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Is the American flag ‘backward’ on Scout uniforms?

Ask the Expert: What happened to Bugling merit badge?If you look at the right sleeve of a Boy Scout and of a U.S. soldier, you’ll see American flags on both.

But there’s one big difference. While the Boy Scout’s flag has the blue field of stars at the top left, the soldier’s flag is a reverse-field flag; the field of stars is at the top right.

So which is correct?

Both, as it turns out. The American flag is pre-sewn on all Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Venturing uniform shirts, meaning it’s correctly placed when you buy it.

But even though the BSA does the patch-placement work for you, some Scouters, especially those with military ties, have questioned the flag’s direction. They, correctly, argue that the military reverses the flag so it looks as if the soldier is moving into battle, not retreating. Imagine someone carrying the U.S. flag on a pole while running forward, and you’ll get the picture.

flag-sleeve-jamboreeI first blogged about this subject four and half years ago, and in the time since I’ve gotten this question quite a bit.

The Boy Scout Handbook is pretty clear. On Page 76, it reads: “Following the guidelines of the U.S. Flag Code, it [the flag patch] is placed with the blue field to the flag’s own right (to the left, as someone views it).”

It goes on to explain that the U.S. military uses the reverse-field flag and that either is correct. The key is to follow the guidelines of the organization responsible for the uniform in question.

But for an even more detailed explanation, let’s check in with the expert. In this case that’s Peter Self, team leader, youth development, program impact and council operations with the BSA. He recently heard from a Scouter who’s also a U.S. Army staff sergeant. Here’s the original email and Peter’s response:

Original letter

Dear Sir/Ma’am,

I would first like to say that I am glad to have been a member of the Scouts when I was an adolescent.

I am currently a 15-year member of the United States Army and a supporter of the Scouts when I have time to volunteer. As a member of our nation’s military I have been deployed in the service of our country three times.

My question is about the Scout uniform.

I am not sure if you are aware, but the Scouts and the U.S. Army both wear our country’s standard on our right shoulder. There is however one large difference. Looking at a soldiers uniform you will see that the flag “Looks backwards” that is to say the stripes are on the left and the stars are on the right. That was not an accident, although to some it may look funny, the reason the flag is positioned that way is because the flag is flying in the direction of the wind. The soldier is always moving forward. Think of what the flag would look like in a parade if it were walking past you.

On the Boy Scout uniform the flag is turned the other way. Watching that same parade the Scouts would be marching backwards. Retreating, if you will.

As both a Scout and a soldier I can understand that Scouts are not soldiers. But when I was a Scout I wanted nothing more than to be a soldier. To serve my country. I wanted to be a soldier because Scouting taught me that not everyone can be a soldier. Not everyone is strong enough for that sacrifice, not everyone has such a strong sense of duty.

Scouts do.

Scouts are strong, for others who don’t have the strength.

Scouts are brave, when others feel fear.

Scouts are trained, where other lack knowledge.

“To do my duty for God and Country”

Wearing the flag on the Scout uniform in the same manner as the military does not go against US Code Title 4 or US Code Title 36.

I understand that changing the uniform may be a daunting logistical feat, but I do believe that our nation and of flag are worth it.

The expert’s response

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your thoughtful and well-articulated question. Your sense of dedication and committment not only to our country, but also our youth is obvious.

As you can imagine, we are frequently asked why the patch of the United States flag, as worn on the right should of the official BSA uniform, has the blue field of stars (known as the canton) in the upper left hand corner, and it is worn facing the opposite direction by members of the US Army. There are really two parts to this question.

The first question is “What gives each of these organizations the right to wear the flag as a part of their uniform?” This permission is granted in Title 4 of the US Code, which is often referred to simply as the Flag Code. Under § 8, paragraph (j) it states:

“No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.”

I think we can agree that members of the Boy Scouts of America have permission to wear the patch as members of a patriotic organization.

While Title 4 gives several examples of how the flag is to be displayed when used in ceremonies, during meetings, in parades, in auditoriums, or even at funeral services. It does not cite a single example of how the flag should appear when worn as a patch or affixed to an article of clothing. All we are given is the permission to wear it as noted above. In the absence of any specific direction, we can only assume it should be worn in the same fashion as described in numerous other paragraphs, which is with the canton at the upper left corner.

Why then does the US Army wear it in reverse fashion? That answer can be found in US Army Regulation 670-1, Chapter 28, Section 18, which states:

“The full-color U.S. flag cloth replica is worn so that the star field faces forward, or to the flag’s own right. When worn in this manner, the flag is facing to the observer’s right, and gives the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward. The appropriate replica for the right shoulder sleeve is identified as the reverse side flag.”

This statement in the Army regulations appears to be the only written description of how a patch of the flag should be worn, which makes it unique to the U.S. military. Of course this begs the question, “Can the Boy Scouts of America adopt the same policy?”

The answer to this question can be found in Article X, Section 4, Clause 4, Paragraph (b) of the Rules and regulations of the Boy Scouts of America. Here we find the following:

“Imitation of United States Army, Navy or Marine Corps uniforms is prohibited, in accordance with the provisions of the organizations Congressional Charter.”

Because the reverse side flag is unique to the military, it would be considered an imitation of the uniform and is therefore prohibited.

I hope this helps clear up the difference, and once again thank you for your dedication and service.

– Peter Self


Solider photo from Flickr: Some rights reserved by DVIDSHUB; BSA photos copyright Boy Scouts of America: First photo: Eagle Scout Chase Glidewell from Atlanta Georgia Troop A323, Second photo: Life Scout Will Freder from Greenwich, CT Troop B330 upon arrival.

155 Comments on Is the American flag ‘backward’ on Scout uniforms?

  1. Great explanation. Thanks.

  2. Dustin Tarditi // March 11, 2014 at 9:20 am // Reply

    As a Scouter and Veteran, I often wondered this myself – excellent inquiry and outstanding response! Thanks for posting this – now I know and can help spread the word.

  3. it won’t be long until they replace the American flag on the Scout uniform with a white flag of surender

  4. As a 19 year veteran, I’ve often wondered about this one too. Great explination on the reason. Thanks so much for posting…and now I’m able to answer the question to my kids and others. (as a point of note..in the 1980’s, Cub Scout’s wore the flag over the right pocket, just above the BSA strip. Not sure when excatly it was moved, but my Scout shirt from late 80’s (tan) has it on the shoulder)

    • There was never a point in time when the Cub Scout flag was worn above the pocket if worn properly.

      • We all must be bored at our jobs today…*heheheheheehee*

        CG wrote in part: “There was never a point in time when the Cub Scout flag was worn above the pocket if worn properly.”

        No. Not the Cub Scout flag; but the U.S. flag emblem. From 1968 to 1979, the U.S. flag emblem, if worn, was worn immediately above the “Cubs – BSA” or “Boy Scouts of America” strip on the blue Cub Scout field uniform. Why?

        Because the WEBELOS badge colors (the metal curved bar with the acronym “WEBELOS”) was worn in “position one, right shoulder”, that’s why. And because common sense prevailed back then, the Cub Scout of that day wore the U.S. flag emblem immediately above the national “identity strip.” Only Cub Scouts and Cub Scouters could do this; and later when the WEBELOS badge colors bar was straightened, the Cub Scout Program folks deemed it necessary to state “if the U.S. flag emblem is worn, the WEBELOS badge colors are worn immediately below it; if not, the WEBELOS badge colors are worn one inch below the top seam of the right shoulder of the uniform.”

        There has never been a cloth patch representing the Cub Scout flag.

        Boredom. At. Work (not me personally; I have plenty to do this afternoon including answering all of those blog and email traffic, thank you very much. So stop offering to send me YOUR work also!!! *laughter*)

        • Saw your comments below a few minutes after my reply. Never say “never.” None in my collection spanning the period have flags anywhere except the shoulder, and none of my vintage Uniform Guides has it anywhere except the shoulder. Going off S Moore’s assertion that’s where they went “in the 1980s,” I pulled up the Boys’ Life archive and saw no photo evidence for his claim there. So both S Moore and I are wrong :P

      • Summit Scouter // March 11, 2014 at 3:58 pm // Reply

        My first response was to say that is incorrect since there were so many Cub Scout uniforms in the 1970s that way. There’s even a corny camp song about an old scouter longing for his collarless shirt with the flag over the right pocket. My Cub Scout uniform from the 1970s has the flag over the right pocket.

        However, just because so many of us wore that way doesn’t mean it is right. I couldn’t find any Uniform Regulations from that time period but I suppose one of the Cub Scout handbooks may indicate the flag placement (if any).

        I suppose you know that it was common to wear the flag over the right pocket, so I’m wondering if you have any further information on why this was incorrect?

        Thanks.

  5. Roy Woodruff // March 11, 2014 at 9:27 am // Reply

    Interesting. Never noticed the difference before…

  6. Cole Petersen // March 11, 2014 at 9:34 am // Reply

    The original poster mentioned a parade. How the flag looks depends upon which side of the street one happens to be, so that ‘argument’ is moot. Both letters are well written and to the point. I see no reason for the BSA to alter the current uniform.

    • Actually, it’s not really a moot point as it’s all on the “placement” of the flag. The flag is on the right shoulder of both uniforms. In a parade, if you were on the left (from marchers perspective)side of the street, as you point out, the canton would appear on the left side of a carried flag as it flapped in the wind. However, the same spectator would NOT see the flag on either a military or scout uniform, as they would only see the left sleeve. You would only see the uniform flag if you were on the right side of the parade route and thus the procession would be going from the viewers left to right with a carried flag’s canton appearing to the viewers right (as it is placed on the military uniform). Just clarifying! I do agree 100% that BSA uniform is fine and no need for change. And kudos to both writers for asking and answering a great question! And a huge THANK YOU to the staff sargeant for his service to both the USA and BSA!

  7. I honestly never noticed! I always had lots of servicemen among friends and family, and none never pointed it out. It’s nice to learn something new.

