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 62 (of the 13th edition), 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.


    • I must admit, I am not a military man, so I can’t comment on how questions are usually officially answered. But i must admit that was a wonderful, well thought, well worded response. I just wish my kids would respond so eloquently when i ask them why my car is on fire and not parked where I left it!!! lol 😉

    • The backwards flag patch ceases to be emblematic of the sponsoring country when it is inverted or backwards. Wake up!

      • Actually, the US flag upside down does NOT cease to be emblematic of the US. It is NOT an insult to the US. The US flag flown upside down is indicative of extreme trouble.

  1. 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.

    • “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.”

      What? Wearing a backwards flag, wake up!! When you display a country’s flag backwards, it ceases to legally be emblematic of the sponsoring country. Helloooooo? Don’t get brainwashed, wake up and be REAL American’s!!!

    • Funny Don. Satanists like to reverse things around, hence the cross… Same thing with corrupt America. Dollar Crisis coming soon!!

  2. 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 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)

      • 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 😛

      • 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?


        • The inside front cover of the 1978 Wolf Cub Scout Handbook shows the flag above the right pocket. I just grabbed the first handbook I found from the era in question.

      • Dear Mr. Bash the American flag and desecrate it guy. Chris, wake up and smell the coffee, a backwards flag patch or sticker legally ceases to be emblematic of the sponsoring county….THINK!!!

      • In Cub Scout books from the 50’s. The flag was not worn, or at least didn’t come with a flag. On the right sleeve was your den number. So maybe, although not shown in the handbooks of the day, there was a flag worn over the right pocket, above the Cub Scouts of America insignia strip.

      • Excuse me, skip, but you are only thinking of *pictures* of the flag. The “normal” appearance (stars on the top-Left) is due to the direction we write in… top-to-bottom, left-to-right. The real flag is two-sided. The flagpole, or “hoist”, is the front (“leading”) edge, so it’s depicted first.

        For more info, check out some flag-related and heraldry-related articles:

      • This isn’t an atrocity, any more than the military’s use of the reverse flag is an atrocity. My view is that the logic applied in utilization of the reverse flag on the right sleeve makes the point in acknowledging the bravery encouraged and displayed in our military.

        Given that bravery is the 10th point of the Scout Law, when I will sew the reverse flag on my uniform, I’ll be explaining that this is specifically patriotic, and acknowledging the value very clearly conveyed by the Scout Law, not impersonating the military. Not disrespecting our flag AT ALL.

        If this is an issue that would exclude an Eagle Scout with a Silver Palm from leading my son’s den, well, that’s up to each individual’s capacity for critical judgement based on their own self-centered point of view.

        I will not encouraging others to do what I do, but I will readily discussing the value I see in the bravery my fellow countrymen, and note that my wearing of the reverse flag is a tribute to my country’s bravery.

        This isn’t an atrocity, Skip. The first step towards both hypocrisy and despair are the same: ignoring the capacity for good in others. I hope my explanation, while contradictory to what the Scout Exec explained, shows that I very clearly love my country, the BSA, and my fellow man.

        • It sounds to me that you just can’t be happy following the scout rules.
          If you wish to honor the Armed Services then a better way would to create a patch to hang over the right breast pocket like we would for an event.
          Until the rules are changed I would think that maintaining the common look would further enhance our solidarity with other scouts.

    • When I grow up it was on the left side it was on the left side and one one one was on the left side World War II it was on the left side and Vietnam and Korea only when George Bush the idiot got impounded at all sudden become backwards but if you look at it from the perspective that George Bush was looking at it Southern winds blew the flag Rose the left or right it’s the new generation the Pepsi generation they want to be any establishment question everything either that it was a quality control missed by George Bush the idiot check out the Apollo space mission check out history from 1960 everything was left to right only when George Bush decided to invade Iraq did we put it on backwards sort of her Terror at the union I think from the south cuz we live in the south and George Bush lives in the South and when he wakes up in the morning maybe he sees it backwards from the southern wind North we have the northern wind

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

    • I’m sure his reason for wearing a backwards flag is similar for my desire to wear one myself. My view: greater patriotism. Period.

      I don’t feel it’s worthwhile to press the BSA to change, but, I don’t think the BSA has always been ‘right’ on every issue. I love the BSA regardless. I also love the 10th point of the Scout Law, which I feel the reverse flag very emphatically represents in my view of my countrymen.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

        • If they specified that veterans only were allowed to wear the reverse flag, I will adjust. Until then, I’ll rant and say I wear it to symbolize the bravery of my countrymen, my family, and, hopefully, it will give me an opportunity to talk about it with the Scouts I’ll lead.

          Good points though, Gene, on my honor, I won’t be taking credit for the actions of others. Period.

          I think anyone enlisted or honorably discharged should get an additional knot, period, and everyone should know what that knot means. As far as honor, I think wearing the flag patch blue forward is a very intentional way of saying that, made even more so by those who argue against it. Our country was founded by men who were deemed traitors by the crown. Judge me as dishonorable because I wear a patch differently if you want, but, you’ll be wrong…. If it were to be specified as vets only for the reverse flag, the seam ripper will be employed post haste…

      • 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.

        • 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!

        • 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!

      • +1 Chris, well said. Not a vet, but I agree 100%. Why does this make so much sense, yet people so staunchly defending a “because somebody in authority said so” point of view?

        • BSA specifies wearing the Canton in the upper left. The US Army specifies wearing the Canton in the upper right. As a Scouter, the way that the US Army wears a flag patch has no relevance to the way the BSA wears the flag patch. Guys and gals, they are DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS.

