Guidon (United States)

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19th century guidon used by the 7th Cavalry Regiment

In the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, a guidon is a military standard that company or platoon-sized elements carry to signify their unit designation and corps affiliation or the title of the individual who carries it. A basic guidon can be rectangular, but sometimes has a triangular portion removed from the fly (known as "swallow-tailed")

Significance

The significance of the guidon is that it represents the unit and its commanding officer. When the commander is in, his or her guidon is displayed for everyone to see. When he leaves for the day, the guidon is taken down. It is an honor, although sometimes a dubious one, to be the guidon carrier for a unit, known as a "guidon bearer" or "guide". He or she stands in front of the unit alongside of the commander (or the commander's representative), and is the rallying point for troops to fall into formation when the order is given. In drill and ceremonies, the guidon and commander are always in front of the formation.

The guidon is a great source of pride for the unit, and several military traditions have developed around it, stemming back from ancient times. Any sort of disgrace toward the guidon is considered a dishonor of the unit as a whole, and punishment is typical. For example, should the guidon bearer drop the guidon, he must fall with it and perform punishment, often in the form of push-ups. Other units may attempt to steal the guidon to demoralize or antagonize the unit. Veteran soldiers know not to give up the guidon to anyone outside their unit, but new recruits may be tempted into relinquishing it by a superior, especially during a unit run.

By branch

Army

As described in Chapter 6 of Army Regulation 840-10, guidons are swallow-tailed marker flags in branch-of-service colors, measuring 20 inches (51 cm) at the hoist by 27 inches (69 cm) at the fly, with the swallow-tail end forked 10 inches (25 cm). Previously guidons were made of wool bunting, and if serviceable these older versions may still be used. Current guidons are made of heavyweight rayon banner cloth. Old guidons show letters and numerals reversed as if printed through on the reverse of the guidon. Current guidons are made so that letters and numerals read correctly on both sides.

In general, the following Army units are entitled to guidons: lettered companies, troops, and batteries of regiments and separate battalions; separate numbered TO&E companies; and headquarters elements of groups, brigades, divisions, corps, commands, schools, and similar organizations.

Lettered companies (troops and batteries in the cavalry and field artillery respectively) of battalions (squadrons in the cavalry) have guidons displaying the branch insignia, the company letter, and the battalion and regimental numbers. The base color of the guidon is the first named color of the applicable branch, e.g. scarlet for field artillery, with the letters, numerals and insignia applied in the second named color of the branch, e.g. yellow for field artillery. For companies of separate battalions, the branch insignia is centered on the guidon between the battalion number above and the company letter below. For companies of battalions of regiments, the number above the insignia is that of the regiment; the number of the battalion is vertically centered between the insignia and the hoist. Groups use diagonal stripes of the branch's secondary color.12

Separate numbered TO&E companies have guidons with their numerical designation under the branch insignia, e.g. the guidon of the 380th Quartermaster Company is buff with the insignia of the Quartermaster Corps over the numerals “380” in ultramarine blue, these being the named colors of the branch. Headquarters companies of groups, brigades, divisions and corps have guidons of a design corresponding to that of their Organizational Flag, e.g. the guidon of a headquarters battery of a Field Artillery Brigade or Fires Brigade would be vertically divided, scarlet and yellow, with the brigade's shoulder sleeve insignia centered.345

Headquarters elements of Army commands, agencies, garrisons, centers, schools, depots and miscellaneous organizations are authorized guidons of distinctive design and colors. Generally these guidons follow the design of the unit’s Organizational Flag. Various units not oriented to a specific branch, e.g. US Army Garrisons, have a teal blue guidon with the branch immaterial insignia (the Coat of Arms of the U.S. within a ring) in yellow.6

Exceptions to the use of branch colors for guidons are found in the infantry and cavalry. The infantry branch colors are light blue and white, but infantry guidons have a field of Old Glory blue (the same shade of blue as used for the canton of the US national flag). The cavalry branch colors are yellow and dark blue. Cavalry guidons, however, are horizontally divided, scarlet over white, with troop letters and squadron/regimental numbers in white and scarlet, but no branch insignia.2

There are two types of guidons used by the Corps of Cadets at the United States Military Academy. “Dress” guidons are horizontally divided, golden yellow over silver gray, with the letters “USCC” centered between the regimental number on the upper stripe and the company letter on the lower stripe. “Field” guidons have the regimental number only. All letters and numerals are black.7 Initial entry training platoons carry colored guidons to signify what phase of training they have attained. The guidon bearer normally stands with the platoon guide when stationary and marches at the head of the column. Although IET guidons may have streamers attached, they are typically undecorated.