  8. Thanks Peter!!

  9. Thanks for clearing this up. I’ve wondered about it ever since I began seeing a Scouter wearing a backward flag on his uniform every month to our district roundtable.

  10. Great explanation, My Brother is in the Army National Guard, and I asked him the same question a few years ago when my then Bears Den were learning about proper handling of a flag.

  11. There is something about this idea of the Military wearing it that way to show they are always moving forward into battle that I find very touching. Thank you so much for this article, and for including the text of that very well written, almost poetic, letter.

  12. Has the military always had the flag oriented this way? I seem to remember reading somewhere that this was a change during or after the WWII time frame.

  13. Blue field forward coincides with forward facing direction of person wearing the flag. Blue field to the rear does not!! I retired from the United Stares Air Force, and as a Veteran, can tell you that wearing the flag on any uniform has nothing to to do with imitation of mitary uniforms. However, wearing a name tag, epaulettes, den chief cords, rank, and ribbons do….hmmm, are you going to change those too?
    Weraring the flag is all about pride in country and good citizenship…it has nothing to do with imitating military uniforms. Change – it’s inevitable.

    • Thank you for your service to this country! I for one, am thankful for men like you that sacrificed so much. I agree with you that wearing the flag is about pride in our great country and good citizenship, however, I believe that this represents a “situational” instance of “change”… it’s readily apparent that the scout uniform is generally “modelled” after a military uniform with the decorations you mentioned, however does not “imitate” a military uniform as stated in the scout regs. Yes scouts have rank insignia, however, how many military uniforms have them placed on the left pocket? If the scout ranks were chevrons worn on sleeves, there’d probably be an issue… in this specific instance, with this thread as one piece of definitive evidence, if the BSA adopted the flag placement as stated, it would be solely done to “imitate” the placement on United States military uniforms, thus falling under the restriction of the stated BSA regulation. Personally, based on the explanation of the military reverse-field flag placement as to represent “a soldier always moving forward”, I think that should be distinctive representation that should remain reserved as a badge of honor for our servicemen and women!

      • With utmost respect, the epalets (sp) are directly taken from the old army air corp bomber jackets, and currently Air Force dress blues, that hold the metal rank insignia (army too I think). The pocket insignia is currently used by the Navy at least and by all the joint chiefs of staff, even the name tags are the same, with different colors by service. Take a look at shoulder patches from WW2, they signify division and group. Boys are grouped by patrols, same an airforce flights and army platoons, about the only thing different is the neckerchief and bolo. Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that the scout uniform was developed by LBP at summer camp one year. It started as a WW1 doughboy uniform right down to the gators and socks! Imitation sometimes is the best form of flattery, nobody will mistake me for an Army Ranger, but sometimes they think I’m a National Parks Ranger when I wear the campaign hat!

        It’s time only for a change on how the flag is displayed on the Class A uniform (intentional Army/Air Force reference to dress uniform) . I’m recommending that service verterains can wear the flag correctly, as an honor, and all other scouts wear it traditionally. The only “imitation” would be on the right shoulder as all services do. It would be the same as cubs wearing the arrow of light on the scout uniform, and scouters wearing the eagle ribbon (or knots) they earned as a Boy Scout. I like to see veterans in my area do this so I can say thank you, what service were you in, and thanks for continuing your service with the Boy Scouts. Just my 2 cents!

        • I disagree. This is no time to change and no reason to change. We would be doing only because the military does it that way. Once a veteran changes his BSA uniform to conform to something in the military that begins a slippery slope precedent.

          Veterans should honor their military uniform by wearing it the way the military says. And they should honor the BSA uniform by wearing it the way the BSA says to.

        • The flag on the current US military uniform isn’t worn “correctly”, it’s worn in accordance with the rules. Are you seriously going to say that everyone who wore a flag patch in all of our previous world wars was wearing it incorrectly? No. You wear the patch the way you’re told to wear the patch — one way isn’t necessarily more correct than others.

        • I wear a US Flag on my Air Force Flight Suit on the LEFT SHOULDER with the blue to the upper left…and the USAF Blues shirt epaulets were added in the 1980s–before that the rank was on the collar for officers. Just because the BSA and US military uniforms have similarities, doesn’t mean that one came from the other. The USAF does not wear a reverse flag on any uniform. I wear each uniform with pride according to the rules by each organization.

    • So Bill, and Gene? Should we also change how we hang the flag on a wall?

      • Why would we change that? Do you know of another way to display it? Is the debate about hanging the flag on the wall, or displaying it as a patch on a shoulder? Seems like two different things, and one is a patch not a flag. Maybe we all go to Velcro so we can keep up with all the chafes and locations! The plastic holders for cubs insignia seem silly since we give them patches! But I guess that debate is the same as should we change how we display the flag.

        • I use Velcro on my position and Journey to Excellence patches. SO much easier than sewing them on at each change. Highly recommend it. Walmart sells a pack of 3 or 4 that around 2″ x 4″ which I just trim down to size. Sew the “hoops” side on all of my shirts, sticky back on the patch and change them out within 1 second.

        • Gene Hart // March 11, 2014 at 12:51 pm //

          It’s a good idea, now you can turn your flag patch around when doing veterans events. Or remove it when you get captured by Girl Scouts. I’ll have to go see now if Velcro is approved. I don’t remember seeing it. Seems like you should make a suggestion that all shirts come with it from the factory!

        • oof. that would be nice. velcome from the factory. would recommend velcro where the knots go, where the trained patch goes, etc. hey, there’s an idea. put velcro where everything should go then that would challange our leaders to “fill up” their shirt. ha!

        • Kelly Horton // March 11, 2014 at 6:10 pm //

          Mike,

          (WRRIPP, I just removed my patch)

          I started having the boys in my Royal Ranger Outpost use Velcro for POR’s and advancement back in 2005. The new RR uniform has velcro on it as well as the patches. I suggested this with the QSL survey and they took the suggestion with the new uniform in 2010. I still don’t agree with the Navy blue trousers (too hot in the sun and show dirt), but they did go to cargo utility pants.

          One of the mothers thanked me for the Velcro idea since she hated to sew the patches on. My reply was that if the boy earned the badge, then they can do the sewing. (That’s is what my mom told me and that I was too fussy on how it was sewed on). I would bury the threads under the embroidery so the patches would have a floating appearance on my sash.

          Now that I am back in scouts, I placed velcro on my position and the Journey to Excellence places. This was very handy when I was working with both cubs and scout units. I did the same with my son’s uniform and added the advancement patch placement.

          I think this is a great idea since POR’s and advancement change frequently in the lower scout ranks. I have a 4 inch x 20 foot piece of Velcro and one of the smart aleck boys unrolled it to make it a sash so he could place his merit badges all over and could move them around later on. Perhaps it is a good idea. Well not one entire piece of Velcro, but buttons to place the MB patches.

          National may want to offer this as a sash option as a saleable item. At least sell the Velcro hook and loop in khaki color. Royal Rangers does, so I know someone somewhere makes their shirts. The RR ranks and adult leader training patches come with the Velcro already attached to the patch.

          I have found that the Velcro has to be sewn on the uniform because once the shirt goes in the dryer, it melts the glue adhesive and the velcro comes off. Perhaps the knots idea is a good one. Perhaps just a strip to hold 3 knots at a time. But the knots are not usually removed unless you only want to purchase one set of knots and move the patches to extra uniforms when worn. You have to wash the uniform sometime.

    • That is correct. Actually the expert is wrong on two accounts. Firstly the reverse flag patch is NOT unique to military uniforms as police and firefighter uniforms also have reverse flag patches. Secondly the star field is always to be displayed in the highest position of honor according to US flag code. While on a stationary object the observer would see the star field in the upper right. While on a moving object the highest position of honor is top and forward, making the image you on the soldiers uniform correct and the Boy Scout uniform wrong!

      • As a vet I agree with Chris. The flag on the BSA uniform always looks wrong to me.

  14. The BSA is not a military organization, and scouts are not going into battle. I find it disturbing that some leaders allow their scouts to wear military camouflage uniforms at scouting events. Some of these scouts act like “soldiers” shouting orders and commands at other scouts. I’ve even seen some leaders yelling like a drill sergeant.
    This is despicable behavior that needs to be outlawed by the BSA, as it is outside of BSA policy.

    • Of course this has nothing to do with the flag orientation. But What your describing should be reported to the council. I’m sure it goes on in some made up games sometimes, but I’ve never seen a troop dressed in camo act like the military at any event or camp or anywhere for that matter. That would shock me too. And not to mention the parents! But I still like the flag reversed to its proper orientation.

    • Mr. Dave,

      I agree with you in some aspects, not everything should be shouted, however, if you have a large group of people, not many staff/volunteers, and no microphone, how else do you get peoples attention, you may just want to tell everyone to gather someplace, and then you can use a different volume in your voice (while still projecting, of course).
      But as I pointed out, there is a time and a place for a big voice, another example would be a flag ceremony, I am often the MC (Caller, as some people call it), and I do shout, because,that is the way that those commands were designed to be said.
      .
      As for the camo, BSA says you should wear appropriate clothes for an activity, tell me, if a Venturing Crew was going to clear trails, where there is lots of brush, and thorns, and sawgrass (if you’re in the south), and a Venturer (that is the correct term for a youth member of a Venturing Crew), only brought a pair of the lightweight switchback venturing pants, a pair of swim trunks/short shorts, and a pair of Woodland Camo BDUs, which do you think they should wear? Not the Venturing Pants, those would get horribly torn up, the swim trunks/short shorts would make your legs cut cut very easily, however, a heavyduty, well made, pair of BDU pants, would protect the wearer.

      One more question, those leaders that you talked about, were they adult leaders, or youth leaders? If they were the adult leaders, they should not have been giving orders, unless it was a health and safety concern, if they need something done, they can talk with the youth leaders, make them familiar with it, and have them present it.