          The story for the Army is that the manufacturer botched the first round of patch manufacture and the Army Chief of Staff made up a cock and bull story to cover the acquisition error. The Army believes that story ’cause it’s a good story, like Scouters believe the Unknown Scout story, it’s a good story.

          Could we please get past this gibberish of atrocities, insults to combat veterans, and destroying the American dream?

          Wear the flag patch the way your organization prescribes, and don’t make up silly reasons to lose your mind.

        • Peter,

          your response is discourteous, not friendly, lacks good cheer, and ignores my reason for wearing the reverse flag, which coincides with the explanation the military has, exemplifying bravery. You’ve failed to exemplify the Scout Law with your response. Horribly.

          Try your views on someone wearing a reverse flag to their face, and share their response if you accuse them of being silly, losing their mind, or, go Larry’s route, and call them anti-American. Be brave, hot shot, seriously. I’ll stick with “lost mind” explanation that it represents to me bravery of people who are NOT you, and cheerfully go on wearing it how I choose, because you can’t make me do different, and are too un-brave, and simply wrong, to try.

        • Rob, let me paraphrase your response, “neener, neener, you can’t make me do it different. I can wear the flag any way I want and you can’t stop me.” If that is an accurate description, then so be it. If it’s not accurate, then try leaving a different reply.

          The Army wears the flag the way the Army chooses. As a Scouter, I will wear the flag on my Scout uniform the way BSA directs. During my near 30 years of service in the US Navy, i occassionally wore an American flag on my sleeve, and periodically carried a firearm. I reserve the right to tease the Army over a senior officer making up stories to cover manufacturing defects. I reserve the right to smile at the explanations of why the Army becomes so animated when trying to explain the color of their berets, but I do not question the patriotism and dedication to service of my brothers and sisters in arms.

          If you don’t like the way BSA describes their uniforms, that’s your privilege. You want to wear your Scout shirt with the flag sewn on differently, no one will take you to Mast or Office Hours. No one will throw you in the brig or put you on bread & water for 3 days, or fine you. The worst that will happen is a fellow Scouter might give you an odd look and wonder if you got up on the wrong side of the bed this mornimg.

          Good evening.

        • Peter, your paraphrasing pretty much hit the nail squarely. Many posters here seem to act as though they are the last bastion of patriotism and that anyone who disagrees, well, paraphrasing you, well, they’ve lost their minds…

          Your last response is slightly less insulting than your first. Congratulations. I’ll offer my comparison of your point of view versus mine:

          Peter loves his point of view, while narcissistic-ally waving his DD-214 as proof that he’s more qualified to point out the shortfalls of others.

          Rob intentionally breaks rules of no consequence if there’s a point to breaking them or if there’s not much point in following them. My point is, as I stated previously and you ignored to avoid hindering your insults, is to lift up people who I’m humbled by, adding more meaning to wearing the patch. Those people I’m humbled by included you, in theory, before your rude responses.

          Maybe I have lost my mind. I haven’t sewn the damned patch on yet, haven’t even found one the right size yet, Gadsden & Culpepper has several, none look quite smart enough with the right border etc. So, now, though I’m ***considering*** going off the res & “making up silly reasons to lose my mind”, be assured, you won’t be included in them, rather, my father, my grandfather (gunner on the USS Bennion DD-662), and the scouts I lead will be the reasons, and the opportunity to proselytize about bravery and patriotism to a kid. What about your nonsense promotes the Scout Law? Or was it all about promoting you?

      • During the D-day invasion the US Paratroops wore American Flags on their uniforms and these flags were placed facing the same as the ones on our BSA uniforms. So does that make what they did and the sacrifices they made any less heroic because the flag was not placed the way a lot of people today feel it should be…not hardly!

        • Bobby, you’re missing the point entirely, but at least your opinion’s clear that you’re ready to look down your nose at anyone who wears a reverse flag falls short of your patriotism.

          Clearly, the reverse flag wasn’t a thing in the 1940s. Retreat wasn’t either. The reverse flag celebrates Americans who don’t retreat. You could test how someone who’s wearing one about how they feel about retreat with insults like others have presented before you. Best of luck, sport.

    • Agree 100% Bill. My father was a Gold Star Kid, and volunteered for service in Vietnam despite his eligibility for draft deferral as a child of someone who died as a result of military service. He joined the USMC in 1963.
      I’ll be wearing the reverse flag, because I’m proud of HIS bravery. I’m humbled by the bravery of others I see every day. I’m proud of it. I’m not a ‘wanna be’ imitator, those are shoes I admittedly can’t fill.

      But if it gives me a platform to argue about my pride in my country, it’s an unintended consequence, and my free speech rights will either carry the day, or I’ll be (worst case) given an ultimatum, which I doubt I’ll get…

      • Actually it sounds like you are doing all this arguing and going against the grain more to satisfy your own wanna-be desires than anything honoring others that you claim. Perhaps you should focus your energy on coming to terms with that.

        • This thread seems to have generated the same response as a poor Billy goat wandering out on a bridge. The thrashing and bellowing under the bridge is deafening.
          BSA has the BSA way of setting up a uniform, if others choose differently, so be it.

