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Army Uniform Rule Requires Flag For All

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D-n-A

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Army Uniform Rule Requires Flag For All
By Lisa Burgess
Stars and Stripes
European Edition
February 24, 2004


ARLINGTON, Va. â ” Every soldier in the Army, not just those deployed, must now wear the U.S. flag insignia on his or her utility uniform, according to a new Army rule.

By tradition, soldiers don‘t sew the flag on the shoulder of their right uniform until they are deployed. As soon as they are back at their home station, the flag must come off.

But on Feb. 11, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker authorized the universal adoption of the insignia as a reminder to all soldiers that the Army is at war, according to Army spokesman Wayne Morse.

"We‘re more of an expeditionary force now," Morse said in a Friday telephone interview. "We‘re at war, and we will be for the foreseeable future."

There‘s another, more practical reason behind the new rule, Morse said: "It saves wear and tear on the uniform."

"Instead of having people tear the patch off when they get home [from a deployment], and then having to put it back on again, we‘re all going to wear it," he said.

Soldiers have until Oct. 1, 2005, to get the insignia sewn on their uniforms.

The flag Schoomaker has authorized for wear is the "reverse field" patch, in red, white and blue.

Subdued flags (those whose colors match either the woodland or desert camouflage Battle Dress Uniform) are not authorized.

Army regulations call for the flag to be sewn on the right sleeve, one half-inch below the shoulder seam. If a combat patch is also placed on the right shoulder, the flag is sewn 1/8 inch below the combat patch.

Soldiers can purchase the flags now at all Army Military Clothing Sales Stores, according to a news release sent out Thursday by the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES).

The flags will also be online at www.aafes.com after March 1, the release said.
 

clasper

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Originally posted by D-n-A:
[qb]
"We‘re more of an expeditionary force now," Morse said in a Friday telephone interview. "We‘re at war, and we will be for the foreseeable future."
[/qb]
I‘ve heard this argument before, and I find it infuriating. After 3 and a half years, I finally moved out of the US in the fall, so I could see first hand that the lifestyle of the average American has not changed one bit after the terrorist attacks, or with the deployment of their "expeditionary force". The average US citizen has not experienced any of the hallmarks of "a country at war"- no rationing, recycling, price freezing, massive industrial mobilizing, etc. Watching 4 hours of jingoism broadcast before the Super Bowl does not count as a lifestyle change.
 

Infanteer

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I‘ve heard this argument before, and I find it infuriating.
It is obviously directed at US servicemen. Considering that the US Army has 2/3 of its combat forces in some stage of the deployment cycle right now, I think this is a pretty accurate statement.
 

clasper

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S_Baker,

I‘m not disputing that the pace of operations for US personnel is significant. Possibly significant enough to warrant the wearing of the US flag insignia at all times (although I couldn‘t care less where and when you guys wear the flag- it is your tradition to change if you wish). What I take umbrage with is the use of the terms "expeditionary force" and "we‘re at war".

An expeditionary force, by definition, is designed for military operations abroad. An army spokesman in Washington cannot be part of one. You could be considered part of one while you were in Qatar (but I doubt there was much discussion about the "American Expediationary Force in Qatar"). The media probably referred to it as a "presence", or by its operational name. Using the term "expeditionary force" reminds us of previous such forces (WWI and WWII). The current deployments have less in common with those forces than they do with more modern deployments. I guess for me the distinguishing feature is the rotation of personnel in and out of the theatre. Members of the AEF in WWI were in Europe until the end of the war, not for a year long tour of duty. Same thing for the AEF in WWII. I don‘t think the forces in Vietnam were ever called an "expeditionary force", because the personnel were not there for the duration. Since the war on terrorism is a non-traditional war, I think it is incorrect to attribute a traditional term to describe it.

As for the "we‘re at war" comment, I just heard it from so many civilians that were decidedly NOT "at war" that the argument just rankles. Since this was an army spokesman quoted in the Stars and Stripes, I should probably relax a little on that one.

Cheers
 
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