      Yours in Scouting,
      Will
      14 year old Boy Scout and Venturer

  15. I think we should consider changing the charter to reflect the correct orientation of the flag as described by the Army. We wear uniforms that imitate the park service, medals that imitate the armed services, and knots that imitate ribbons from all services. In seas scouts the leader is called skipper just like the captain of a ship in the US Navy. The sea scouts uniforms are obtained at an army navy store! The campaign hat is a direct decedent of soldiers from WW1 and Lord Baten Powell. If a scout or scouter, especially US Military veterans who now serve as scouters, want to honor their flag on this way it should become a new regulation. This is a simple fix,
    And current users should be thanked for their service and allowed to maintain their honor to fellow servicemen and women that still defend the flag today.

    • The key, Gene, that we don’t have *uniforms* which imitate the armed services. Park rangers, okay. Our uniform looks a little like theirs… but it doesn’t look like the dress or service uniforms of those in our armed services. Leave the flag be — it’s been that way for decades, there’s no real reason to change it, and unless we commit Scouts and Scouters to war in their Scouting uniforms, there is no reason to do anything but move forward.

      • Commit scouts and scouters to war because of the orientation of the flag? Let’s temper the conversation with at least a little common sense. Wearing the flag is the point.

    • Gary Wilson // March 11, 2014 at 1:42 pm // Reply

      There’s more to the US Military than the Army.

      My USAF flight suit has a conventional flag on the LEFT soldier. USAF seems to have been able to figure out how to wear a traditional flag on their uniforms without making it look “backwards”. Why should we have to follow the weird example the US Army only adopted in the past twenty years?

  16. The Sergeant and Peter make good and valid points. Thank you both for an inciteful and civil discussion. One additional point I’d like to add, there are a number of different scenarios when the flag is displayed on the left side of something other than a uniform and the blue field is displayed in the upper right. The most prominent I could think of are our retired Space Shuttles. Also utilizing this design are NYC buses and trains. All with the same concept, the flag is displayed as if it is pinned along the side of the blue field, as if it is on a flag pole. When that Space Shuttle, bus, train, soldier or Scout is moving forward the blue field would naturally be to the right.

    I’ve seen it displayed both ways and I would say that as long as it is displayed with honor and respect (and within the parameters of the Flag Code) it is good.

    • Gary Wilson // March 11, 2014 at 3:36 pm // Reply

      Actually, the concept of the affixing the “reversed” flag to the right side of the uniform so the union is forward is a new (within 20 years) invention of the US Army. Their paratroopers in World War II wore a conventional flag on the right sleeve with no complaints. USAF has always worn it on the left sleeve to avoid the problem even arising, but then we’re a bit better at planning ;-)

      On an aircraft, the flag is painted to resemble a flag flying back from a staff on an automobile bumper, as cloth flags don’t last very long at 500 kts TAS. Thus the union is forward on both sides of the vertical stabilizer, making the left side look “normal” and the right side “reversed”. USAF transport aircraft have been painted that way since at least the 1960’s.

  17. I have heard both of these explanations before (well done, Bryan) … with the only suggested exception being that I have seen military veterans currently serving as Scouters replace the flag on their Scout uniforms in recognition of their having borne our standard through their service — similar to the recent clarifications that veterans may also salute the flag, even out of uniform.

    • That’s admirable — and I am one of those veterans from several of our conflicts around the world — but it’s unnecessary and wrong. So this means that as a Black man, I can replace the U.S. flag emblem with a “black power” emblem. This means that a proud Hispanic American can replace the U.S. flag emblem with a Mexican, Puerto Rican or Hispanic Heritage flag emblem. And don’t get me started on “rainbow flags” to replace the U.S. flag emblem as a show of support! No, the BSA has for now 50 years denoted what the optional U.S. flag emblem should look like and how it should be worn on the field uniform — let’s move forward, nothing to look at. Those Americans who wish to show their support and recognition can wear a patch on their right pocket — whether it’s a flag or some other “makes sense” emblem.

      • LOL! Mike, tell us what you “really” think.

      • Either way, showing the flag in a patriotic manner is the key. There isn’t a right or wrong in this case.

    • I hoping the person that gave you the “thumbs down” was because they were disagreeing with the scouter you mentioned who changed the BSA uniform and not with your comments.

      I agree with Mike W’s comments. I wonder how your veterans would feel about a soldier replacing their uniform’s flag with a BSA flag because they received the Eagle Scout rank. Probably would disapprove.

      • Yea different argument since a soldier reports differently than a Boy Scout. The scout uniform is just a place where we honor achievements to scouts and scouters with patches and knots and medals. It seems that some folks don’t understand that and would rather it be something else. It’s far from a uniform, since I’ve never seen any two that are alike. This is a debate, saying the military uniform is the same as the scouts and should be considered as such is disingenuous. And if I wear the camo flag backward on a scout uniform, I don’t get an article 51 and and LOR, I usually get that’s cool, why is it like that. Nobody ever says you have to go the commanders office or see the 1st sergeant.

        • It’s a uniform just like the military, police, doctors, FedEx, Postal Service or any other org. Not sure I understand your statement.

          From the BSA Aims and Methods of Scouting #8…
          Uniform: The uniform makes the Scout troop visible as a force for good and creates a positive youth image in the community. Boy Scouting is an action program, and wearing the uniform is an action that shows each Scout’s commitment to the aims and purposes of Scouting. The uniform gives the Scout identity in a world brotherhood of youth who believe in the same ideals. The uniform is practical attire for Boy Scout activities and provides a way for Boy Scouts to wear the badges that show what they have accomplished.”

        • Gene Hart // March 11, 2014 at 12:46 pm //

          A lab coat is a uniform? Other than that the other examples are all the same, police, fire, fedex! The quoting from the book is correct, and the debate is wearing the flag patch differently from what’s traditional. And the question posed was what do you think, should a change be made or even appropriate? I agree about how the scout uniform should be presented displayed worn etc.

        • Yep. A lab coat is a uniform: the distinctive clothing worn by members of the same organization or body.

          But I think we’re on the same page: different orgs, different ways of displaying it, don’t change.

  18. From my 10 minute search looking at vintage images on the internet it seems that …
    a) there was a time in the past when military personnel wore the flag on the right arm and the canton was on the left (i.e. not backwards) and …
    b) boy scouts haven’t always had a flag on their sleeve.

    I chuckle internally whenever I hear someone say that this is the “right” way to wear the flag. I will go further and say there’s not even a “right” way to display the flag. “Right”, to me, means some higher-power or constant of the universe demands something be a certain way.

    What most of you mean, whether you accept it or not, is that there was/is a military “decision” to have the flag on the right arm with the canton facing right with the “implied meaning” that that is the direction a flag would wave if on were traveling forward. But is it “right” or “wrong”? Of course not. It’s only “right” in that you’ll be in trouble with your superiors if you wear it in a way that wasn’t decided upon.

    Because if it were “wrong” to wear it canton on the left, then it logically follows that all of our World War II veterans were wrong … which is just stupid to say.

    The Boy Scouts of America “decided” at some point (couldn’t find out when) to wear the flag on the right shoulder and to wear that flag with canton on the left. That’s our “decided” way. Whether at the time it was because we didn’t want to imitate the military (doubtful) or to actually imitate the military (probable) is moot. That was the BSA’s decision. So what if the military wears it differently now? It’s a non-sequintor. The BSA isn’t military and the military isn’t BSA.

    If the BSA decides to change canton-on-right for whatever reason, no problem there either. It’ll be our next “decision”, but not because it’s “right” or “wrong”.

  19. Kelly Horton // March 11, 2014 at 12:02 pm // Reply

    A few years ago when I was in Royal Rangers they had a uniform make-over. The American Flag dimensions were altered. Boy was there ever a lot of emails and protests about this flag change. This US Flag code is very specific about the flag dimensions and other specifications. The direction of the flag was also brought up. It was suggested to NOT look like the US military for the same reasons that the BSA uses and I agree with both groups on this. It was even brought up to remove the US Flag and replace it with the Christian Flag since RR was not considered a “patriotic group” but rather a “Christian service group.” They ended up not having any flag on the uniform.

    Who actually does teach proper handling of US Flags other than the BSA, GSA, and RR? Not many. I do not recall ever receiving instructions in school, but just scouts. We did have Flag Day as school, but no instructions on folding and raising the flag. I get really irked when people do not properly display the US Flag. A lot of blood has been spilled over our US freedoms and for the rest of the world. I imagine that there are a multitude of others that feel the same way on this forum. People that burn the US Flag in protest need to be leave the country and never return lest they end up in a federal prison.

    As a challenge to all of the scouters out there reading this, I propose a challenge to your units. When I was in high school as a senior, we saw a janitor attaching the US Flag to the flag pole in the morning. It was wadded all up in a ball. A few of us scouts ran over and told that guy that it was no a respectable way to handle the flag. We folded it, then unfolded it, ran it up the pole and did the pledge of allegiance. The janitor was a veteran and told us that we could do it for the rest of the school year,. So we did. So every morning we had about 20 scouts doing colors. In the afternoon, a pair of scouts would take the flag down and place it in the office. We actually had a kid in band perform the bugling for us. The janitor was a member of the local American Legion and he reported to the Legion Commanders of our actions. We were later contacted for a donation and other activities. We had scouts from 5 troops represented at school.

    So the challenge is for the scouts in your area is to perform the daily flag ceremonies at their schools. It will definitely not hurt a troop to do so in the eyes of the public school. So it is good public relations for a scouting unit.

    Bryon – Perhaps this should be a unit challenge offered by National BSA HQ.

  20. Mike wrote in part:

    “The Boy Scouts of America “decided” at some point (couldn’t find out when) to wear the flag on the right shoulder and to wear that flag with canton on the left. That’s our “decided” way. Whether at the time it was because we didn’t want to imitate the military (doubtful) or to actually imitate the military (probable) is moot. That was the BSA’s decision. So what if the military wears it differently now? It’s a non-sequintor. The BSA isn’t military and the military isn’t BSA.”

    A complete (as complete as I could make it…I’ll be adding Peter’s great comments to that page) description is found on my Badge and Uniform Site at http://www.scoutinsignia.com/usflag.htm

    1957 is when we started wearing the optional U.S. flag emblem. Over the years, it was available in two sizes: the smaller version with the blue border for all of our field uniforms; and a larger version with a white border for wear on Exploring “distinctive dress identity (DDI)” and jackets and jac-shirts. Same location (except for a period of time in which Cub Scouts and WEBELOS Cub Scouts would wear it immediately above the “Cubs-BSA” or “Boy Scouts of America” strip on their uniform because the WEBELOS badge colors got in in the way on the right shoulder. The BSA changed this in 1976 or so to “straighten out the bar” , permitting it to be worn below the U.S. Flag emblem).

    • Nice website. This your site? Thanks for dates. We need (and by “we” I mean the BSA) needs a Wiki page on Scouting to preserve history like this.

      Appreciate all of your comments over the last few days. Very insightful. Thumbs up.

      • Yep. The Badge and Uniform Site (long name: “The Unofficial Badge and Uniform Site”) was and continue to be my major contribution to the U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. and to the BSA in general. While I edit and code every page, the content comes from lots of Scouters, people at the BSA’s Supply and Program Groups, and discussion from Scouts-L and other online forums. I beg, borrow and collect (you thought I was going to say “steal…” but Scouts don’t steal. If there’s something I don’t have permission to use, I’ll buy or trade for it and therefore it becomes mine to take a photo or scan and post. Most people have been generous and the BSA, once they’ve warmed up to the idea of a fullcolor “insignia guide”, has helped me with getting things right.

        • I know this off topic (and I’ve posted a lot here already, but I love sites like yours.
          This site, for example, keeps a track of the changes in the books: http://www.troop97.net/bshb1.htm

          Know of any more?

  21. The flag patch is a replica. You don’t salute it when a Scout walks past, you don’t raise it or lower it or fly it at half mast and you don’t burn a Scout shirt when it is unserviceable. Ditto for those little flag replicas used as table decorations.

    Only the US Army wears the flag in the reverse manner, and only recently- some units wore the standard flag patch during World War II.

    The answer regarding imitation of military uniforms is rather disingenuous and really not needed. The BSA doesn’t do it because we aren’t the US Army. When the US Arm battle dress uniform was introduced in the 1980s, some general decided that rolling sleeves up as usual wasn’t right since the lighter color showed, so the regulations were change to roll sleeves to keep the camouflage outside. Do we follow that rule?

    And yes, I have seen some folks wearing the reverse flag on the Scout uniform and you can’t convince them they are wrong. And then there are some who insist on using military salute commands (present arms, order arms) for no discernible reason at Scouting events.

    (former SSG, US Army, disabled veteran, combat veteran)

    • Thumbs up, Ed.

      But I must quibble over the “replica” statements. At what point does a flag become a replica? If size, what size would that be? I think the US flag is a US flag when it meets all the dimensions and colors. Is its ratio 1:1.9, red-white-blue, 50 stars, blue canton, 13 stripes alternating red/white? Then no matter if it’s a picture, patch, table size or San Francisco bridge size, plastic, fabric or kevlar, it’s the flag.

      Of course by this definition, the “camouflage” flags on military uniforms aren’t flags but only “symbols” of our flag … so I’m not sure if my definition holds.

      • At the point of it is a patch or symbol, the flag is a flag, the scout uniform patch is a symbol too, I don’t see 50 stars.

        • Just checked my cub scout’s uniform and my uniform. Both have 50 stars. My eyesight isn’t that bad yet. :)

    • I agree with Ed that military stuff needs to be aligned with military stuff and Scouting stuff maintained with Scouting stuff. But here’s where I part company: Ed wrote in part: “And yes, I have seen some folks wearing the reverse flag on the Scout uniform and you can’t convince them they are wrong. And then there are some who insist on using military salute commands (present arms, order arms) for no discernible reason at Scouting events.”

      The first, yeah, I’ve been engaged with some fella who definitely wants to argue with me and keep it going for some time. We’ve been trading emails every time he gets a “new argument” and I give him the same responses back in rebuttal every time. The second, however, well…Ed’s not exactly right with this.

      Many of the ceremonies which Scouts perform today have roots in the military we both served within, and in particular the Army and Navy. Commands like “present arms” and “order arms” or simply “one”, “two” come from those earlier Army and Navy personnel. Over time, “Present Arms” made its’ way to “Scout Salute”; while “Order Arms” became either “Two” (not “TOO!, but TWO as in “one — the Scout renders the salute; and two – the Scout recovers the salute) or more recently “Recover” as I’ve heard a Senior Patrol Leader command at a Troop meeting a week or so ago.

  22. Good explanation – I have always heard that the blue was to be worn closest to your heard thus the reason for the “backwards” flag on right shoulder. I am not a veteran but a am firefighter and I am sure that there are some out there who don’t wear the “backwards” flag, but almost every firefighter’s uniform has the backwards flag and we are not military. I thought that if the flag was worn on the left sleeve than it would be blue field to the front like we would expect, but when uniforms started having the flags on the right shoulder, the “backwards” flag became more prevalent.

  23. Remember, we’re involved in teaching young people citizenship. For flag protocol, it’s real handy to having things consistent for them. When they hang the flag for display, it’s real handy to tell the boys to check their buddy’s patch!

    (Course, now I’ll have to make sure their “buddy” isn’t in military dress!)

  24. Eric Crimmins // March 11, 2014 at 12:15 pm // Reply

    As a veteran and Scouter I’ve never had an issue with how the flag is displayed on either the Scout uniform or the military uniform. Because both are right (more on that in a second), as mentioned the US Code is silent on how the flag should be worn. Only military regulations state the flag should be worn canton forward, and as someone already mentioned this didn’t even happen until sometime relatively recently (post WWII at the earliest, I’ve had the hardest time ever tracking the exact date down but there are multiple historical examples of canton to the left on a military right sleeve.) Really there are some that argue, both military and civilian, that the military is actually the one doing it wrong. Since the only document authorizing its wear as they do is a military document, they set their own rules. While the explanation and idea is romantic, there is no precedence in US Code for how it is worn. At the end of the day, the US Code is the actual federal law with regards to the flag and its use, display, and wear. Personally I’m fine with it either way, but I do grow tired of people that say we do it wrong.

  25. Of course, I will follow the rules of the BSA.. Why should I doubt Peter. “A scout is trustful.”.
    Arne Stream

  26. Gary Wilson // March 11, 2014 at 12:56 pm // Reply

    There’s a much simpler solution to a very silly question.

    Aside from the detachable American Flag brassard worn by paratroopers during World War II, the first sewn-on shoulder uniform flag patches were worn by NASA Astronauts and USAF aircrews in the 1960’s for rescue identification purposes.

    To solve the union proceeding first problem, we simply wear a conventional flag patch on the LEFT shoulder of our flight suits. That way, it both looks correct and the union is towards the front. Of course, the Army has division insignia there and Boy Scouts have troop numbers, but if it’s really all that important (it isn’t) they could have been moved to accommodate the flag.

    BTW, US Army paratroopers wore a conventional facing flag patch on the right sleeve in World War II as shown in the following link. So even the US Army has been of two minds about it. It’s really time to worry about more important things, like what the flag stands for.

    http://www.paratrooper.be/articles/invasion-arm-flags/

    • Thank you Gary. That is the right answer. If that scrap of colorful cloth is more important than that of which it is supposed to remind us , then we have other problems (and we DO have those problems).
      Note: The original Scout uniform was not modeled after the army (British?) uniform, BP modeled it after hte South African Constabulary uniform (territorial police). See pg.150, “Matching Mountains with the Boy Scout Uniform”, Edward Reimer. The BSA copied that, and eventually surplus WW1 uni’s seemed to be available.
      As to the placement of a flag patch being similar to a flag in a parade, it depends on which way the wind is blowing. Hence, I would treat any patch placed on a human body’s covering (do nudists wear a uniform?) I would treat that like a wall, and hang the flag/patch accordingly.
      We had a Camporee recently with a Civil War theme and the souvenir patch sported a 34 star flag (and folks debated whether it should have been 36!) flying in the breeze, union to the RIGHT side as I view it. Looks good to me.

  27. It WOULD be so simple, right Gary? But it is not.

    The wearing of the nation’s flag emblem originally came forth because of the World Jamboree. World Organization of Scouting Movement (WOSM, the governing body of Scouting worldwide) had agreed that member nations during Jamborees would wear their nation’s flag emblem on the right shoulder of their uniform, if the nation had a national uniform.

    Wearing a flag emblem on the left shoulder would cause some issues, because they reserve that shoulder for “local identifying insignia” (in the BSA’s case, that’s where the local Council and unit insignia belongs). When one start wanting to change where stuff goes, a lot more than “here’s where we’re going to wear THAT now…” goes into play.

    Not simple at all.

  28. Of course, you do realize that the flag was not even worn on the Scout uniform for many years. Would have to research when it was added; but I do know we had to buy the flag and sew it on. Have been told, as noted here by another, the flag also was not always worn on the military uniform either. Still, since it is part of the Scout uniform now, leave it as it is, as it is less confusing when explaining how to display it to scouts according to the basic flag code. Blue field with stars to the left of the observer and the right of the wearer or display position.

  29. The new uniforms are garbage, the embroidered US Flag is even worse and aren’t the uniforms made in China anyway?

    • Then Steve, do us all a favor. Find one of the older uniforms and wear IT. You’ll find that it wears better, you get to sew on the BSA’s U.S. flag emblem ($2.00 at your local Scout Shop(tm) or trading post — or better yet, email your address to me at settummanque@yahoo.com and I’ll MAIL you a BSA U.S. flag emblem) and the older uniforms until 1993 were made by companies based in the USA. Please don’t complain about something if you’re not willing to work with a solution. And yes, if you wear the complete uniform from back then, you can wear it today — no “uniform police” will pull you over. The insignia placement as it exists TODAY, exists if you wear that older uniform however, except for the shoulder loops…

      • Darn, I can only give this comment 1 thumb’s up. You all help me with some more thumb’s up. :)

  30. BTW look at the Space Shuttle for a good reference. The flag is flying, signifying moving forward, just as the boys and scouters should be moving through their scouting career.