Any unit citation, war service or campaign streamer may be attached to guidons. Guidon-bearing elements of US Army Regimental System units are entitled to display all streamers awarded to the regiment, with those earned by its own higher echelon (batttalion or squadron) denoted by the addition of the Earned Honor Device, an embroidered laurel wreath, at the fly. Streamers for guidons are 1 38 by 24 feet (42 cm × 732 cm).89

In recent years the ongoing reorganization of the Army has led to the creation of new types of units, e.g. Sustainment Brigades and Fires Brigades, but generally their flags and guidons are of the pattern described above.

Component Guidon Chart

Colors, Insignia, and Devices for Guidons10
Unit Background color
& Text color
Insignia Example
Adjutant General's Corps units Dark Blue
White
AdjGenBC.svg 120th AG Battalion B Company guidon.GIF
Artillery Branch
Air Defense Artillery units
Scarlet
Yellow
AirDefArtyBC.gif USA - Guidon - Air Defence Artillery.png
Artillery Branch
Field Artillery units
Scarlet
Yellow
FieldArtilleryBC.gif USA - Guidon - Field Artillery.png
Armor Branch Yellow
Green
ArmorBC.gif USA - Guidon - Armor.png
Aviation Branch Ultramarine Blue
Golden Orange
AviationBC.gif Aviation guidon.jpg
Branch Immaterial Teal Blue
Yellow
USA - Army Immaterial Command Insignia.png USA - Guidon - Branch Immaterial.png
Cavalry Branch Red above White
White & Red
not used on guidon USA - Guidon - Cavalry 1C.png
Chaplain Branch Black
White
Regimental Shield No image.png
Chemical Corps Cobalt Blue
Golden Yellow
Chemical Branch Insignia.svg A Company 498 Chemical Battalion.PNG
Civil Affairs Corps Purple
White
USA - Civil Affairs.png USA - Guidon - Civic Affairs 3.png
Engineers Corps Scarlet
White
USA - Engineer Branch Insignia.png 863rd Engineer Battalion B Company guidon.gif
Finance Corps Silver Grey
Golden Yellow
USA - Army Finance Corps.png USA - Guidon - Finance.png
Infantry Branch (United States) Dark Blue
White
USA - Army Infantry Insignia.png C Company, 52nd Infantry guidon.gif
Judge Advocate General's Corps Dark Blue
White
JAGC Staff Corps Insignia Army.gif 2nd JAG Det guidon transparent.GIF
Ordnance Corps
Maintenance units
Crimson
Light Blue
None,
Insignia used on
Separate unit guidons
USA - Guidon - Ordinance - Maintenance.png
Ordnance Corps
non-Maintenance units
Crimson
Yellow
Ordnance Branch Insignia.svg USA - Guidon - Ordinance - Non-Maintenance.png
Medical Department Maroon
White
MedCorpsBC.gif USA - Guidon - Medical.png
Medical Department
Veterinary Units
Maroon
Green
USA - Army Medical Veterinary.png USA - Guidon - Veterinary.png
Military Intelligence Corps Oriental Blue
Silver Grey
MI Corps Insignia.svg 140th MI Battalion D Det guidon.gif
Military Police Corps Green
Yellow
USAMPC-Branch-Insignia.png USA - Guidon - Military Police 2.png
Psychological Operations Corps Dark Green
Silver Grey
USA - Psych Ops Branch Insignia.png HQ 498 Psyops Bn.PNG
Public Affairs Corps Teal Blue
Yellow
PublicAffairsBC.svg No image.png
Quartermaster Corps
General units
Buff
Ultramarine Blue
USA - Quartermaster Corps Branch Insignia.png No image.png
Quartermaster Corps
Supply units
Buff
Ultramarine Blue
None,
Insignia used on
Separate unit guidons
No image.png
Quartermaster Corps
Supply & Service units
Buff
Yellow
None,
Insignia used on
Separate unit guidons
No image.png
Quartermaster Corps
Supply and Transportation Units
Buff
Brick Red
None,
Insignia used on
Separate unit guidons
No image.png
Quartermaster Corps
Support Units
Buff
Scarlet
None,
Insignia used on
Separate unit guidons
33rd ASG HHC guidon transparent.GIF
Signal Corps Orange
White
Insignia signal.svg USA - Guidon - 101st Signal Corps.png
Special Forces Corps Jungle Green
Silver Grey
USA - Special Forces Branch Insignia.png A Co 1 Bn 5 SF.PNG
Transportation Corps Brick Red
Golden Yellow
USA - Transportation Corps Branch Insignia.png USA - Guidon - Transportation.png

Marine Corps

Guidon for Alpha company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines

A Marine guidon is always rectangular, 22 by 28 inches (56 cm × 71 cm), with a scarlet field and gold lettering, and an Eagle, Globe, and Anchor centered.1112

Recruit training units do not have any branch of service indication on their guidons; boot camp platoon guidons only display the platoon number (such as "3081") in yellow/gold against a scarlet background. During the first phase of training (i.e., before initial drill), the guidon's foreground and background colorations are exchanged, yielding a red platoon number against a yellow/gold background.

