General Officer Flags
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Chaplain General


In General Orders No. 13, 23 November 1887, by authority of the Secretary of War, officers of the Corps of Engineers were authorized to carry on boats belonging to the engineer works under their charge, a square scarlet flag, with a white castle in the center. These flags corresponded to those of the battalions of the engineers.

The original flags authorized for general officers were boat flags, scarlet in color. They were first authorized in War Department General Orders No. 4 dated 22 August 1903, for use of officers of the Army when making official visits to Navy vessels. The same provisions for boat flags were promulgated in Article XXVIII, paragraph 232 of Regulations for the Army of the United States, 1904, with amendment dated 31 December 1905. These same provisions were listed in Article XXVIII, paragraph 236 of Regulations for the Army of the United States dated 1908 as amended by War Department General Order 128 dated 12 August 1908, and the same provisions in paragraph 240 of the 1910 regulation for the Army of the United States.

The authorization of flags was further expanded to include automobile flags and field/office flags in 1923. Line officers had scarlet flags, staff officers normally had branch colors and branch insignia. Army Medical Corps General Officer flags were maroon with white stars and when the Chief of Chaplain position was established as a General Officer in 1941, a dark blue flag with white stars was authorized. In 1947, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel authorized all General Officer flags except Medical Corps and Chaplain flags to be scarlet with white stars and gold fringe. Medical General Officers kept the maroon with white stars and the Chaplain flag was changed from dark blue to the ecclesiastical purple color with white stars in 1952.

Current Policy

The current policy for display and use of General Officer flags is prescribed in AR 840-10. The 3 foot by 4 foot flag with fringe is authorized as well as the 3 foot by 4 foot boat flag (without fringe). Display of the boat flag is at the discretion of the General Officer with approval of the installation commander. General Officers are issued one of each flag in accordance with AR 725-1. The Clothing and Heraldry Office, Philadelphia, is responsible for issuance of General Officer flags. Installation commanders may requisition standby General Officer flags when funded by the installation. In addition to the indoor and boat flags, General Officers are authorized an automobile plate and automobile flag. Both the automobile flag and automobile plate are six inches by nine inches without fringe. Only one General Officer flag may be displayed at any time outside of a building.

Stock Numbers

The indoor flags, boat flags, automobile flag and automobile plates may be requisitioned through the Clothing and Heraldry Office website at

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