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Why is The US Flag reversed?

It isn't surprising that this question is being asked....far more media coverage of this war has lead to more people noticing that the US flag worn on the right arm by the troops appears to be reversed. Here are the reasons and customs.

 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.


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