Streamers Documentation
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Streamer Background


a. Battle honors were first depicted by inscribing the names of battles on the organizational color or guidon. On 25 August 1861, Major General John C. Fremont, commanding the Western Department, commended troops from Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri for their extraordinary service in the battle of Wilson's Creek, near Springfield, Missouri which had occurred 10 days earlier. The Union soldiers had fought a Confederate force five times as large and the battle ended in a moral victory for the Union Army. Fremont ordered the word ''Springfield'' to be emblazoned on the colors of the units involved in the fighting.

b. General Order 19, War Department, 22 February 1862, prescribed that there should be inscribed upon the color or guidons of all regiments and batteries the names of the battles in which they had borne a meritorious part.

c. On 7 February 1890, the use of inscribed battle honors upon the national and regimental colors was discontinued and engraved silver rings, now called silver bands, were authorized. This practice continued until 1918 when the silver bands were in short supply and the War Department authorized the Commanding General, American Expeditionary Forces (Gen. John J. Pershing) to locally procure ribbon as a substitute and inscribe on the ribbon strips the name of special battles and major operations that color bearing units of the AEF had been engaged in during World War I. These ribbon strips became the forerunners of our present day campaign streamers.

d. Hand embroidered silk streamers were introduced on 3 June 1920. The original directive prescribed that there would be a silk streamer for each war in which the organization participated in the theatre of operations and to be the color of the campaign ribbon for the different wars. The name of the battle or campaign of a war was embroidered on the ribbon.

e. Unit award streamers were also first authorized in 1920 when the War Department authorized a blue silk streamer with the name of the action embroidered thereon. The streamer was adopted to reflect organizations ''Mentioned In Orders'' by the War Department for meritorious service in action.

Current Streamers/Decorations

Only campaign streamers are displayed on the Army flag and they are 2 3/4 inches wide and 4 feet long. Streamers (2 3/4 inches wide and 3 feet in length) are currently authorized for display by organizations authorized a distinguishing flag to indicate the following:

a. Campaign Streamers. The streamer reflects campaign participation credit and is the campaign or service ribbon design authorized for the soldiers for that specific conflict or operation during the period. Organizations display the streamers on the colors for campaigns or service for which they have received campaign participation credit as shown on the unit's lineage and honors. The inscription is as shown on the unit's lineage and honors/statement of service. Campaign streamers displayed by organizations do not have the date of the campaign embroidered on the streamer unless it is part of the name (e.g. Mexico 1916-1917). The 189 campaign streamers displayed on the Army flag include the date of the action (with the exception of the last four streamers):

b. War Service Streamers/Battle Streamers. War service streamers without inscriptions were awarded during or prior to World War II to units located in the theater but did not participate in designated campaigns nor specified battles/locations. Prior to 1945, units may also have been awarded streamers for participation in battles other than designated campaigns. The lineage and honors and the inscription on the streamer indicates location and year rather than the designated campaign (e.g. Civil War Service may reflect ''GEORGIA 1863'' or WWI reflects ''LORRAINE 1918'' rather than the name of a designated campaign).

c. Unit Award Streamers. Unit award streamers indicate the unit has been awarded a unit decoration. Both foreign and U.S. decorations are reflected through the use of unit award streamers. In addition to the regular size unit award streamers for display by organizations authorized a distinguishing flag, unit award streamers (1 3/8 inches wide and 2 feet long) are displayed by separate units authorized a guidon. The inscription, normally location and/or date(s), is as indicated in the unit's lineage and honor statements.

d. Fourrageres, Lanyards, and Decorations. Fourrageres and/or Lanyards which have been awarded by foreign governments and shown on the unit's lineage and honors may be displayed on the flagstaff for ceremonial occasions. In addition, foreign decorations may be displayed on the applicable unit award streamer for ceremonial occasions.

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