  31. CG wrote in part:
    “Saw your comments below a few minutes after my reply. Never say “never.” None in my collection spanning the period have flags anywhere except the shoulder, and none of my vintage Uniform Guides has it anywhere except the shoulder. Going off S Moore’s assertion that’s where they went “in the 1980s,” I pulled up the Boys’ Life archive and saw no photo evidence for his claim there. So both S Moore and I are wrong :P

    I can’t post photos here (Bryan correctly disabled that ability from his blog…*smiling*) however let me see if I can find old references to the U.S. Flag emblem “in the 70’s or early 80s”. If so, I will post the images on the Badge and Uniform Site. Bryan, if you could walk downstairs to Council Solutions (last time I visited the National offices, they were on the first floor and you guys were on the second floor…it may have changed since then!) and ask them to please find images of Cub Scouts wearing the U.S. Flag emblem above the pocket, this would help this discussion a bit!! Thanks!

    (as a reminder: I am NOT a national staffer….just some aged volunteer, a balding Black man who has a lot of interest in the BSA…*heheheheheheee*)

    • As a follow up to my previous post: because I’m not in Minnesota where all of my resources are, I’ve asked my Sweetie to please scan me some pages from various Insignia (Control) Guides as well as the Wolf Book from the 60s and 70s which illustrates the placement of the (optional) U.S. flag emblem on the Cub Scout uniform. This only applied to the Cub Scout uniform. I also did my own online search for Cub Scout uniforms from the 60s, 70s and 80s. I’m posting all of this on the Badge and Uniform Site in a couple of hours at http://www.scoutinsignia.com/usflag.htm — you have to go to the bottom of the page to see the photos and explaination…it will be linked.

      • We have a 1980s Cub Scout uniform in our troop’s collection of vintage uniforms.

        If you can’t trust Gary Coleman…
        http://www.amazon.com/Scouts-Honor-Gary-Coleman/dp/B000E3DFF0

        And two more photos from a quick search.
        http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3624/3675264368_9bd3be3fa6.jpg
        http://www.tilki.us/images/JFT_MBT_CubScouts_circa1980.jpg

        • I just checked my Cub Scout uniform from 1974, and it too has the flag above the right pocket. My Boy Scout uniform has it on the right sleeve.

      • I’m not debating or doubting you, just clarifying my previous error.

  32. It is not only the Army that wears the “reversed” flag. (Reversed from the standard orientation, although a real flag has both orientations when viewed from both directions). All of my fire department uniforms have a flag with the union to the right (part number FLAGREV from our uniform vendor) on the right sleeve. Many police departments also wear a flag on their right shoulder, and many of those use the “reversed” flag. For the Scout uniform, the authority is the Guide to Awards and Insignia. Page 25 shows a picture, describes the patch, and addresses the orientation. The “reversed” flag is not in compliance with the standard for wear on the BSA uniform.

    • Corrections officers too.

    • Daniel Lambert // June 17, 2014 at 8:11 pm // Reply

      It is not only the Army, Marine Corps, and Navy that wear the “reversed” flag, but all of the United States Armed Forces do. This kept bothering me. Many organizations wear the U.S. Flag “reversed”. Many Boy Scouts dream to enlist or be commissioned in the military, we (Boy Scouts of America) have very similar customs.

  33. The two pages — along with color illustration of the Cub Scout shirt showing the U.S. Flag emblem placed during that time — are located at http://www.scoutinsignia.com/usflag.htm and http://www.scoutinsignia.com/csflag.htm

    Hope that both pages add to this discussion!!

  34. Reblogged this on The Scoutmaster Minute and commented:
    A good look at our Flag and some thoughts on why the Boy Scouts of America and the United States Military (Army in particular) wear the flag of our Nation.

  35. Diana Morris // March 12, 2014 at 8:07 pm // Reply

    Excellent explanation, deduction and reasoning. Thank you!

  36. I thought we used to used to wear it above our pocket, like the one shown in previous comments.

    The military isn’t the only ones displaying the flag like that. Commercial airlines have had the US flag displayed the same way on their fuselage as long as I can remember.

    Saying we cannot imitate the military is a poor deduction is it not? The uniforms are para military; epaulets, olive drab pants, khaki shirts. I don’t understand the difference or where exactly the line is drawn.

    • First, which branch of the military? Many don’t sport the flag at all.
      Second, which class of uniform? The BSA field uniform is by no means a combat uniform. Some nickname it “Class A” (I guess because it can sport as much or more insignia than the typical military Class A uniform). There is no flag on the military “Class A” uniform.

      Should the boys imitate airplane fuselages, or the wall behind a speakers’ podium?

      It does imitate the military uniform in the sense that it’s purpose is to convey a story to the public in not-so-many words. But it also is intended to signify a peaceful endeavor. Some of us feel that the movement is mostly about retreating into, and gaining inspiration from, our precious wild lands.

  37. Wendy Scott // March 14, 2014 at 10:35 am // Reply

    Change the BSA uniform standard and wear it on the left shoulder. It would be closer to the wearer’s heart and also canton-forward.

    • Don’t quote me on this, but I believe its worn on the right shoulder because being on the right side of something is considered a position of honor. For example, in a military platoon formation, the squad leaders are always on the far right, the most senior of the leaders being in the front. Everyone else then forms off of them

  38. We should remove the flag from the right sleeve and have a flag about 1/2″ long as part of the “Boy Scouts of America” strip above the right pocket. (Like how many other scouting organizations in the world.) It would help reduce the clutter and “Christmas Tree” effect of the BSA uniform.

    • Gary Wilson // March 14, 2014 at 4:13 pm // Reply

      Very good idea!. This is the common method in Europe where I’ve seen such combined country and flag strips above the pocket! I even have one that says “DANMARK” in my collection that I bought in Copenhagen in 1965.

  39. And I’d just like to post that we had no flag on our uniform for 60 years, and no one mistook us for invading enemy army or anything other than scouts. (Every once in awhile while I am in uniform, someone at either a state park or national park will ask me a question as if I were an employee)

  40. The Army didn’t always have patches with the flag’s canton/union facing the wearer’s front. These paratroopers from the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment are wearing flag armbands/patches with the canton/union on the left.
    [img]http://ww2militaria.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/abn_armband.jpg[/img]

  41. Inner Prop // March 17, 2014 at 5:59 am // Reply

    I’m a fairly recently retired Major in the US Army National Guard and an Afghanistan Vet. It angers me to no end that the US military decided to make the patches backwards! It is wrong and it confuses people. I very strongly hope that no one else even considers adopting this. I don’t particularly care about the reasoning they give. It is not a flag on a pole and it is not waving. They wore them properly in World War II, why not now!

    • Thank you for your service Major. I agree that a canton on the Starboard Quarter, doesn’t look just right no matter which way the wind is blowing. Some people like to “change” just for “change sake”.

      • Uniforms have been changing for many different reasons throughout the years, This is not change for change sake, its a change in the regulation, for a specific reason. The regulation is quoted in the article. And the flag is not made backwards, if its worn on the right arm its in reverse view. And your correct it’s a patch not a flag, so how its displayed on the uniform becomes interpretive, and thats why they call this a debate. Dave B’s interpretation sounds sound too. I like it, So does the Army’s left sleeve reverse view. Wendy makes a good point on the left sleeve, All these points of view are interesting, but I would prefer to wear it correctly, with the canton facing front. Its also another opportunity to talk to people and create dialog about the flag, the uniform and about scouting in the USA. Isn’t that what its all about in the end?

    • I agree with you. And thank you for your service. The Army’s reasoning is flawed as well, for saying the flag is “flying as if the wearer was moving forward; that only works if the wind is blowing toward his face, if the wind was blowing from behind him the flag would look as it does on the scout uniform.

  42. scoutmaster45 // March 17, 2014 at 11:40 am // Reply

    Reblogged this on BSA Troop 45.

  43. Mike Rossander // March 19, 2014 at 12:18 am // Reply

    Not noted in the post above is that the US Army changed their rule in December 2005. During all my time in the service (before that obviously), the flag patch was always the conventional display with the blue field in top right regardless of which shoulder the patch was on.

    Yes, other non-military forces (police and fire) have also started to follow the reversed-flag practice. Those are recent innovations. (The paintings on vehicles such as planes and the Space Shuttle are not strictly analogous because they are trying to emulate the flag flown on a ship.)

    • Yes the flag flown on a pole, or a shop or plane. That’s why if it’s on the right shoulder, the canton would be out in front, and thereby look reversed. If it’s displayed on the left, the canton would also be out in front and look typically correct. It depends on the shoulder. The army regulation denotes this, the always moving Foward (denoting not retreating) is more of an add on. The point was to correct it’s display! But hey in the end it’s just a patch and not a flag. So either way is fine.

      • The US military doesn’t seem to have to follow the US Flag Code. They’ve made their own camouflaged version of the flag – which is against the US Flag Code. The military’s use of the flag on uniforms was not standard in 1990. During the Gulf War, some units used a flag, others did not. Some wore normal flag patches, some wore backward flag patches. And I think the first “camo” flags appeared back then, too. So it seems like the military has only recently sorted this all out – and to think that they are “proper” and the BSA is not is mistaken. The US Flag Code doesn’t address the proper placement of the canton of the flag on a uniform.

        • Gene Hart // March 19, 2014 at 3:28 pm //

          Yea that’s what I meant, the code does not address the canton. I was just throwing out the fact that it’s done differently for different reasons. The article is very good, it does make a great case for leaving it the way it is. My feeling is more personal.. I like the canton facing Foward as a tribute the the men and women that “always move Foward” and defend the nation. But as a good soldier I will abide by the BS BSA regulation. So I’m at peace with it! But I would like to change the regulation to reflect my wish that the patch be a tribute to those who serve. The uniform is a perfect place to do this in my opinion, I know others feel I’m way off, and that’s ok! Still like being a Scouter!

