color guard?

    As for disrespecting the flag, here's one for you. This past week, on the fourth of July, I saw some yahoo (in Vermont!) flying the stars and bars from his pick-up. Another guy had a flag that was half stars and stripes, the other half stars and bars. That was a two-for-one, disrespecting two flags at once.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    central, FL
    Posts
    12,622

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    Can you imagine the savings to the budget if the military cut out the fancy dress uniforms for everyone but the color guard?

    As for disrespecting the flag, here's one for you. This past week, on the fourth of July, I saw some yahoo (in Vermont!) flying the stars and bars from his pick-up. Another guy had a flag that was half stars and stripes, the other half stars and bars. That was a two-for-one, disrespecting two flags at once.
    Unless things changed, DRESS BLUES for the Marines were OPTIONAL.
    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    Don't under-estimate Jack. He's purty damned talented

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    victoria, australia. (1 address now)
    Posts
    42,527

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    I like these better…..


  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Milford CT
    Posts
    791

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Velcro... The way I understand it they are removable so as not to reveal rank to opposing forces if there is a captured soldier. Supposedly protects officers from further abuse.
    \"Of all the things I\'ve lost, I miss my mind the most.\"

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Sitka, AK
    Posts
    24,918

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    The US Flag is only worn "reversed" when on the right shoulder.

    That way the union portion is facing forward in the general direction the servicemember is walking.

    Ever watch a flag at a parade? Which way is the union orientated as it moves past you?

    Editted...

    There are some older version of the 101st Screaming Eagle patch in which the eagle is turned around to face forward when worn on the right shoulder as a combat patch. I don't think they do that these days.
    Last edited by BrianW; 07-13-2017 at 10:48 AM.
    "Simple minds discuss people, Average minds discuss things, and Great minds discuss ideas".

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Sitka, AK
    Posts
    24,918

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin G View Post
    Velcro... The way I understand it they are removable so as not to reveal rank to opposing forces if there is a captured soldier. Supposedly protects officers from further abuse.
    You are not suppose to hide your rank when taken prisoner.

    It's simply a much more convenient way to change a uniform patch as required when you're deployed and get promoted or need to add an ISAF patch or something similar. There's not a seamstress around every camel.
    "Simple minds discuss people, Average minds discuss things, and Great minds discuss ideas".

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    1,864

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Skip

    ---This post is delivered with righteous passion and with a solemn southern directness --

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Ct.
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianW View Post
    You are not suppose to hide your rank when taken prisoner.

    It's simply a much more convenient way to change a uniform patch as required when you're deployed and get promoted or need to add an ISAF patch or something similar. There's not a seamstress around every camel.
    SOP if taken prisoner has always been to only provide your captors with name, rank and S/N, that said, if you're in an active combat situation and the enemy sees a pair of silver bars on your uniform you are a prime target over the guy's with the lower ranking identifications, combat common sense.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    269

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    FYI, at least in the reserve components and the National Guard, with any seniority at all you are buying your own uniforms. I asked my girlfriend, a Master Sargeant in the Army Reserve, why she bought her own and was told the last uniform she was provided was in Iraq as an E-5. She spends hundreds every time there's a uniform change.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Everett, WA
    Posts
    24,407

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    #12: I liked the uniforms with Sam Browne belts.
    Gerard>
    Everett, WA

    RESIST. FIGHT THE POWER.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Wow-Ming
    Posts
    15,664

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    It shows their allegiance to Satan.
    If you welcome devils to your house, then you must feed them Afghan proverb.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    19,686

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip-skiff View Post
    It shows their allegiance to Satan.
    Rattling the teacups.

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Posts
    24,664

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    This man is out of uniform.
    He has no scabbard for the saber. He'll be waving that thing all over the place all night long. Poke someone in the eye with that thing and start a riot.
    See the insignia on his lapels?


    That's the famous oxymoron "Military Intelligence". Now who in their right mind would give such a sharp object to a Military Intelligence officer?

    The blue trim is Infantry blue, not the Oriental blue of MI.

