Under current Army policy the appropriate sleeve, left or right, for wear of the U.S. flag patch is driven by the
type of operation involved. The flag patch is worn on the right sleeve during joint or multinational operations where the
distinguishing of individual national soldiers is desired and overrides tactical considerations. The flag patch is worn on
the left sleeve when deployed in support of a United Nations operation.
Regardless of which sleeve, the U.S. flag must always be displayed with the blue star field facing forward. There are thus
two separate flag patches in the Army inventory: the normal U.S. flag replica that is worn on the left sleeve, and what is
referred to as the "reversed field" flag patch, which is worn on the right sleeve.
The reversed flag is not confined to the Army, it is used in most military services. The "reversed field" is used on the
right so it looks as though the flag is blowing in the wind caused by forward movement. Some have suggested that if the traditional
flag were worn on the right shoulder, it would look like a soldier were running backward -- retreating. That might be overstating
it, but the philosophy is to show that soldiers and vehicles are moving ahead.
On vehicles, the flag decal has the union (the blue area with the stars) on the side closer to the front. On the left side
of a vehicle, the decal shows the flag with the union at the left, as usual. On the right side of a vehicle, the union is
on the right.
|Even Air Force One displays the reversed flag on the right side of the tail fin.
|Air Force One again, this time displaying the conventional flag on the left side of it's tail fin.