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Marine Corps (U.S.)

Last modified: 2018-12-30 by rick wyatt
Keywords: united states | marine corps | commandant | globe | anchor | red | vessel |
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[Marine Corps Indoor/Parade flag]    
[Marine Corps Outdoor flag]
Indoor/Parade version
image by Tom Gregg
Outdoor version
image by Rick Wyatt, 6 September 1998

See also:


Marine Corps general officers' "distinguishing flags" are 36 by 52 inches rather than 36 by 48 like the Army and Air Force.
Joe McMillan, 6 September 1999

USMC Post Commander Pennant (circa 1910-1923)

[Pennant of the Marine Corps Post Commander (circa 1910-1923)] by Joe McMillan, 10 December 2000

Marine Corps Post Commander, circa World War I - The commander of a marine corps post below general officer rank was authorized to display a pennant in the bow of a boat in which he was embarked. This pennant was 1:3, the hoist (one-third the length of the fly) blue with thirteen white stars in rows of 4, 5, and 4, the remainder scarlet with the Marine Corps badge of eagle, globe, and anchor in white on the scarlet area. Also shown in [gmc17].
Joe McMillan, 10 December 2000


[Marine Corps Guidon A Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment] image by Joe McMillan, 10 December 2000

U.S. Marine Corps guidon of A Company, 2nd Marine Regiment. Those letters are FMF for units of the Fleet Marine Force.
Joe McMillan, 10 December 2000

U.S. Marine Corps companies and equivalent units carry rectangular scarlet guidons with a silhouette of the Corps' eagle-globe-anchor emblem in yellow in the center. In an arc above the emblem are the letters "FMF" in the case of units of the Fleet Marine Force, "USMC" for other active units, and "USMCR" for reserve units. In the lower hoist is the abbreviated designation of the parent organization. For companies of infantry battalions or batteries of artillery battalions, the lower hoist contains the battalion number followed by a slash (/) and the regimental number. The company or battery designation is shown in the lower fly. Dimensions are 22 x 28 inches. The guidon staff is eight feet long, including the ferrule and the silver-colored spearhead finial.
Joe McMillan, 4 December 1999

Dress Guidon (1959)

[Marine Corps Dress Guidon] image located by Bill Garrison, 12 March 2009

US Marine Corps, Dress Guidon Flag, 1959 located on eBay.
Bill Garrison, 12 March 2009

2013 Version

[Marine Corps Guidon A Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment] [Marine Corps Guidon A Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment] images by Joe McMillan, 15 February 2015

A newish version of the USMC Flag Manual came out on 6 Nov 2013. It is now designated Marine Corps Order [MCO] 10520.3. The only significant changes I could find (apart from a number of errors in the table of flag sizes, which now purports to authorize automobile flags measuring 3 feet (i.e., 90 cm) hoist) are:

(1) The ceremonial flag carried by troops is now designated the "battle standard" rather than "battle color" for operational units, and "organizational standard" rather than "organizational color" for other units.

(2) Previously announced changes removing the abbreviations FMF (fleet marine forces) and USMCR (United States Marine Corps Reserve) from the scroll on the color/standard have now been promulgated in a permanent directive.

(3) The guidon carried by companies, artillery batteries, and aircraft squadrons is now specified to have the letters USMC in an arc above the corps badge. In the past, FMF units had FMF above the badge, other units either USMC or USMCR as appropriate. In 2003, the FMF and USMCR abbreviations were dropped, and whether to have USMC or simply a blank space was left up to various command headquarters. The design is now standardized as attached. The guidon is 22 x 28 inches (approx. 56 x 71 cm).

Not a change, but not previously reported, there is also a "dress guidon" issued to each company, battery, etc., 18 x 19 inches (46 x 48 cm), scarlet with the letters USMC in golden yellow, surrounded by golden yellow fringe. The dress guidon is used (typically planted in the ground or mounted on a stand) during ceremonies to mark the line of troops, turning points, the saluting base while passing in review, and the like.
Joe McMillan, 15 February 2015

[Marine Corps Dress Guidon] image provided by J.C., 8 November 2015

This would appear to be the guidon of the Guard Detail at the Marine Barracks/Naval Base Pearl Harbor.
Jim Ferrigan, 8 November 2015

2003 changes to organizational flags

The US Marine Corps has made some minor changes to its organizational flags. The changes, announced by message on 6 June (CMC 061430Z JUN 03 MARADMIN 267/03) (1) delete the abbreviation "FMF" (for Fleet Marine Force) from unit colors/standards and guidons, and (2) eliminate the separate sets of organizational flags and guidons with the inscription "USMCR" for units of the Marine Corps Reserve. FMF is being dropped because the term for these units has been changed from Fleet Marine Force to Operating Force; future unit colors will simply have the unit designation without letters following it. Guidons for operating force units will either have no letters above the USMC emblem or the letters USMC, at the discretion of higher headquarters. Existing colors/standards and guidons will continue to be used until they are unserviceable.

Also, I discovered the answer to an issue that we went through quite some time back regarding the color of the emblem on the center of the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) flag. At a website of the Defense Logistics Agency,, it is possible for military organizations to order a wide variety of flags. It's basically an on-line military flag catalogue. Each different variation (size, fabric, etc.) of each flag has its own stock number--all of these for flags and related items begin with the numerals 8345. Most of the listings come with small photographs.

What I found was that the indoor/parade flag of the CMC--52 x 66 inches with embroidered emblem and yellow fringe--is as I reported it based on an official drawing and shown above. However, the bunting CMC flags used for hoisting on fixed poles, without fringe, have a solid yellow appliqued emblem with no detailing as on the parade/indoor flag. This explains the inconsistencies in various sources on the design of this flag that have been found in the past.

Joe McMillan, 1 July 2003