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The right to wear the American flag on your uniform.

The right to wear the American flag on your uniform.

Just recently some people have realized that on the uniforms of our US military, the US flag is worn backwards.  Have you ever wondered why the flag patches are reversed?  Well actually it's only when the flag is worn on the right shoulder the result of a tradition that started long before the Civil War where soldiers shared the belief that the blue field of stars should always be in the highest position of respect on their uniforms.

The American flag should always be displayed to the right of other organizational flags.  You'll find this tradition when the flags are being displayed, the US flag is always carried to the right of the line during the march.

The United States Army has their own regulation regarding the display of flag patches.  It can be found in regulation section 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia.  Specifically, paragraph 28-18 governs the wear of the United States flag on uniforms.

"All Soldiers will wear the full-color U.S. flag embroidered insignia on utility and organizational uniforms, unless deployed or in a field environment.  Soldiers will wear the subdued tactical flag insignia while deployed or in a field environment."

The concept of the American flag patch being displayed backwards on uniforms is also to give the appearance that the flag is flying in the breeze as the person advances forward.

In 2003 the uniform regulation for the Army was updated to state "the Stars are to face forward...”  When authorized for application to the proper uniform the American flag patch is to be worn, right or left shoulder. One of the flags will, therefore, be reversed (right shoulder) in order to adhere to the regulation and custom of having the stars facing forward. 

When approved for wear, the full-color U.S. flag cloth replica is sewn half an inch below the right shoulder seam. It should be worn with the temperate, hot-weather, enhanced hot weather, and desert battle dress uniform; the battle dress uniform field jacket; and the cold-weather uniform.
The red, white and blue flag patch obviously would not be recommended wear on their combat fatigues or camouflaged uniforms so the subdued flag is authorized wear.

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