UNITED STATES ARMY
 

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POSITIONAL COLORS FOR SENIOR OFFICIALS
 

Notes
 

US Army positional colors differ from rank flags in that technically they identify an office or appointment rather than a specific individual or military rank. For example, retired general officers are permitted to display their rank flags on appropriate occasions such as military ceremonies, but a former Chief of Staff of the Army is not entitled to display the positional color of that appointment after leaving it.

Colors for the senior civilian leadership of the Army all feature the Coat of Arms of the United States as their principal charge. In common with most other positional flags of government departments, they have a star in each corner. These colors are the same as those  used by the Secretary, Under Secretary and Assistant Secretaries of War prior to the creation of the Department of Defense. The color for Principal Staff Assistants was introduced after World War II.

The color of the Chief of Staff dates from early in the twentieth century, though prior to World War II it bore two, three or four stars according to the Chief's rank. (Today the Chief of Staff is always a four-star general.) The color of the Vice Chief of Staff was introduced after World War II. Both colors feature as their principal charge the insignia of the General Staff in proper colors.

The color of the Director of the Army Staff and Assistant Chiefs of Staff also dates from early in the twentieth century; previously it displayed white stars to denote rank: two flanking the insignia for a major general and one above the insignia for a brigadier general. Yellow and black are the branch colors of the General Staff. The colors of the insignia are the same as those of the collar badges worn by General Staff officers.

The Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) is the senior enlisted advisor to the Chief of Staff. The SMA color was introduced in 1999; it displays a representation of the SMA collar insignia on a field divided diagonally, red and white, like the Chief of Staff's color. The SMA is the only enlisted soldier in the Army authorized to display a positional color.

Positional colors are made of rayon banner cloth with embroidered insignia and 2 1/2-inch fringe. For the Secretary, Undersecretary and Assistant Secretaries of the Army, and the Chief and Vice Chief of Staff, dimensions are 4 feet 4 inches at the hoist by 5 feet 6 inches on the fly (plus fringe). All other positional colors are 3 feet at the hoist by 4 feet on the fly (plus fringe).

Note on the Music: Senior government officials, including those of the Department of the Army, are entitled to musical honors on occasions of ceremony: four ruffles and flourishes followed by the grandioso (last 32 bars) of "The Stars and Stripes Forever." The Chief of Staff and his immediate subordinates receive ruffles and flourishes according to rank followed by the "General's March." No formal musical honors are accorded to the Sergeant Major of the Army.  On this page, the United States Army Ceremonial Band sounds honors for senior government officials.
 



 

CIVILIAN OFFICIALS

 

SECRETARY OF THE ARMY

 

UNDER SECRETARY OF THE ARMY

 

ASSISTANT SECRETARIES OF THE ARMY

 

PRINCIPAL STAFF ASSISTANTS TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY

 

SENIOR MILITARY STAFF

 

CHIEF OF STAFF, US ARMY

 

VICE CHIEF OF STAFF, US ARMY

 

DIRECTOR OF THE ARMY STAFF
ASSISTANT CHIEFS OF STAFF
 

 

SERGEANT MAJOR OF THE ARMY

 



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