  9. 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,
      14 year old Boy Scout and Venturer

    • I served as Scoutmaster at summer camp recently. My SPL, a very straight up and organized young man, brought a tailored desert camo BDU outfit with him, which he wore the first day to go to flags. I knew his father was a Marine vet, and obviously he wanted to be like him. I had to take him aside and ask him to change into his Scout Class As. He said he hadn’t brought them!. I asked him, did he think he was at Basic Training? This was a Scout camp, not Camp Pendleton. I insisted he change into the Camp uniform (Scout shorts and Camp Tshirt, which he did have, We later arranged for the borrowing of some Scout uniform shirts from the Camp store for him. He finally understood that his desire to “be like dad” was worthy, but inappropriate in this situation. It was like he was “showing off” . No one else had any such attire. He understood that he would really “stand out”, but in the wrong way. He did wear the BDUs at other times, but not to meals and flag. He later earned the Outstanding Unit Scout and helped me earn my Scout Leader award for the week. But in Scout uniform.

      Our home Troop has a policy of Scout shirt, Scout trousers or “good” blue jeans. For CoH, and such, Scouts go out and buy the real Scout trou, or the matching Columbia cargo pants. A pair of pants is a pair of pants, and heck, the new cargo “Switch Backs ” are good to go in any situation, not just Scout meetings.

  10. 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.

    • 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?

    • The point, Gene, is that many of us do not agree that the “correct orientation of the flag as described by the Army” IS the correct orientation. This is not meant to cast aspersions on their bravery or patriotism, but simply on their uniform reg that specifies an orientation of the flag that violates the US Flag Code, which states that a flag displayed against a surface (so that only one side is seen) should be oriented with the field in the upper LEFT corner.

      The Army is not the final arbiter of the question; they CAN be wrong, and in my opinion, are.

  11. 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.

    • 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.

  12. 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.

    • 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.”

        • 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.

  13. 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”.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

    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.

  16. 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.

    • 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!)

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

    • 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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 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…

  24. 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.

  25. 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 😛 ”

    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*)

  26. 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.

    • 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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

  29. 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.

    • 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.

  30. 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)

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

        • 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!

        • 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 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

  34. 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-

        • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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!

        • 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.

    • 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! 🙂

  35. 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 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-

  36. 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.

      • 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.

  37. 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!

    • 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. :<

  38. 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.

  39. 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”.

    • 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

  40. 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

  41. 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.

  42. 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!!!

    • Patches and stickers that are made BACKWARDS////// NOT FLAGS. I’m talking patches and those backwards American Flag stickers…BS Demoralize your country while you sleepwalk around…

    • Almost everything is made over seas is exactly my POINT. America is losing ground. You know what the most printed English phrase in the world is? Made in China. HA! Now go put your backwards patch on and walk around like an idiot.

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

    • 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

  44. 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.

  45. 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!

  46. 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.

  47. 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).

  48. 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

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. The army got it wrong and try to justify taking possession of the botched uniforms by making a rule so it will be alright. Just another sign of the times.

  52. U.S. Code 36 Chapter 10 Section 175 (i) “displayed… the union should be uppermost… to the observer’s left”. BSA has the flag oriented according to the law. It would take another law, to repeal and replace the current law. Army Regulation’s apply to the Army. The Army didn’t read or observe the current law. If out Army veteran’s want to have the law changed, be my guest, but until then the BSA is correct in the flag placement.

    • So if it says U.S. Code 37 Chp 9 Sec175(I) “Jump off bridge” You’d do that too then.
      wake up and do what’s right! Preserve our flag and don’t display it backwards by using patches or stickers..wake up, you’re demoralizing your own country’s flag.

  53. Section 175 (I) is for the Flag displayed on a WALL, so that does not apply to a shoulder patch, you can take this a step further and ask why do the flags on civilian airplanes look the same Union Forward? Also another Issue I discovered with Scouts this year wile at summer camp at Cole Canoe Base in Michigan, is a violation of Section 175:
    • (g) When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.

    They used ONE pole to fly 3 nations flags, and had 2 under ours. very disrespectful!

    Also they had the military flags displayed in a line in the wrong order as well, which I pointed out, and they refused to correct. Which is in the following order,
    United States Army
    United States Marine Corps
    United States Navy
    United States Air Force
    United States Coast Guard

  54. Scouts from any number of nations utilize a national flag patch. The flag patches are easily associated with the particular country because they conform to the accepted appearance of the flags themselves. The Scout US Flag patch as presently constructed serves this purpose of recognition at international events.

  55. Let me throw some basics. I know that pretty much all of these has been said already but it’s better make a quick summary.

    1. Union is supposed to be on the upper left corner except
    2. When it’s on the right side of the vehicle etc. to symbolizes forward moving
    3. US Army has a good symbolic point to wear the flag as they do now
    4. And the Scouts wear the flag as it’s supposed to(union on the upper left corner)

    Only “issue” there is that why the flag is on the right shoulder. There’s been pointed out that left shoulder is already full of patches(is there something else I missed?) but for me that’s irrelevant because the flag always comes first. Doesn’t matter what patch you’re wearing, flag should be always the first thing before measuring who got the biggest and coolest patches where ever. It’s only a logical to have the flag on the left shoulder because of two things: Union and forward moving.

    But don’t mind me I’m just a Finn passing through.

  56. Lemme make it real quick.

    A patch, a design made by an artist. (heraldry) In this case it’s a symbol of our country, The American Flag. Display it properly and represent your country with Pride instead of the opposite. Display the design correctly unless you are an advocate for destroying the symbol of freedom and liberty. You are helping to degrade the meaning of America by wearing a flag patch backwards and you know it in your soul to be wrong. Listen to your conscience. Go burn a flag if you’re that anti-America.

