The United States Army flag, established by Executive Order 10670 was dedicated and unfurled for the first time by Vice President Nixon on 14 June 1956, at Independence Hall, Philadelphia. The occasion marked the 181st anniversary of the establishment of the United States Army by the Continental Congress in 1775.
The flag background is white, 4 feet 4 inches by 5 feet 6 inches, with yellow fringe. Centered on the flag is a blue replica of the original War Office seal, now the seal of the Department of the Army. UNITED STATES ARMY is inscribed in white letters on a scarlet scroll beneath the seal. The year 1775 in blue numerals is below the scroll.
The central element is a Roman cuirass, a symbol of strength and defense. The United States flag, of a design used in the formative years of the Nation, and the other flag emphasize the role of the Army in the establishment of and the protection of the Nation. The sword, esponton (a type of half-pike formerly used by subordinate officers), musket, bayonet, cannon, cannon balls, mortar and mortar bombs are representative of traditional Army implements of battle. The drum and drumsticks are symbols of public notification of the Army's purpose and intent to serve the Nation and its people. The Phrygian cap (often called the Cap of Liberty) supported on the point of the unsheathed sword and the motto ''This We'll Defend'' on a scroll held by the rattlesnake, a symbol depicted on some American colonial flags, signify the Army's constant readiness to defend and preserve the United States.
The 187 streamers attached to the Army Flag staff denote the campaigns fought by the Army throughout our national history. Each streamer embroidered with the designation of the campaign and the year in which it occurred. The colors derive from the campaign ribbon authorized for service in that particular war. When the United States Army flag is not being carried, the streamers are arranged in such a manner that the first (LEXINGTON 1775) and the last (NEW DAWN 2010-2011) streamers are in the center facing forward and completely identifiable.
The concept of campaign streamers came to prominence in the Civil War when Army organizations embroidered the names of battles on their organizational colors. This was discontinued in 1890, when units were authorized to place silver bands, engraved with the names of the battles, around their flag staffs. When Expeditionary Forces units in World War I were unable to obtain silver bands, General Pershing authorized the use of small ribbons bearing the battle names. In 1921, Army organizations were authorized to use campaign streamers as now used with the Army flag. Streamers used on organizational colors and the Army display flag are three feet; those displayed on the Army ceremonial flag are four feet in length.
The 187 streamers on the Army flag represent participation in the following wars and campaigns. A modified set consisting of 39 streamers are attached to the Army display flag and the Army ceremonial flag under certain circumstances (See Chapter 4, AR 840-10). The correct order of display and inscriptions are shown in AR 840-10. Campaign streamers have been authorized for the following wars:
Revolutionary War: 16 Streamers - scarlet with a white center stripe.
War of 1812: 6 Streamers - scarlet with two white stripes.
Mexican War: 10 Streamers - green with a white center stripe.
Civil War: 25 Streamers - blue and gray, equally divided.
Indian Wars: 14 Streamers - scarlet with two black stripes.
War With Spain: 3 Streamers - yellow with two blue stripes.
China Relief Expedition: 3 Streamers - yellow with blue borders.
Philippine Insurrection: 11 Streamers - blue with two red stripes.
Mexican Expedition: 1 Streamer - yellow with a blue center stripe and green borders.
World War I: 13 Streamers - double rainbow.
Asiatic-Pacific Theater: 21 Streamers - yellow with a narrow blue, white and red center stripe and a narrow white, red and white stripe on each side.
American Theater: 1 Streamer - light with a narrow blue, white and red center stripe and a narrow white, red, black and white stripe on each side.
European-African-Middle Eastern Theater: 16 Streamers - green with a brown stripe on each edge. The center has a narrow blue, white and red stripe. On the upper portion is a narrow white and red stripe with a narrow white, black and white stripe on the lower portion.
Korean War: 10 Streamers - light blue bordered on each side with white and a white center stripe.
Vietnam: 17 Streamers - yellow bordered on each side with green and three red stripes in the center.
Dominican Republic: 1 Streamer.
Grenada: 1 Streamer.
Panama: 1 Streamer. The ribbon for these streamers is the Armed Forces Expeditionary. The ribbon is light blue with a narrow blue, white and red stripe in the center. On each edge is a narrow green, yellow, red and black stripe.
Southwest Asia: 3 Streamers – tan ribbon with a black border and center stripe. On side of the black center is a green stripe. A grouping of red, white and blue stripes are centered on each side.
Kosovo: 2 Streamers - five stripes of blue, red, white, blue and red.
Afghanistan Campaign: 4 Streamers – thirteen stripes bordered emerald and center stripe old glory blue. On each side scarlet, black, white, scarlet and white.
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary: 1 Streamer - fifteen stripes bordered bluebird and center stripe scarlet. On each side old glory blue, white, old glory blue, bluebird, golden yellow and bluebird.
Iraq: 7 Streamers - eleven stripes bordered scarlet and center stripe chamois. On each side white, green, white and black.