        • Gene Hart // March 19, 2014 at 3:31 pm //

          Sorry the BS was a typo, nothing ment to disparage the regulation

        • Ha! Funny. I read the BS BSA as “Boy Scouts Boy Scouts of America.” Guess my brain was in BSA mode.

          As to having the flag be a tribute to those who served, I think that’s limiting the flag in its scope. The flag is for those who served, those who didn’t, those who are citizens, those who serve in government, those who fought and fight for our freedoms who are not in the military (re: Martin Luther) and just for us average Joes and Janes. I think we can certainly read into the flag those who fought and died for us, but it encompasses a lot more and shouldn’t be limited IMHO.

        • I have to agree with Mike here. I wear the flag to pay respect to our nation.

        • Gene Hart // March 19, 2014 at 4:50 pm //

          I don’t disagree with Mikes point, the flag is for everybody, well everybody in the USA i guess, if the flag is worn on the uniform canton foward it does not preclude what you say it stands for, but does make a statement, I actually like the green and tan version of the flag, like what was done with troop numbers, moving away from red and white. Not to disrespect the flag, but make it personal to the BSA. I know the red white and blue and all is how it is, and I’ve seen that on uniforms too. But I just think the correct orientation for the right shoulder on any color is the it should be worn… Again, we’re talking about a patch, not an actual flag, it’s a rendering.. By the way, I have some I speak brooklyninese patches for the uniform too if anybody wants them.. It’s an easy language to learn.

        • Gary Wilson // June 14, 2014 at 4:20 pm //

          Actually it’s only the Army that went with a reversed canton.

      • I noticed a Military Cargo plane from Sweden at our local AFB and the Starboard flag was reversed. I would expect Denmark, Greece, Iceland, Beligum , even Vatican City and others use the reverse flag on the sides of their aircraft.

        • Gary Wilson // June 14, 2014 at 4:18 pm //

          As has been stated here many times before how a flag is displayed on a vehicle, shop or aircraft is totally irrelevant under the US Flag code to a patch on uniform. The recent US army internal reg wit a weird reversed flag isn’t followed by any of the other military services either.

  44. This thread goes to show how militarized the American culture has become, much to the dismay of our founding fathers strong warnings, and the reason for our nation’s low rating today in Global peace. The concern should not be whether the “flag is correctly sewn onto” a Boy Scouts uniform, but that we even, as a culture, have military “might” so interwoven into our moral fabric and more so into our political/economic model keeping USA as a war economy—even COMPARING a “Boy Scouts uniform” to that of a “solider”, as if a Boy Scout would be a “soldier” anymore than a Girl Scout or Victoria Secret’s model for that matter. Many of us are educated on the self-destructive glorification of our bloated MIC, and not bringing up our sons to be indoctrinated, inoculated into some blind obedience to violence as some form of “duty to God and Country”. We are bringing them up to be truly “morally straight” to understand God’s commandment you shalt not kill. This religiously radical/political overture interwoven into Scouting in the main reason many of us are wise enough to have our son go through Cub Scouts for the good part…environmental stewardship, “do your best”, be trustworthy etc….but hesitant to move onto Eagle Scouting. Too many of those young men are conditioned into the dark side of what is deemed “morally straight” for war profits. If we took the marching, militarized, over the edge “worship” of the flag thing, and target shooting out of Scouting, it would be a more positive overall experience for the boys, to shape them into more well rounded, global thinkers fighting nonviolently for clean air, clean water, a clean soul. “Service” to nation does NOT equate to military combat…anyone thinking so has been manipulated by media and “His-story”, where “his” story was to suit special interest turning USA into fascism police state today.

    • I’m willing to bet that 99.5% of American parents don’t come anywhere close to putting that much thought into Scouting, the Military, social/political expectations and what not. You’ve way over thought the issue, IMHO. The 1% of the 1% of the 1% of the Scouting population that read and post on this blog probably in no way represents anywhere near a majority in Scouting as you perceive.

      And a suggesting on writing/blogging: use a paragraph every so often. It helps us readers. Thx.

    • Are you serious? As with most organizations in the United States, the BSA is a fully voluntary membership organization. If you feel it doesn’t represent your values, you are fully able to go somewhere else. But I fail to understand why you must denigrate something many of us hold dear to our hearts, Military-Industrial Complex conspiracy theories and all. Actually, most of us can have the choice to join or not join thanks to that evil MIC. I bet you must have voted for Bush…

      • Am I “serious”? About what? The fact this article and thread reflects how militarized our nation has become? USA spends more than half the world combined on war/weapons, market spinning it to the American people as “protecting security and freedom” when it is all about the war economy we’ve built up at the expense of our “freedom and security”.

        This is not about my many shared “values” with BSA. My only child went to his Bridging Ceremony just last night where he walked across the bridge & “Arrow of Light” crossing over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. He has loved his experience, and I share MANY of the positive values of environmental stewardship–“leave no trace”, be clean in outdoor manners, careful with fire, be a conservationist ,minded citizen, do your best, be trustworthy, KIND, courteous, mentally awake, “morally straight”. The great outdoors, staying physically strong, he won First Place in Pinewood Derby…so many good things that kept us in it for past few years.

        But when, as a parent volunteer, I was asked to help recruit boys I was hit with the biggest reason families are increasingly shying away from signing up— The unsustainable connotation to a military mindset with the rather militarized march “Color Guard Attention!, Color Guard Forward March!, like some blind obedience to violent action. People are waking up to realization every shooting such as at the elementary school in CT, a Safeway, a cinema, recent army base in TX–ALL were 100% directly linked to negative influence of our military mindset for profit in wrong direction. It is NOT “morally straight”…and if you are insisting BSA should continue with this practice, YOU are the one hurting the organization and not “supporting” it, not I. If you wish to keep BSA intact, take out the mind numbing indoctrination seemingly making some of the boys stand like rigid straight soldiers, unable to think for themselves. Keep the good stuff in reflecting true “US citizenship”. You think voted for Bush? You’ve got to be kidding me! The minute that tyrant declared war onto the American people, was the minute the so called “terrorist” won. This piece did nothing to help the BSA cause, it did the opposite. “What great luck for those of us in power to have people that don’t think” -Adolf Hitler-

        • Gene Hart // April 4, 2014 at 7:13 pm //

          Glad I did not read your diatribe, only pices that showed my your ifnoriMce is only outdone by your stupidity. Too bad you will never be welcome in any place that horbors such resentment on your heart. Please feel free to go somewhere else so you can be your living self.

        • Gene Hart // April 4, 2014 at 7:17 pm //

          I hope your son did his bridging ceremony to the Girl Scouts because his dad should be the Den Mom!

        • Wow. All of you who are slamming “openeyed” are forgetting the part about being “helpful, friendly, courteous”. You don’t need to agree with him. But you don’t have to act like middle school children and start name calling. jeez.

        • Openeyed // April 4, 2014 at 11:06 pm //

          Thanks Dave B for your kind, courteous, respectful, friendly words. You’ve done a “good turn daily”! You must be a true “Scout”, unlike the others here. Funny though, you got the impression I am a “him”. No problem, I don’t get offended like apparently others do quite easily. You mention people name calling here act like middle school children. Have to say, as someone who volunteers weekly in an elementary school (kids younger than middle school)…The kids are better behaved than the few name callers here, and entirely more aware of what is going on in the world. Kids are innocent…until adults negatively influence them with certain violent beliefs, with violent video games, and our cultural “norms” I’ve already mentioned.

        • Openeyed // April 4, 2014 at 7:44 pm //

          There is no resentment harbored within my heart Gene, sounds like you may be passing on your own inner turmoil. I personally do not harbor enough misplaced anger, sense of misdirected “revenge” or uneducated political/economic acumen to believe in the elementary, trite and cliche marketing spin of our nations perpetual aggressive foreign policy as some form of “service to nation”. It is a highly unhealthy, unsustainable & frankly mentally unstable mindset that is bringing our nation to its knees today.

          I only landed on this thread due to researching and searching my moral soul and strong heart to make decision of going forth with my son moving from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. I would LOVE him to be able to do so….but his article and discussion is telling me it just might be a wise decision not to go forward with it. As a marketing professional myself who grew to Executive level within corporate America here in Silicon Valley,, I can tell you this piece just market spun business away from BSA, and caused many people to think long and hard about keeping their son in BSA. Or joining. Quite sad, is its author had the opposite objective.

        • T. Wilson // April 8, 2014 at 11:33 pm //

          The “You must have voted for Bush” comment was sarcasm… calling the president a tyrant who declared war on the American people doesn’t really help. You may believe that, and you are welcome to your belief, but I personally feel the office should be treated with respect. I don’t like Obama’s policies, but I’m not going to going around saying he’s a fascist dictator who’s turned our country into a communist welfare state (I don’t think that, but have seen many twitter/facebook/website comments that use that crummy terminology).

          You’ve made it clear you feel the BSA is “militarized” and part of an overall global military conspiracy. You are welcome to your opinion. I respectfully disagree with your worldview, as I am sure you are of mine. Thankfully we live in the USA, warts and all, and have that freedom to disagree. Self-discipline, in the form of standing at attention and formality for a color guard presentation does not, to me, equate to militarism. When I make my soccer team stand at attention for the national anthem, I don’t believe I’m indoctrinating them to become blindly obedient to your MIC, but teaching them how to respect certain customs of the United States.

          I don’t know where you get the fact that recent tragedies were “100% directly linked” to any form of military mindset. I thought it was the guns fault! (Sorry, sarcasm again).

          You do what you feel is best for your child. I personally feel you would be doing him a disservice by pulling him out of scouting simply because of your personal military focus. As stated in the Rules of BSA, imitation of military uniforms is prohibited. Most scouters will tell you that there is very little “military” relation. In my 7 years as a scout and 5 years as a scouter, I have seen (and done) nothing to relate scout activities to the military. I help my boys to respect the flag (as a citizen), be aware of civic duties (know your reps, vote when of age etc) and other basic citizenship qualities. Nothing which requires blind obedience or mind numbing indoctrination.