    • Larry, united we stand. If I see someone desecrating a flag, you’ll have some catching up to do, because I’ll be the first one there ‘doing my best’ to make them regret it, it sounds like we’re united in love of country.

      But, If you’re going to be berating a Scout or a leader for wearing a reverse flag, well, best of luck, I’ll be helping defend them and their right to both do so and disagree with your hypocritical views. Congratulations on being so ultra-nationalistic that you’ve spun yourself into such vitriol over your position, and hate others who love the flag too, but don’t subscribe to your views. If I hated the flag, I wouldn’t wear it. Wouldn’t join Scouts. Wouldn’t argue over the significance of the bravery that to me, it represents, because of the people I know who’ve worn it.

      My explanation is that it celebrates bravery. It’s not destroyed, or even damaged, nor is anyone’s freedom or liberty. As far as the ‘meaning of America’, being degraded, I’m leading my son and a few kids that I’ve coached in youth soccer. I’m the son of a Gold Star Kid who served in the USMC and taught me how to fight and how to shoot, how to fish, and Wilderness Survival, and Plumbing merit badges (others counseled me on the other 35), so I think your ‘meaning of America’, and mine are different. You sound a bit like neo-nazis & white supremacists, honestly, but that’s my opinion, and it’s worth what you spent for it.

      My only advice: don’t tread on me……

  57. Very evident and self explanatory. Even that BSA is conmisioned by the Congress of the US, the rules of BSA states that our uniform can not be as the uniforms of the Department of Defense.

  58. I am a 15 year old, Star scout from Texas. Did you ever look at where your uniform was made? Mine and my fathers uniforms were made in Bangladesh, I don’t know the relationship between America and Bangladesh but I just thought people should look at where their uniform was made and ask them self if that country would make a scouts uniform like a soldiers uniform.

  59. Bunk – move it to the other sleeve or reverse the flag. It just makes everyone think that you are incapable of moving under your own power or are disrespectful to the flag.

  60. Our scoutmaster and his wife doesn’t want the scouts to wear camo at all even if its on their hiking boots.. I understand not wearing with the class a uniform but come on why cant the boys wear it with their troop t-shirts.They state that the scouts will be pushed to be in the army if they wear camo.. the camo pattern i am talking about is real tree and mossy oak pattern but they still say no. My husband and his father had been in scouting and eagles and even a silver beaver. My son and husband are hunters and do have camo winter jacket and hike boots.. So my husband said we are not purchasing diff. boots or sleeping bag just because they are camo that is crazy-we totally understand not to wear camo with the class a shirt but really.. I have seen other troops have camo pattern for their troop t-shirts.. What is your thoughts on this issue.. Is it just something our scoutmaster and his wife has a hang up on or is this a rule in the BSA Rules..

  61. “Comments to a colleague.” The blue field of stars should always be in the highest position of honor. When viewing the flag on a wall (as noted), the highest position of honor is the upper left when displayed horizontally, and at the top (upper right) when displayed vertically. When displayed on a “moving object” like a person or vehicle, the highest position of honor is the front, and not the rear; so the field of blue should be displayed to the front. The same principle applies to the eagle rank of Colonels (or Navy Captains); our eagles’ head is always worn facing forward when worn on our uniforms, as the forward-facing eagle is the position of honor within heraldry. In application, then, flags are displayed on moving vehicles with the blue-star field always displayed towards the front of the vehicle. In this way, the flag appears to be blowing in the wind as the vehicle travels forward (flags are always attached to their flag poles on the blue field side). If the flag were not reversed on the right hand side of the vehicle, the vehicle might appear to be moving backwards (or “retreating”). That’s why I state I wish the Scouts would adopt forward moving flag. The next time you visit an airport, take a look at a US-flagged aircraft which also have a “reverse” flag painted on the right side of the aircraft. For flag patches worn on uniforms, the same principle applies: the blue star field always faces towards the front, with the red and white stripes behind. Think of the flag, not as a patch, but as a loose flag attached to the Soldier’s or Scouts arm like a flag pole. As the Soldier or Scout moves forward, the red and white stripes will flow to the back.

  62. Just read this article, very well written, however… There are a few details about the imitation of military uniforms. The US military/department of defense does not own the rights to the wear of the flag patch though each branch does have literature for specifications on wear and appearance. Keep in mind that the reverse flag is worn on military uniforms during wartime…yes folks, we are still at war…with terrorism. Before GWOT, the field uniforms did not display the flag until 2003 on the right shoulder. Countries under NATO and UN service during combat wear their countries flag to identify themselves with allies.

    So to say the flag patch on the bearers right shoulder is imitating the military is misread. Imitation would be having the scout uniform designed exactly like the current uniform, hence wby in the past, the scout uniform looked like the doughnut uniforms. Now, with changes to design both scouting and military uniforms are far different in design. But, can this argument be the same towards wearing berets???

    To close my statement, if the scouting uniform will display the flag on the bearer’s right shoulder – then patch should be reversed, if not then switch it to the left. Most fire departments and police wear the non-reversed flag on the left shoulder.

    Food for thought.

  63. We periodically talk about BSA uniforms displaying the US flag “improperly” because the canton is in the upper left corner. I do hope that any and all folks that think that BSA has it “wrong”, or that the US Army field uniforms did not display the flag on the right shoulder until 2003, would explore the following videos of American paratroopers either in or preparing to go into harm’s way – at about 2:10,, Gen Gavin division commander at 1:42 and other paratroopers at 2:33.
    or google 82nd Airborne Normandy or 101st airborne ww2 holland and view the photo galleries.