Fleet Marine Forces units have "FMF" emblazoned above the Marine Emblem, non infantry and artillery reserve units display "USMCR," while all infantry, artillery, and active units carry a "USMC". The regimental-level numeral will be displayed in the lower left corner, unless a higher or lower command numeral provides better identification (for example, a battalion HQ company would display the battalion's numeral instead of the regiment). The company level designation letter, abbreviated title, or number will be in the lower right corner.

Charlie Company 1st Battalion 7th Marines "Suicide Charley" is the only one unit authorized a second guidon in the United States Marine Corps. Charlie Company 1/7 aka "Suicide Charley" is authorized a white guidon with a skull and crossbones. For more information visit Suicide Charley "C CO 1/7 USMC"

No additional attachments are authorized, including streamers, bands, or the like. Some units incorporate additional mascots into unofficial guidons.

Navy

Guidon for 2nd Company, USS Missouri

Navy ships and squadrons may display a unit guidon while parading ashore. It measures 20 18 by 27 34 inches (51 cm × 70 cm) with a 10 inches (25 cm) swallowtail, is blue with white text, and depicts a fouled anchor within a diamond (identical to the insignia of the Naval Infantry Flag).13 Prior to World War II, a red flag was used for naval artillery units. In addition, companies of the Brigade of Midshipmen attending the United States Naval Academy utilize a gold guidon with blue numerals.1415

Air Force

Guidon of the 56th Civil Engineering Squadron of the 56th Fighter Wing
Squadron guidon being rolled up at an inactivation ceremony.

In the Air Force, guidons are ultramarine blue wool and nylon, nylon, or polyester bunting, 20 by 27 inches (51 cm × 69 cm) to end of the swallowtail, and forked 10 inches (25 cm). An Air Force yellow American Eagle design appears on the front of the guidon and on the reverse side as if printed through. Above the design is the designation of the parent unit; below it is the designation of the squadron. When the number of the squadron and the parent organization are the same, the lower line indicates only the alphabetical portion of the squadron designation. Numerals and lettering are yellow, from 1 34 by 3 12 inches (4.4 cm × 8.9 cm) tall, and in varying widths. Lettering and numerals appear on both sides of the guidon, reading from left to right on both sides.1617

Campaign and service streamers earned by a unit are displayed on that unit's flag or guidon.

See also

References

  1. ^ Gregg, Thomas M. (July 28, 2010). "US Army Groups: Headquarters Element Guidons". Archive of the Colors. War Flags. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Gregg, Thomas M. (July 28, 2010). "US Army Combat Arms: Company, Battery & Troop Guidons". Archive of the Colors. War Flags. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  3. ^ Gregg, Thomas M. (July 28, 2010). "US Army Field Armies, Corps & Divisions: Headquarters Element Guidons". Archive of the Colors. War Flags. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Gregg, Thomas M. (July 28, 2010). "US Army Separate Brigades: Headquarters Element Guidons". Archive of the Colors. War Flags. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  5. ^ Gregg, Thomas M. (July 28, 2010). "US Army Combat Support Services: Company & Detachment Guidons". Archive of the Colors. War Flags. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  6. ^ Gregg, Thomas M. (July 28, 2010). "US Army Commands & Headquarters: Headquarters Company Guidons". Archive of the Colors. War Flags. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  7. ^ Gregg, Thomas M. (July 28, 2010). "US Army Training Units: Company/Battery Guidons". Archive of the Colors. War Flags. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  8. ^ Gregg, Thomas M. (July 28, 2010). "Unit Decoration Streamers for US Army Colors, Flags & Guidons". Archive of the Colors. War Flags. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  9. ^ Gregg, Thomas M. (July 28, 2010). "Unit Campaign Streamers for US Army Colors, Flags & Guidons". Archive of the Colors. War Flags. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  10. ^ "Flags, Guidons,Streamers,Tabards, and Automobile and Aircraft Plates". Army Regulation 840–10 (Washington, D.C.: United States Army). 1 November 1998. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  11. ^ "Flag Manual" (PDF). MCO P10520.3B. 15 September 1989. 
  12. ^ McMillan, Joseph (2001). "Flags of the U.S. Marine Corps". Seaflags. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  13. ^ McMillan, Joseph (2001). "Navy Ceremonial Flags and Guidons". Seaflags. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  14. ^ Gregg, Thomas M. (July 28, 2010). "United States Navy: Current Ensigns & Flags". Archive of the Colors. War Flags. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  15. ^ McMillan, Joseph (2001). "Flags of the U.S. Naval Academy". Seaflags. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  16. ^ Air Force Instruction 84-105, Organizational Lineage, Honors and Heraldry, 1 FEBRUARY 2006, Incorporating Change 1, 13 May 2008
  17. ^ Gregg, Thomas M. (July 28, 2010). "United States Air Force: Organizational Flags & Guidons". Archive of the Colors. War Flags. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 

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