United States Military Flags
The Flag of the United States Army displays a blue replica of the War Office Seal set on a white field. Beneath the seal is a broad scarlet scroll bearing the inscription in white letters, United States Army. Beneath the scroll, in blue Arabic numerals, is 1775 the year in which the Army was created with the appointment of General George Washington as Commander-in-Chief. All of this in on a white background.
The flag was officially adopted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, on June 12, 1956, with Executive Order 106.
Prior to 1956 the Army was the only armed service without a flag to represent the entire service. In 1955, prompted by the need for a flag to represent the Army in joint service ceremonies, Secretary of the Army Wilber M. Brucker requested the creation of the Army Flag.
The Army flag was dedicated and unfurled to the general public on June 14, 1956 at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, on the 181st anniversary of the establishment of the U.S. Army by the Continental Congress. The original flag measured 4 feet 4 inches by 5 feet 6 inches, the flag is of white silk with a blue embroidered central design of the original War Office seal. "United States Army" is inscribed in white letters on a scarlet scroll, with the year "1775" in blue numerals below.
U.S. Air Force
The flag of the United States Air Force consists of the coat of arms, 13 white stars and the Air Force Seal, on a blue background. The 13 stars represent the 13 original colonies, the three star grouping at the top portray the three Departments of the National Defense Establishment (Army, Navy, and Air Force). The crest includes the American bald eagle, the cloud formation depicts the creation of a new firmament, and the wreath, composed of six alternate folds of silver and blue, incorporate the colors of the basic shield design. The Indoor/Parade version is bordered by a gold fringe while the Outdoor version is plain.
The flag was officially adopted by President Harry S. Truman on, 26 March 1951.
U.S. Marine Corps
The Flag of the United States Marine Corps (also known as the standard or battle color) is the flag used to represent the Marine Corps, as well as units and formations of the Corps.
The official flag is scarlet with the Corps emblem in gray and gold. It was adopted on January 18, 1939, although Marine Corps Order 4 had established scarlet and gold and the official colors of the Corps as early as 1925. The indoor/parade version is bordered by a gold fringe while the outdoor version is plain. It measures 55 inches (140 cm) on the hoist and 62 inches (160 cm) on the fly. In addition to the multi-colored battle streamers (measuring 3 feet (0.91 m) by 23⁄4 inches (7.0 cm) wide) affixed to the top of the staff, the staff itself is covered with sterling silver bands engraved with the names of conflicts in which the Corps has been engaged
Very little information is available regarding the flags carried by early American Marines, although indications are that the Grand Union Flag was carried ashore by the battalion led by Captain Samuel Nicholas on New Providence Island, 3 March 1776. It is quite possible that the Gadsden flag was also carried on this expedition.
The flag of the United States Navy consists of the Seal of the Department of the Navy in the center, above a yellow scroll inscribed "United States Navy" in dark blue letters, against a dark blue background.
The flag was officially authorized by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on April 24, 1959 and was formally introduced to the public on April 30, 1959 at a ceremony at Naval Support Facility Carderock in Maryland . It replaced the Infantry Battalion flag which had been used as the unofficial Flag of the United States Navy for many years.
It is used on land in offices, in parades and for ceremonial occasions, and often on a staff at the quarterdeck of ships in port. It is never flown by ships at sea, nor on outdoor flagpoles on naval land installations, and is not used as an identifying mark of U.S. Navy ships and facilities, as is the U.S. Coast Guard ensign.
U.S. Coast Guard
The flag of the United States Coast Guard is white with a dark blue Great Seal of the United States. The shield on the eagle's breast has a blue chief over vertical red and white stripes. Inscribed in an arc above the eagle is "UNITED STATES COAST GUARD"; below the eagle is the Coast Guard motto, "SEMPER PARATUS" ("Always Ready") and beneath that the numerals 1790 the year in which the service's ancestor, the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, was founded. All inscriptions are dark blue.
The origins of the Coast Guard standard are very obscure. One theory states that it might have evolved from an early flag. There is at least one contemporary painting supporting this theory. In an 1840 painting, the Revenue cutter Alexander Hamilton flies a flag very similar to that of today’s Coast Guard as a jack. This flag, like the union jack, appears to be the canton or upper corner of the Revenue cutter ensign.
An illustration in 1917 shows the Coast Guard standard as a white flag with a blue eagle and 13 stars in a semicircle surrounding it. Later, the words, "United States Coast Guard-- Semper Paratus" were added.
After 1950, the semicircle of stars was changed to the circle containing 13 stars. The Coast Guard standard is used during parades and ceremonies and is adorned by the Coast Guard's 34 battle streamers. The Coast Guard is unique to the other services for it has two official flags, the Coast Guard standard and the Coast Guard ensign.
The current flag was officially adopted on January 28, 1964.