    At least two US Army Divisions, engaged with the enemy, are wearing an oversized American flag on their right sleeves, with the canton clearly in the upper left.
    Do these soldiers, wearing “wrong” flags, look like they are retreating from battle? Of course not, they’re about to bring death and destruction to the Wehrmacht.

    I also have pictures of myself in a US Navy issued BDU uniform, woodlands camo pattern, overseas, carrying a loaded pistol, with an American flag, canton in the upper right corner, in the winter of 1999-2000. I shared many a meal with our allies in the Bundeswehr.

    All of the military services, plus every police department, are welcome to describe the proper way to wear that organization’s uniforms. All five armed services do just that, and all five services wear different uniforms differently.

    Why should the BSA be expected to follow the guidance of the US Military? We are not junior ROTC, we are not Sea Cadets, we are not the National Guard; we are the BSA and BSA is authorized to describe how to rig and wear BSA uniforms.

    Completely unrelated, but to really have your mind blown, see

    So could we put this discussion to bed? Please.

    Retired US Navy

  64. What a great way to Honor a BSA Volunteer that has served in the US Military . Make uniform the ‘advancing flag’ patch as an option for the Class A. Thanks to all the US VETS everywhere.
    May OUR GOD be with them as HE watches over us all.
    Thank you for your time
    Creek Co., USA.

  65. It’s seems like everything is turning backwards on us, including some peoples thinking–

    Rich people used to watch peasants for entertainment, we watch millionaires throw balls around now, some used to keep diaries about private things, now it’s on twitter of FB.

    The backwards American flag patch some of our American soldiers are wearing. The BS reason which is a true story, is that it symbolizes going into battle with wind blowing the flag. if you know about symbols and vexillology or care you’ll know, it’s backwards and represents a backwards America. Kinda like an upside down cross represents the anti Christ ya know?

    You know what’s backwards? Getting court marshaled for refusing to wear your countries flag backwards on your uniform, Thank God I was in the Marine Corps and didn’t have to wear a flag.

  66. §175. Position and manner of display

    (i) When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.

    Can’t find anything in U.S. Code: Title 4 – FLAG AND SEAL, SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, AND THE STATES about the backward flag, going into battle, the blue field next to the heart nor moving objects like people or cars.

    So, using the above provision of the U.S. Code.. The shoulder is a wall, so the way BSA is doing it is correct.

    The backward American Flag was added to the Army field uniform on February 3rd of 2005 by the Secretary of the Army, General Peter J. Schoomaker, United States Army Chief of Staff, under Regulation 670-1 (chapter 28, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia, which authorizes the wear of the reverse: side full-color U.S. Flag cloth replica on utility and organizational uniforms on a permanent basis). Unfortunately in doing this, General Schoomaker overstepped his authority while at the same time increasing the danger to our troops. Rank, insignia, and unit patches are “subdued” on camouflaged uniforms in order for our troops to remain unseen by the enemy. Incorporating a brightly colored flag on our soldiers’ field uniform gives the enemy a target.

    Stance then the practice of wearing the backward flag on the right shoulder is spreading like cancer throughout the nation.

    Eagle Scout (1974) and USCG (ret).

  67. For a reason we could never fathom, the family of one of our Scouts removed the US Flag from his new uniform and refused as well to put a troop-supplied WSOM insignia on the shirt.

  68. The “backwards flag” is no silly affectation. It is part of a well-planned and coordinated effort to subvert our national sovereignty. As pointed out, reversing the display of a nation’s flag can sometimes result in the flag becoming that of another nation. At any rate, it ceases to be a legally emblematic of the sponsoring nation. It is part of the body of the International Laws of Warfare that combatants not PROPERLY displaying the flag of their nation on their uniforms are not considered to be under the command and control of that nation. All this nonsense about a flag emblem sewn on a uniform not looking like a flag on a pole moving backwards is the most ridiculous and transparent non-reason that I can imagine to try to disguise the real intent. No rational 7-year old would buy such idiocy, but most adults will because they have had more years of government indoctrination. Because we are fighting a worldwide “War on Terrorism”, surrender of any and all of our rights, individual as well as national, is expected and will, almost universally, be gladly given.

  69. Having served in and retired from the Army and am also an Eagle Scout, I would like to point some thing out about all regulations including this one, its about how it’s interpreted for example:
    Article X, Section 4, Clause 4, Paragraph (b) of the Rules and regulations of the Boy Scouts of America:
    “Imitation of United States Army, Navy or Marine Corps uniforms is prohibited, in accordance with the provisions of the organizations Congressional Charter.”

    It says that the BSA uniform will not imitate any of the Armed forces uniforms.
    Changing the Flag on the BSA uniform would not imitate because the BSA uniforms are unique in them selves and do not resemble any uniform of the armed forces.

    Like I was saying it’s all about how a regulation interpreted and it’s the same thing that happens in all the armed forces of the United States one person can interpret a regulation one ways and somebody else will so do the same another way.
    But that’s the problem nobody can account or every contingency or scenario that comes up except for the main point of a regulation such as this one and that is the uniform cannot imitate the uniforms of the armed forces, but a change in the direction of the flag on the BSA uniform isn’t going to imitate the armed forces.


  70. I have been asking this questions for a long time and am glad to get an answer from someone qualified to give it. I am a chief of a volunteer fire dept and all the depts in our area wear the patch as the military does, are we wearing the wrong way ?