          “The most important object in Boy Scout training is
          to educate, not instruct.” – Robert Baden-Powell

          “The uniform makes for brotherhood, since when universally adopted it covers up all differences of class and country.” – Robert Baden-Powell

          And my 2 cents… the flag should be left as is currently displayed!

        • Openeyed // April 28, 2014 at 1:11 am //

          Try googling about how The Scouting movement itself was started…it is traced back to Robert Baden-Powell’s militarism and in fact has been historically criticized for it’s too-militaristic connotation with respect to the whole flag ceremony and potentially twisted message the boys may receive with what specifically “civic duty” mean. For sure, WAY too many of our people oppressively believe it could entail war, which is exceptionally morally un-straight and mentally un-awake, purposely implanted into young minds to suit special interest—namely, our anti-American bloated profitable MIC taking our nation down today. Seriously T. Wilson, THINK about the words to our National Anthem we shove down our people’s throats, its all about bombs and claiming our “flag was still there” due to those disgusting bombs. We continue to glorify violence for profit. I would love to see BSA stay intact for all the good it does do…..but can tell you firsthand as someone asked to help recruit. The number ONE thing increasingly keeping parents from having their sons join is DUE to a conscious awakening of the nationalism, militarism, imperialism bringing America down today…..and the oppressive myth anyone’s boy could or should go that sinful, psychotic route anymore than anyone’s daughter. There are certain “customs” of the USA of which are self-destructing, unsustainable. We need to take the marketing myth out that anyone has or could ever “die for our flag” or “freedom”…..before people will want to continue to have their sons or daughters “respect the flag” so to speak. There is nothing pro-American about waving our freaking flag around and claiming some “civic duty” to the dam thing. Have the boys pledge an allegiance to the world, to themselves, to “do their best” to be kind, gentle, caring, and not fall submissive in mind, body and soul to the unhealthy sense of supremacy or believing USA “owns the world” we’ve all been conditioned with. Take another look at the picture that was posted with this article….try to convince yourself there is nothing too militaristic with this picture. Time to move our people away from our glorification of war…..and stop calling those victims of violence “heroes”. It only insults their lives, the truth, our nation, our people….it insults reality itself. You are wrong if you think the CT school shooting and Safeway shooting were not both 100% directly related to our military mindset, that both of those young men were not negatively influenced by this. In the former case, they were his mother’s military weapons, she took him to shooting ranges (something BSA should NOT do anymore), he was addicted to some violent “Call of Duty” video game that carry’s the oppressive myth war is a “duty to country”, in the latter, he was approached by unethical military recruiters at college and that caused the emotional pollution. If we start target marketing Barbie dolls to girls dressed in fatigues jumping into their army trucks, perhaps have one of the Barbie dolls legs blown off, and label the toy “True Hero” we’d start seeing young women committing as many violent acts. Marketing is a powerful weapon, and BSA is doing its share of negative marketing with its marching, saluting, “civic duty” message.

      • “I’m willing to bet that 99.5% of American parents don’t come anywhere close to putting that much thought into Scouting, the Military, social/political expectations” EXACTLY Mikemenn….that’s precisely my point! Too many people remain apolitical, the “A” in that word standing for apathetic. A blind, uneducated “obedience” to believing in our self-destructive wars as some form of “service” to nation. What helped me is traveling to every continent in the world, and actively listening to what people have to say about US Foreign Policy. Wake up!

      • @Openeyed… I Googled “Boys Scouts History Military” and found nothing about it being historically criticized for “it’s too-militaristic connotation”… I did find this; “On the issue of militarism and Scouting, Baden-Powell said he had seen enough of war and that ‘…the boys should be kept away from the idea that they are being trained so that some day they might fight for their country. It is not war Scouting that is needed now, but peace Scouting'”.

        What “twisted message the boys may receive with what specifically “civic duty” mean. [sic]” do you refer to? I see nothing twisted in making sure you vote and know your representatives.

        “WAY too many of our people oppressively believe it (a flag ceremony) could entail war”… I have to be reading your comment incorrectly as I have never heard 1 person (nor “WAY too many”) ever equate a Boy Scout flag ceremony to readying children for war. Make whatever military equivolence you want, but I would strenuously argue the number of people that feel that way are in a super-minority.

        While I disagree with most of your comments, I will not flat out dismiss your thoughts. For the sake of decency, please do not dismiss mine and state that I am “wrong if you think the CT school shooting…”. I wasn’t there nor had any contact with any party involved. I suspect the same for you. For you to make as absolute that it was “100% directly related to our military mindset” seems oppositional to your “open mindset” theme you’ve been putting forward. I’ve read quite a bit about that incident. I’ve read not one report that firmly and directly attributes 100% (or 5% for that matter) of the cause on anything military. Yes, the kid played Call of Duty. It’s a horribly violent and evil (in my opinion) game. I do not let my kids near it. I do not believe any branch of the current US military (or MIC for that matter) endorses that particular video game as it is not close to anything “realistic”. I’m pretty sure the BSA doesn’t endorse it. His mother was never in the military and the weapons used were not his “mothers military weapons”. Granted the Bushmaster he used can be modified for combat use, but the specific weapon itself would not see the inside of a military shooting range, much less a battlefield. I do not understand where you can attribute “100%” fault to a “military mindset”. None of the official reports say a word about any such link. Mental illness (non-military related) was attributed as the primary cause.

        Anyhow, this has gotten way too far off topic. The flag is our national symbol and I will continue to teach my boys to respect the flag without any references to a Military-Industrial Complex.

    • Americanized culture, your kidding right! Uhhh, were Americans it’s our culture, go away

    • Yesterday's Scout // June 14, 2014 at 2:05 pm // Reply

      When I first crossed from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, in 1971, my BSA Handbook contained the statement, “My body strong to fight your battles.”

    • Wow, you’re joking right. Though in fairness I’m sure my Pack of Cub Scouts could successfully invade and hold most third world countries….Hard to type I’m laughing so hard.

      • Ugh, Cubmaster. NOOOO. We’ve been trying to ignore this guy who posted over 2 months ago and now you’ve opened up the proverbial can of worms again. So…. here it comes all over again.

        Learn from the web: don’t feed the trolls! :)

  45. Maybe you should read some more Gene Hart….learn about the American Culture that is destroying itself. Be a little more pro-American and realize there are changes we need to make…now, in order to prosper. I bet you think our biggest issue is “jobs and the economy”. Not quite….that issue is a mere symptom of our biggest issue, which you can see on great display within the budgetary pie at notmypriorites.org. Go ahead, make my day, check it out. Use your thinking cap. See the tiny slivers of pie dished out for “jobs and economy” in RIGHT direction, rather than our exploding so called “defense” budget?,

    With millions of Americans employed in the so called “defense” sector? If you really believe it has something to do with “defense”….you have no clue about what is transpiring in the world and our pivotal role in it. America has been sponsoring “terrorism” for decades, and there is nothing negative about saying so, its reality.

    Countries we once thought of as so “aggressive” or “oppressive” such as Germany and Japan now rank 15th and 5th most peaceful nations respectively in the world compared to USA slipping down to 88th, and even hitting 110th…., and its certainly not due to us “defending them” as misleading data would have us think. USA today, around the world, is being compared to Nazi 37. Time to stop our glorification of military, and teach kids there is nothing cool about being cowards hiding behind bombs and bullets.

    Try starting with the book “The American way of War” by Eugene Jarecki, learn how we’ve always taken our nation to war for entirely spurious reasons. Educate yourself on the truth. It will do your soul some good. Why do you think five of our founding fathers became highly anti-war,after their own horrific mistakes? They learned. “America will never we destroyed from the outside. If we falter, if we loose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves” – Abe Lincoln-

    • Your a loser! Please lose yourself from a high bridge! Abe Lincoln

      • No real name open eyed,
        Because people in prison like you don’t have names! They have numbers!

  46. Kelly Horton // April 5, 2014 at 9:09 am // Reply

    Is there any real reason for these comments to be on this forum? Perhaps you two should do something more productive on some other forum. When you loose focus of the boys in scouting, you are just off task.

    • amen, kelly. good reason for this forum to be moderated. emotions get the best of us and law #5 goes out the window.

      • Kelly’s remark likely refers to such comments of which Dave B insightfully pointed out as “childish”…using terms such as “stupid” or saying anyone on this thread are “in prison”, While there is nothing “productive” about comparing a Boy Scouts (or Girl Scouts, makes no difference) uniform with that of our victims of violence, a soldier, there is much value and goodness associated with the comments I’ve made to help create awareness about the number one reason BSA is having difficulty recruiting more families in increasingly more and more pockets of America today—because of this militarized connotation which does not belong in the organization, as MANY families are realizing that “morally straight” and “mentally awake” means thinking outside the box of what we’ve all been conditioned to believe is so alluringly American. Even the callous, outmoded political jargon using the term “served” when referring to any military combat is advocating violence we as a nation need to “do a good turn daily” & move away from. As a Den leader myself this year, that is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of wise parents thinking twice about moving onto Eagle Scout. As you mentioned mikemenn, 95.5% of parents “dont’t think” so deeply into the political/economic/social issues motivating anyone to show oppressive pictures of solders next to a Scout. You fell right into the exact message I try to convey here. Our media keeps people misinformed rather than what people think it does, as CNN, Fox, ABC and most every “news” channel is owned by one of 3 huge war profiteering giants purposely keeping you programmed like robots. So carry on comparing that American flag soaked in innocent blood with that of the Scouts…..continue being morally unstraight. If I can help change the consciousness of just one person….it could spread to many. That’s “productive”. Not into name calling, but listen to Cranberries song “Zombie”. A profound message lies in the lyrics.

