UNITED STATES FLAG REVERSE SIDE FLAG PATCH

With the introduction of the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) for its Army Combat Uniform, it was inevitable that the Army would get questions regarding the wear of insignia, patches and badges, including the flag patch. And it’s entirely understandable considering all the debate regarding various camouflage patterns and the fact that wearing a U.S. flag insignia wasn’t even authorized until 2005.

The decision to authorize the wearing of flag insignia was made by U.S. Army Chief of Staff Peter and introduced in the February 2005 edition of AR 670-1: “All soldiers throughout the Force, regardless of deployment status, will wear the full-color U.S. flag cloth replica on utility and organizational uniforms.” In an move that generated some unexpected controversy, the regulations mandated that the flag patch was to be worn on the right shoulder with the star field, or canton, facing forward (to the flag’s own right). This orientation was chosen so that it would give “the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward.”

But the “reverse side flag,” as the Army designated the insignia, did not sit well with some because it appeared to be hung in reverse when directly viewed. Phil Greazzo, a Republican in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, started a Web site called “Fix Our Flag” aimed to generate support for reversing the reverse side flag.

While Greazzo’s pleas ultimately had no effect on Army uniform regulations, he did make one very cogent point: Why place the flag on the right side, thus having to reverse it to create the effect of it being carried into battle, when it could just as easily have been placed on the left shoulder with the star field in its proper location when viewed head-on?

Regarding the flag patch and the OCP: the change in camouflage pattern has no effect on the wear of the flag insignia. However, the 2005 regulations called for the flag insignia to be sewn on, while the 2017 regulations require the use of hook-and-loop fasteners and explicitly prohibit sewing the U.S. Flag onto the uniform.
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