  71. Yes, it’s a backwards patch. Meaning the opposite of what it would mean if you were to turn it around. It’s similar to turning a cross upside down or reversing other symbols. It’s wrong and is demeaning to Americans!!

    • Little thought experiment – look at a flag pole, Stars and Stripes flying high. Breeze blows left to right and the canton is in the upper left. Now just imagine that the breeze changes and is blowing right to left. What do we see? A heathenistic, anti-American attack on all we hold dear? A hideous plot to destroy national sovereignty and pollute our precious bodily fluids?

      No, we see the OTHER SIDE of the flag and the canton is in the upper right.

      I don’t care what the US Army does with their shoulder flags. I wore a “backward” flag on my uniform when I carried a firearm for the US Navy overseas before 2001. It is an American flag regardless of the side visible.

  72. I have read several concerning post’s from this article. First the expert of the post did not take into the account the provision in 10 U.S. Code § 772 – When wearing by persons not on active duty authorized. Where it states (j) A person in any of the following categories may wear the uniform prescribed for that category: (1) Members of the Boy Scouts of America. This code gives the Boy Scouts of America permission to wear military uniforms.
    With the permission of wearing military uniforms we as a organization have to remember that the original scout uniform was a copy of the U.S. Army’s WWI uniform. Also the Question would arise should BSA adopt the current Army uniform? No, I say. There is no reason to adopt that uniform for a youth organization. As far as the Patch issue goes that is a mute point but BSA has direct control as to how they dictate the wear.
    The Next topic would be the person describing the Leaders Yelling at the boys and treating their troop as a Para-military organizing. This is wrong in so many ways. Most Para-military organizations need that type of discipline because they arise tasked with doing very hazardous jobs on an everyday basis. Talk to your council rep and get this nipped in the bud. It is not needed in scouting.

  73. So then whoever is for the backwards flag patch and representing a backwards America must not care about the Staff of Caduceus being used as the symbol of medicine even though it’s widely used in the occult world. The medical and news media need to learn about using the correct symbol, the rod of Asclepius, who was the God of healing and medicinal arts back in the Greek days. Go ahead and degrade your OWN country by wearing backwards flags and upside down crosses though…Carry on….Sheep.

  74. Both as an Eagle Scout and a Vet, while deployed overseas and having seen the military make the change to the flag and being curious. I pulled a book on the history of the flag and read that the real reason the military change the position was, it was an error, the flag maker messed up. Believe this or not it was an error and so the military adopted the idea that these colors never run. If you do not believe this check out WWII uniforms that have the flag on it. They are not reversed, and thus the Boy Scout are correct.

    • Mark S, can you share a source? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with displaying a flag, properly, respectfully, regardless of which way the wind blows it.

      I just read “Made In China” on the tag of my uniform. How do you feel about that? BSA absolutely unquestionably right there too?

  75. My son is full time National Guard. I asked him why the flag was “backwards” on his uniform. He said it’s because the flag “never retreats.”

  76. He should’ve said, if he’s awake, “I’m all for a backwards America and wear a backwards flag to show everyone I’m anti-American and I’m also guidon”. “I’m all for degrading the symbol of freedom and liberty and I’m trying to influence and destroy the fabric of the American Dream by degrading and demeaning the American flag by wearing the patch backwards”. I also enjoy upside down crosses and any other symbols that are reversed.”
    What an idiot! Display it properly and listen to your gut, you know it’s f’d up. Too bad more people aren’t against this atrocity of the backward flag stickers and patches. It’s just sad.

  77. Let’s remember that the flag emblem has not always been worn backwards on U. S. Military uniforms. In 2004 some bureaucrat who couldn’t discern the difference between a real flag, blowing in the wind and an emblem sewn on a uniform decided to change the code related to proper display of the flag on uniforms. I’ve thought that it looked ridiculous since the first time I saw one on a uniform. I understand the reasoning behind it, but I’m smart enough to know the difference between a flag and an emblem. I hope that we in Scouting continue to understand the difference and wear the flag properly on our uniforms.

    • Mr Bo,

      your comment states your opinion without the discourtesy of most of the others here.

      For the rest who dislike the reverse flag, claiming it ranged from crazy to traitorous, I felt that pointing out the very patriotic logic I could see in wearing a reverse flag seemed reasonable. As I said, mine’s still sewn on just as it came from the factory.

      Be more courteous in person than from behind your keyboard.

      The path to hypocrisy & despair begin with the same first step: ignoring the good in your world and your fellow man. I perceive a LOT of good, but I look for it and am humbled. Daily. I pray your poisonous vitriol isn’t shared with the Scouts you lead.

      • Dear Rob, If Mr Bo’s comments qualify as poisonous vitriol, I shudder to think how you would respond to language used outside a Scouting environment.

        It is most pleasing to us that you have chosen to wear the flag emblem on your Scout uniform shirt in the way that BSA strongly recommends. And thank you for your father’s service.

  78. Reversing a symbol disrupts the harmony of the original. Most Satanists do this by turning the cross upside down or reading the Lord’s Prayer backwards. The backwards flag patch and stickers mean we are living in a backwards America and people don’t even know what they’re advertising when the display our country’s flag backwards. Save the wind story, you sheep, and wake up to the fact that the social scientists are ramping up patriotism before the SHTF. get ready for the altimatum that is ” You’re either with us or against us” coming soon.

  79. It’s easy to control patriots and shed a bad light on them. Just tell the population we’re in a war against a bad guy, Denounce the TRUE patriots and accuse them of being un-patriotic for not supporting an unnecessary war.

