UNITED STATES NAVY
 

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CURRENT POSITION & RANK FLAGS
 

The US Navy's current rank flags are similar to those adopted during the Civil War, when admirals' ranks were finally introduced into the naval rank structure. Until early in World War II, there was a red flag with white stars and a white flag with blue stars corresponding to each blue flag. These red and white flags were used when two or more admirals of the same rank were present, blue denoting the senior admiral, red the next senior and white all others. The five-star flag for the rank of Fleet Admiral dates from later in World War II, and there were no corresponding red and white flags for this rank. White flags with blue stars were reintroduced postwar for admirals in non-executive branches of the Navy, such as the Medical Corps. Ceremonial/indoor versions of rank flags are made of heavyweight rayon banner cloth. The flag for the rank of Fleet Admiral measures 4 feet 4 inches at the hoist by 5 feet 6 inches on the fly, plus 2 1/2-inch fringe.  All other ceremonial/indoor rank flags measure 3 feet at the hoist by 4 feet on the fly plus 2 1/2-inch fringe. Outdoor/shipboard versions without fringe are authorized in various sizes.

The blue/red/white color rank is used for the flags of the Secretary, Under Secretary and Assistant Secretaries of the Navy, which date from the late nineteenth century. The flags of the Chief and Vice Chief of Naval Operations were introduced after World War II. The illustrations depict the indoor/parade versions of these flags; dimensions are measures 4 feet 4 inches at the hoist by 5 feet 6 inches on the fly, plus 2 1/2-inch fringe. Outdoor/shipboard versions without fringe are authorized in various sizes.

See also US Navy Broad Pennants & Rank Flags, 1800-1940.

Credit: My illustrations are based on information provided by FOTW Mailing List member Joseph McMillan.

Note on the Music: Senior government officials, including those of the Department of the Navy, 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." Flag officers of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard receive from one to four ruffles and flourishes according to rank (one per star; a full Admiral and an Admiral of the Fleet both receive four). When a full band is present, ruffles and flourishes are followed by the "Flag Officer's March." On this page, the United States Navy Band sounds honors for flag officers.

Images Added July 2012

Rank Flags for Ceremonial/Indoor Use
 


 

POSITIONAL COLORS

 

SECRETARY OF THE NAVY

 

UNDER SECRETARY OF THE NAVY

 

ASSISTANT SECRETARIES OF THE NAVY

 

CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS

 

VICE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS

 

RANK FLAGS
For Ceremonial & Indoor Use Ashore

 

FLEET ADMIRAL

 

ADMIRAL

 

VICE ADMIRAL

 

REAR ADMIRAL (UPPER HALF)

 

REAR ADMIRAL (LOWER HALF)

 

REAR ADMIRAL (LOWER HALF)    NON-EXECUTIVE BRANCHES

 

RANK FLAGS
For Use at Sea

 

FLEET ADMIRAL

ADMIRAL

VICE ADMIRAL

 

REAR ADMIRAL (UPPER HALF)

 

REAR ADMIRAL (LOWER HALF)

 

REAR ADMIRAL (UPPER HALF)    NON-EXECUTIVE BRANCHES
 



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