    His medals are in the wrong order. And who wears their actual medals? That's just ridiculous. Ribbons are just fine.

    The gloves. REALLY?




    Officers were required to buy all their own uniforms - dress, class As, khakis, and fatigues. Only flight suits were issued.

    As to the 19th century look, right on. The uniform is fashioned along the lines of 1880's Cavalry soldiers - the shoulder boards and stripe down the trousers. In fact in the 1st Cav, some troopers wore Stetsons. This is an acquaintance from the way back machine, "Rocket" Rochat. A Troop, 1/9 Cav.

    The the big yellow Cav Patch is referred to as a "horse blanket". The horse faces forward on the left shoulder (the current assignment) and rearward on the left as a "combat patch" after assignment to another unit. "This old horse is looking back" was the saying.

    Last edited by John of Phoenix; 07-13-2017 at 02:46 PM.
    "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Alice

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Sitka, AK
    Posts
    24,918

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike J View Post
    FYI, at least in the reserve components and the National Guard, with any seniority at all you are buying your own uniforms. I asked my girlfriend, a Master Sargeant in the Army Reserve, why she bought her own and was told the last uniform she was provided was in Iraq as an E-5. She spends hundreds every time there's a uniform change.
    When I got out, all enlisted received a uniform allowance to buy uniforms. For years, they would give you some every month (small amount, like $25) but of course nobody put that money aside to buy uniforms when there was beer at the Class 6 store. They finally wised up and stopped the monthly allotment, and paid you the whole amount once a year. The thinking being you could actually afford to buy some uniforms with the all the cash at one time.
    "Simple minds discuss people, Average minds discuss things, and Great minds discuss ideas".

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Sitka, AK
    Posts
    24,918

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Quote Originally Posted by John of Phoenix View Post
    This man is out of uniform.
    I really don't like the new Army Class A uniform (they may not even call it that anymore.) I've not seen one soldier look good in it, they all look like a baggy mix match of old laundry.

    The green one we had looked decent.
    "Simple minds discuss people, Average minds discuss things, and Great minds discuss ideas".

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Posts
    24,664

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    It would be interesting to learn why the Army decided to add the flag to the uniform in the first place. Everyone wears a tape or name tag that says in big, bold letters "U.S. ARMY".

    None of the other branches has a flag patch.

    Why the flag?
    "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Alice

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Sitka, AK
    Posts
    24,918

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Quote Originally Posted by John of Phoenix View Post
    It would be interesting to learn why the Army decided to add the flag to the uniform in the first place. Everyone wears a tape or name tag that says in big, bold letters "U.S. ARMY".

    None of the other branches has a flag patch.

    Why the flag?
    It's the Army, who knows.

    But in this age of multi-nation operations, it may be simply to know who you're dealing with at the moment. Afterall, any soldier beyond the Hesco is going to be wearing battle rattle, with a ballistic resistant vest covering up that Army tape.

    There is a whole lot of patching (I made that term up just now) going on overseas...





    "Simple minds discuss people, Average minds discuss things, and Great minds discuss ideas".

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Sitka, AK
    Posts
    24,918

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Who knows what the red tab indicates...

    "Simple minds discuss people, Average minds discuss things, and Great minds discuss ideas".

  33. #33
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Sitka, AK
    Posts
    24,918

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Proper way to wear the US flag when worn on the chest. (this one is IR reflective)




    Wrong way to wear the flag on your chest, and wrong way to wear the flag on your right shoulder...



    He could simply swap them, and then be correct.
    "Simple minds discuss people, Average minds discuss things, and Great minds discuss ideas".

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    1,864

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    ^ 2nd picture looks like a mercenary
    Skip

    ---This post is delivered with righteous passion and with a solemn southern directness --

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Sitka, AK
    Posts
    24,918

    Default Re: You learn something new every day: Why Flags Are reversed on US Military Uniforms

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianW View Post
    Who knows what the red tab indicates...

    Well, since there were no guesses... the red tab is attached to a tourniquet to help locate it in an emergency.
    "Simple minds discuss people, Average minds discuss things, and Great minds discuss ideas".

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •