Why is the flag reversed on uniforms?

Many of us see plenty of pictures of the American troops over in Iraq. But I’m always confused as to why the flag is reversed (stars on the right side) from its more traditional depiction. Why is this? Are we the only country? And is it only in some branches of the armed forces?

PS: I’m sure this question has been asked and answered before, but I can’t come up with anything on searches.

It’s not, it’s set up that way because it’s the way flags would wave if they person was carrying one. Try a search on “backwards flag”, I think there are several threads.

You can find a more detailed answer here but basically it’s only done when the patch is on the right arm, and when the flag is on a moving thing (such as a person) the field should always be in front.


Here you go.

Been answered above but short and easy answer is the flag is displayed as if it were moving forward. Assume a pole is going through the flag (where the blue union is) and someone was running it forward. As viewed from the person’s left side the flag looks like you expect. Viewed from the flag carrier’s right it looks backward.

Another way to think of it is that a patch on the left would match the patch on the right (i.e. two sides of the same flag…think of removing the person in the middle and gluing the backs of the patches together).

It’s also the same (backwards) on the left side of Air Force One.


Left Side of Air Force One: http://www.sdb.k12.wi.us/relations/images/bush24Sept04/Air%20Force%20One%20Taxi%20For%20Take%20Off.jpg

Right Side of Air Force One: http://pics.goingon.com/themes/tekriti/sb-files/Air%20Force%20One.jpg

Yeah, it’s “backwards” on the right side, not the left. But the overall point is that it’s reversed so that it seems to be blowing in the wind, same as on the uniforms.
More interestingly, Chouinard Fan (US Army Captain) tells me that the new flags on BDUs are infrared reflectors attached with velcro. If you think your enemy won’t have infrared goggles, you wear the flag as an identifier at night. Neato.

:smack: I stand corrected. It was my other left. :smack: