WASHINGTON -- All Soldiers can now wear the U.S. flag insignia on the right shoulder of their utility uniform, as a continued reminder that the Army is engaged in a war at home and abroad.
The flag has been around for years to identify deploying troops. Now based on the Armys joint expeditionary mindset, the flag represents our commitment to fight the war on terror for the foreseeable future, said Sgt. Maj. Walter Morales, the uniform policy chief for G1.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker approved the uniform item Feb. 11, and all Soldiers have until Oct. 1, 2005 to get the insignia sewn on their uniforms.
A message on the uniform policy went out to the force Feb. 14, announcing "the current policy of deployed Soldiers wearing the U.S. flag on utility uniforms is expanded to include all Soldiers throughout the force regardless of deployment status."
Currently there are not enough flags in the inventory, which is why Soldiers have a substantial amount of time to get the flags sewn on, Morales said. Deploying troops have the priority. Everyone else will have to wait until the Defense Logistics Agency has more in stock, he said. An estimated 30 million flags need to be procured, he added.
Enlisted Soldiers will not have to purchase the flags. They will be issued five flags from their assigned unit, and commanders will make arrangements for getting the insignia sewn on, Morales said. However, if Soldiers purchase the flags on their own, they will not be reimbursed, he added.
When purchasing the flag, the only ones authorized for wear on the uniform is the reverse field flag in red, white and blue. Subdued flags and those in other colors are in violation of U.S. code, Morales said. Individuals should comply with Army Regulation 670-1, Wear and Appearance of the Army Uniform and Insignia.
The regulation still states that Soldiers are not authorized to wear the full-color cloth U.S. flag replica upon their return to home station. However, the latest change will be added to the regulation when it is revised sometime this year, Morales said.
Nothing has changed regarding the placement of the flag, Morales said. It is sewn ½ inch below the shoulder seam. If a combat patch is also placed on the right shoulder, the flag is sewn 1/8 inch below the combat patch.
The flag is worn on the right shoulder to give the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward, Morales said. This will serve as a vivid reminder that our nation is at war.