  80. Hopefully other comments above which digressed will not prevent further discussion on the subject matter. The recent revision of the Boy Scout uniform is very sharp! Kudos to the designers!

    I’m an Eagle Scout and a Vet, and I fully understand and agree that the Boy Scout uniform should not mimic a Military uniform, so let me be clear that my opinion is not influenced by that.

    With that said, let’s face it, the Boy Scout uniform looks more professional with the flag appearing to fly as Scouts march forward. I hope the decision to keep the flag in its current configuration is not solely made to maintain as much difference from a military uniform as possible, and will instead consider the aesthetic benefit of flipping the flag around on the Boy Scout uniform. It just looks sharper!

  81. 1) BSA flag patch pre-dated the US Army’s adoption of the “backwards flag” patch. The Army USED TO have “forwards” flags too.

    2) Flags that are hung (and I would put patches in that condition) are to be hung with the union at the flag’s own upper right. The viewer’s upper left. Like BSA’s.

    3) The one exception is for a VEHICLE flag, where the union is at the top next to the pole regardless of whether you view it from right or left. Used for automobile flags, aircraft and ship decals, etc.

    4) So, the charging-ahead Army uses the Vehicle option for a forward-moving flag on its BDUs. Other than the fact that someone signed the regulation, that doesn’t make it RIGHT.

    5) On my Air Force flight suit, the flag is on the LEFT sleeve. The union is on the flag’s own upper right, like every flag should be hung. AND it also has the union in the direction of motion. Why did the Army pick right shoulder and backwards flag? Um … no reason *I* can fathom!

    I’m embarrassed every time I see this patch on an Army uniform. This is NOT a BSA problem, not a MILITARY problem, this is an ARMY problem.

    This does not in any impune the honor of Army soldiers. They are following a regulation, as they should. But why does the Army insist on the right shoulder and the backwards flag? Pretty strange.

    See this story about adding American flags back onto the uniform in 1972.

  82. The “backwards flag” is no silly affectation. It is part of a well-planned and coordinated effort to subvert our national sovereignty. As pointed out, reversing the display of a nation’s flag can sometimes result in the flag becoming that of another nation. At any rate, it ceases to be a legally emblematic of the sponsoring nation. It is part of the body of the International Laws of Warfare that combatants not PROPERLY displaying the flag of their nation on their uniforms are not considered to be under the command and control of that nation. All this nonsense about a flag emblem sewn on a uniform not looking like a flag on a pole moving backwards is the most ridiculous and transparent non-reason that I can imagine to try to disguise the real intent. No rational 7-year old would buy such idiocy, but most adults will because they have had more years of government indoctrination. Because we are fighting a worldwide “War on Terrorism”, surrender of any and all of our rights, individual as well as national, is expected and will, almost universally, be gladly given. But how can you fight a war on terrorism when terrorism itself is war? Open your mind and study who’s really in control of this corrupt gov’t. wake up.

  83. The United States Code was referred to in article. I wish you would add the entire code with all the language. The US flag is displayed with the blue field to the viewers upper left. The US Code outlines the law of the land.

    The US Army is in violation of that code. There are multiple fixes. Change the code. Add a penalty for violations, because there are none currently. Or wear the flag on the the left shoulder.

    Of all organizations the US Army should be the first to comply with law. But, they are the ones creating the issue. Regulations are easily changed, especially when they are wrong.

    • I cannot speak as fact, but the Flag Patch on the Right shoulder seems to have come from the American Armed Forces involvement with NATO peace keeping missions and the “Country ID” is placed the same for all, on the right shoulder. I have not engaged in the study of the Member Country flags to see if others may be reversed. In almost all other countries the “society” demands allegiance to the “king”, either as a democracy, theocracy, monarchy, and etcetera, however, The United States of America is a Republic, a democratic republic, but a Republic. In a Republic, the rights of the individual trump the rights of the country (not so in all those other governments). In an ancient manuscript of manners, it states (paraphrased), when you meet a greater man, and you are to accompany him, to do so, you should place your fore shoulder to his back. Translated, those with military service recognize, one step to the left and to the rear, whereby the “Strongest Arm” goes in advance and, with the sword arm unhindered, on the right.

      The Flag Code recognizes the aforementioned manners that “The Divine Providence” represented by the Blue field of stars should “fly” on its own right and in front of the red and white.

      As those with military experience should also recognize, the flag is placed on the coffin of the fallen with the field of blue over the left shoulder and the casket is carried feet first. Even in death, the right of the individual, “marching” to his own afterlife, is preeminent.

      If we want to change how the Flag Patch is affixed to a uniform, we might consider the most basic tenant of the Constitution of the United States of America, the right if every man, and display that right as Eminent by placing the “Flag Patch” on the left shoulder and push for the other NATO Members to recognize the man first and move all patches to the left shoulder. (But then, I believe every military passes in revue with the Commander in Chief on their right. Oh ya, the big guy on the right …. again.)

  84. Great answer.

    As a USAF retiree and a 45 year Veteran Scouter, I have often wondered why the US Flag was moved from it’s original position directly above the name tape above the right pocket in the Cub Scout and Boy Scout Uniforms my brothers and I wore as youth members.

    The Uniform and Insignia Guide used to indicate when it was correct and appropriate to remove the flag from the uniform.

    This proved especially useful for direct-service Councils with units in sovereign land on foreign soil.

    Sadly, that verbiage has vanished in the course of rewrites and newer editions of the guide.