  47. This Backwards Flag Patch stands for the OPPOSITE of what America represents, LIFE, LIBERTY and Pursuit of Happiness. It is a ANTI-AMERICAN PATCH. Reverse American Flag patches/stickers represent the Opposite Symbolic Meaning!!

    Be a real American and oppose this brainwashed atrocity that has many fooled by using the “blowing in the wind” story, save it for a real flag!! HONOR YOUR COUNTRY and preserve the high standards and morals we hold our country’s flag to!

  48. This is getting weird. Can we close this discussion?

    • Ed, it is getting weird. But Dareck’s comments need to be removed, not the thread closed. And some of us old folks don’t know to leave Trolls alone which just fans the flames. ugh. :<

  49. You people here (some) are honoring a backwards American flag? THIS is what’s wrong with America, people who worship their flag backwards and don’t have any problem with it as long as they know the wind story behind it. I wouldn’t wear it. I don’t represent a backwards America and I don’t Ban people or call them trolls when I don’t know how to argue something. Typical, name calling, change the subject….. I can’t help your brain hurts when someone tells you something that makes common sense when you take into play design and meaning of symbols etc, which other countries do this? Refrain from the name calling and debate like an adult.

  50. Dareck, et al – you have all made a mockery of this question/debate. How about a little compassion when listening to other’s opinions? How about simply stating that I understand but don’t agree? This debate has gone on far too long and gone down hill almost since day one. And just because the Military has a tradition or wears a uniform in a particular way doesn’t mean either we as Scouts have to or that the military is “backwards”.

    • OpeneyedAmerican // June 15, 2014 at 11:03 am // Reply

      The only thing “backwards” is our unsustainable culture of being such the unbrave nation hiding behind bombs & bullets & believing there is even a REASON to HAVE military…as well as the primitive notion a Boy Scout would or should be part of such oppression more than any Girl Scout. There shoul not even BE a concern what the dam flag looks like. Typical indoctrination of blind “obedience” to violence

  51. If anyone should know about patches it should be the scouts!!
    –Don’t confuse wearing a backwards flag to represent your country with a true historic story of following a flag into battle–however true that is–Patch design and meaning and historic stories are 2 different things. You’re wearing the backwards flag under the guise of a true story-AND FALLING FOR IT

  52. Explained // May 2, 2014 at 8:29 am // Reply

    This Backwards Flag Patch stands for the OPPOSITE of what America represents, LIFE, LIBERTY and Pursuit of Happiness. It is a ANTI-AMERICAN PATCH. Reverse American Flag patches/stickers represent the Opposite Symbolic Meaning!!
    The scouts of all people should know about patch design!!! Where are your morals?

    • Guys, guys. This guy is an internet Troll. Here’s the definition:

      “An Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”

      Stop feeding him. Ignore him. This is part of the internet. Don’t bother to reply to him. When you do, that’s exactly what he wants.

  53. Mike-
    Shut the front door, be a real American!! Oppose the filthy wind story and display your country’s flag correctly or don’t wear it at all and get court marshaled for not wearing your country’s flag backwards.. Typical backwards America–regardless of regulations, be a man and stand up for what’s right!!!

  54. What if the Honor Guard is marching with the wind? Does not the fly precede the hoist?

  55. scott palmer // June 14, 2014 at 6:05 pm // Reply

    Nobody has mentioned the American flag patch is on a shirt made over seas.

  56. So if the military patch is moving like into battle. What does the regular positioned patch says on a scout uniform. Resting?

    • OpeneyedAmerican // June 15, 2014 at 10:51 am // Reply

      How oppressive a question to even ask, reflective of how our violent culture for profit only & unsustainable military mindset has been so ingrained into the average Joe brains of the American people… One thinks type question can be “the norm”. As if a Boy Scout would be a “soldier” any more than a Girl Scout or “Ms USA” for that matter? Certainly no Scout raised mentally awake & morally straight as well as in touch with reality of political/economic model at drivers seat bringing USA down today . It’s a flag people, like every other flag in the world. Nothing to do w/our needless battles

  57. This is still going? I keep seeing mentions of “military”. The reverse flag patch is part of the Army uniform. The Air Force uses the standard flag patch on flight uniforms.

    http://cmsimg.airforcetimes.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=M6&Date=20120209&Category=NEWS&ArtNo=202090309&Ref=AR&MaxW=640&Border=0&Air-Force-preps-flight-attendants-VIP-trips

    And as best I can tell, the Navy and Marines don’t wear the flag patch.

  58. Aside from temporary armbands and such, members of the US military didn’t wear any US Flag patch on their uniform until the 1990’s when they began serving alongside A LOT of foreign services in the former Yugoslavia (more on that in a minute).

    Our local Sheriff Dept. wears a flag patch on the right breast opposite their badge, it is oriented with the canton upper left. Our local PD does not wear a US flag patch. I don’t know what our local FD wears. All of our local Veteran’s Organizations have “flipped” their patches to be canton forward since the Army made their change. But understand that ONLY the US Army and some air crew of other services wear the flag as part of their standard field/utility/combat/camouflage uniform.

    I was a Marine Reservist for 23 years, for 20 of those years we shared a drill center with a US Army Reserve unit. During the peacekeeping missions in the former Yugoslavia that Army unit was on a 1-year rotation; 1/2 the unit was home drilling, the other 1/2 deployed. After 1 year they would flip. While in the US they wore no US Flag patch, but when deployed they were to put on a “reversed” flag patch. I asked a member who used to date my sister why the “backwards” flag; he told me it was an identification (other nations all wore flags to ID them) and security measure (canton left patches could be bought a lot of places, backwards flags were only from the Army). The paragraph about the flag advancing in the Army Regulations sounds like it was made up after the fact.

  59. As a Military “brat (and I’m saying that with pride) and an Army wife and a Cub Master, I have been asked the same by my scouts. Here’s my response (I didn’t know all the regulations.) Our soldiers move forward in in action (I do know why the flag on a military uniform is the way it is) to serve their country. It is the duty of the scout to be here at home “To do my DUTY to GOD And my Country To HELP other people.” The scout is to stand strong as if he were a flag mast holding his country’s flag in honor. Those who look at him and his acts will see a person who represents what our soldiers are in motion for.” And I truly believe that when I put on my own uniform!

  60. OBEY your conscience, you know it’s a backwards flag patch and you feel weird about it in your gut. Why do you think so many people ask about the meaning of it?

    The flying flag, and a patch being displayed backwards are TWO different things.

    Go ahead and keep degrading your country’s flag/brand/logo by wearing a backwards flag– sticking backwards flag stickers on everything all the while telling the youth of our great nation a story about a flag blowing in the wind.

    No one will win this argument unless you go with your morals.

    What you see and what you’re told are two different things, Some may see a backwards flag and may think the symbolic meaning of the flag is then opposite….no? Your brain is not functioning properly if you think it’s ok to get court marshaled for NOT displaying and wearing your BACKWARDS FLAG patch on your uniform.

    It’s just another way to get us bickering about something while we continue to bribe our way into other countries for their resources and regime change under the guise of humanitarianism. Now we’re back in Baghdad and in Africa. Open your minds people.

  61. Use your head, before someone else does.

  62. Tom Cushing // July 20, 2014 at 7:44 am // Reply

    If the scouts waht to look they are in retreat fine, I prefer to be advancing forward and still believe that to be the correct positin; blue field forward, stripes trailing behind. The NFL and others with stripes forward ought to look at the flags on lemos driving forward; which way is the field of blue as the car proceeds locate? Now you’ve got it. I say this as Historian for American Legion Post 66 Historian, former Star Boy Scout and Alum of the Skokie Indian Drum & Bugle Corps (National Champions of the 1950’s).

  63. That’s great!

  64. It’s STILL BACKWARDS. Look at it..

  65. Very interesting that another good arrival about an interesting topic and it brings out the uniform police and the let’s change the world. This nice arrival is just to inform why. Not to incite a large debate. Yes I understand that we as scouters don’t want our uniforms to be mistaken for military because they don’t want scouting to look like a military breading ground. Which is fine let JROTC and CAP deal with that but yes there is a standard to the scouting uniform. But there is no actual uniform police. No one will come up to you and say you got to see the District Executive for your out of uniform. I’m currently wearing a 15 star 15 stripe flag on my uniform for the bi-centinial of the national anthem this year. And a blue loop with white stars for the same reason. Yes its a double which is not of the standards to wear double items with the same meaning. But that being true. Then I couldn’t wear my eagle meadle on my Scouter’s shirt at nice functions like district dinner and court of houners because of my eagle knot. But go up to any junior scout and ask him what this red,white,and blue knot is for and they will most likely shrugs and say I don’t know. But put the medal up and they will most likely know its an eagle medal. And since no one will hull you to prision for something wrong on your uniform. There are people that do things even temporarily add things for respect of others to there uniform. For instance I did wear my old cadet Sargent major rank from JROTC and my PFC rank on my uniform for a month when one of my old scoutmasters passed away. He was a retired army Sergeant major. And yes I would get the questions why and I tell them. And if either of my grandfathers pass away I’ll do the same. If its to honor someone else or honor are service in some way then a slight addition even for a short time is fine. As the worst that would happen would be someone saying. “It shouldn’t be there” or “it doesn’t go there”. Then you say oh OK I’ll fix it later or you explain it. Then they go oh.

    Oh and by the way I was told that we got rid of the red loops becouse the look more military but our arm service have very little red and in fact at the time more green in there uniforms especially the forest green loop that rangers where on there uniform. Hmm

  66. There doesn’t need to be a paragraph about disrespecting your country–

    It’s about one’s own morals and what they believe in their head to be right and true. Do what’s right, don’t display your own country’s flag backwards, it’s all we have left.

  67. Lynda Carilli-Coil // October 12, 2014 at 12:23 pm // Reply

    I’m sorry but I’m calling bs on your response. Every flag I have ever seen on a uniform is just like the military. Police, fire, emts, and even security guards have it like its flowing, except the scouts. You deed a better reason. Flying backward on the scouts.

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