    Yes, I am still serving, presently as a District Commissioner

  85. Ditto Bill Spencer’s comment above. A flag blows and floats in the breeze. It “points” whichever way God’s wind blows. A flag on a ship does not “point” forward. A flag in a parade doesn’t “point” forward just because the parade is walking in a given direction.
    A shirt shoulder or coat placard is like a wall. Mount the patch (a flag “replica”) on it the same way. The Flag Code details that very well. It still looks good.

    Oh, and thank you, Bill Heft.

  86. The Scout way of displaying the flag, and the military way of displaying the flag, on the uniform, both work for me… at his point if you reverse either one… it kind of looks weird.

  87. I am a veteran. I served during Viet Nam. (I do not want honor I did not earn. I was Airborne – ready and willing, but was stationed stateside) I was in the Boy Scouts before enlisting is the ARMY.

    The Flag code does give the Scouts and other Patriotic groups the right to wear the flag. It does not give it the right to wear it disrespectfully. I’m sorry, but the code specifically says the flag is to always be displayed in THE MOST HONORABLE fashion. This means the blue and stars in the upper left when stationary, higher than other flags, and always at and to the front when in motion. The Boy Scouts have their flag patch with the blue to the rear. That is in a position of dishonor, whether you want to accept it or not, it is. Just because the powers that were/are in the Boy Scouts do not understand the correct way to display our flag, that does not make it OK, let alone right, for the Boy Scouts to wear the flag in such a disrespectful manner.

    An argument that the Scouts cannot wear it correctly because it would be copying a military uniform could just as easily be used to justify wearing the flag in any other disrespectful manner. That argument does not hold water.

    I thought the Boy Scouts always did their best to honor their country. “On my honor, I will do my best…” Please stop defending a past mistake. Let’s really do our best. Let’s start wearing the flag as the flag code states, in the position of honor, forward and to the front.

  88. At my Fire Department the Flag is worn with Stars facing forward. The answer given by Scouting HQ is in my opinion to avoid the logistical issue of changing the flag. My son just joined the scouts. His flag(and mine) will be displayed correctly.
    -John L
    Eagle Scout.

  89. Looking at the scout uniforms – in no way do they look to be imitating military uniforms. I do not accept the reason given as to why BSA display the US flag in retreat. Every flag on a flag pole is displayed stars front – they aren’t in battle either. Many company uniforms have US flag on them and they are stars forward – they aren’t in battle/ war. I think that the mass produced BSA uniforms just have the flag generically sewn on and it was a mistake that no one wants to admit or take blame for like most.

  90. Wearing the flag on a Scout uniform is optional, so I do not wear a flag on my uniform. The main reason I don’t is that ever since the BSA started allowing the flag to be sewn on the shirt, I have long considered it to be incorrect, backwards, so I don’t wear one. Am I unpatriotic? No, actually I am very much a patriot. I believe that our flag should fly free, from a pole or a staff. The main reason the flag code speaks of not having the flag on a sports uniform or other article of clothing is because it might then become “soiled” from active wear. You can imagine my objection to the printing of our flag on napkins, paper plates, and other disposable items.

  91. A couple of thoughts on the subject and the comments posted here. To me, some of the comments are fairly harsh and certainly do not follow tenets #4, #5 and #6 of the Scout Law. I’ll not post them due to brevity and let those not clearly remembering them so they can reacquaint themselves. To me, the flag appears backwards on the uniform and the rationale that it is opposite to the military as to not to appear copying is fairly weak. A Scout is always moving forward – be it in rank to attain Eagle or climbing Baldy at Philmont and the flag on the uniform should represent that spirit. That spirit should be in adult leadership as well, be it learning to become a better leader to instill good values in young people to attaining the Silver Beaver.

  92. As a veteran and scout leader, I have to say that I have to dissagree with the expert. There is a big difference between adopting to wear the flag on the scout uniform in the same manner that the military does on its uniform, and imitating the militarys uniform. Using that as an excuse for wearing it backwards is simply rediculous, illogical, and sounds like the so called expert is side stepping the issue due to misunderstanding. The reasons the military gives for the way they wear it are valid and logical. A flag has two sides, and if you are carrying a flag, which a person in uniform is doing, as you walk people on either side will see it with the blue field of stars at the front edge. A viewer to the right of the person carrying it would see it as the military wears it, not as the scouts do.The reasons given for how the scouts currently wear it based on what the flag code says are correcthe only if applied to stationary or static displays, but scouts in uniform are seldom stationary and definitely not static displays. To wear it correctly, I definitely feel the scouts should change.

  93. This has always and still does bother me. No matter how many times i see or hear someone try and rationalize the way the BSA wears it, I think the BSA logic is wrong and is just self-rationalization for their self justification purposes. The BSA reasoning logic is based on the rules for displaying the flag in a static or immobile display, but when you are wearing a flag as part of the arm of a uniform, ANY uniform regardless of if it is military, you are not a display, you are bearing the flag as if you are carrying it on a pole, and it should be worn as the military has reasoned and does. I am afraid that the BSA is grossly in error. Boy Scouts are not static, immobile displays.

  94. The irony that the BSA would be said to wearing the flag backwards is unbelievable considering it wad the standard way for the military as well until about 15 years ago. The Boy Scouts are required to learn proper display of the flag as part of citizenship. The star field is ALWAYS top left or to the pole side of a standard. There uniforms display it correctly. Where the modern military got of changing traditional display of the flag for some double talk about looking like your moving forward is beyond me. I speak ad an Eagle Scout and an 8 year veteran of the Airforce…when we didn’t rvem wear flags on our uniforms

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