Although the U.S. Military purchased its first aircraft in 1909, the United States Air Force was not a stand-alone entity until 1947. World War II proved the power of militarized aircraft and led to a change in the basic organization of U.S. Military Forces.
In 1947, President Truman signed the National Security Act, establishing the Air Force as an independent service, equal to the U.S. Army and US Navy.
With nearly 6,000 aircraft, the U.S. Air Force is the largest air force in the world. More than half a million Americans serve in the Air Force — the second-largest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.
On September 18 each year, we celebrate the founding of the United States Air Force.
Flying the U.S. Air Force Flag Outdoors
The Department of Defense Directive 1005.8 asserts the order of precedence of military personnel, which we can safely assume mirrors that of military flags on an Outdoor Flagpole. That order is as follows: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. However, the Coast Guard Flag moves up right behind Navy when the Coast Guard operates as a service of the Department of the Navy during a time of war. As of this writing, the D.O.D. Directive has not been updated to include the Space Force flag (current as of 2003).
The recent addition of the Space Force flag has, therefore, generated some confusion. Most visible examples show the Space Force flag placed between the Air Force and Coast Guard flags. However, though it meets with historic precedent and follows the same guiding reasoning, this precedence has not been documented in writing that we have found.
In a mandatory directive from the Secretary of The Air Force (downloadable here) in August of 2020, the Space Force flag is ordered to be flown in the sixth position, after the Coast Guard flag (as pictured throughout our website).
When the flags are being flown on multiple Outdoor Flagpoles, the American Flag should always be flown first in line. If you are flying the Air Force Flag on the same pole as your American Flag, it should be of equal size or smaller and flown below the American Flag.
Displaying United States Air Force Flags Indoors
When displaying Military Ceremonial Flags, the order of precedence remains the same as when they are displayed outdoors. The American Ceremonial Flag is always displayed first in the order. It’s also important to remember that when a Military Ceremonial flag is presented by a color guard, either indoors, during a parade, or on the playing field, a Parade Carry Belt must be worn.
Military Desk Flags and sets are another way to show your support for U.S. Armed Forces. Desk flags are small and versatile; they can be displayed on a podium, a desk, or even a window sill. These small flags can also be waved during a parade or celebration for the United States Air Force Birthday.
How Do You Celebrate Our Air Force Personnel?
Send us your pictures of Air Force flags, American flags, flagpoles, ropes, or other accessories! We would be honored to feature your photography in our blog or on Facebook. Remember, photos of damaged flags and accessories are valuable, too.
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Have a great day, from your friends at LIBERTY FLAGS, The American Wave®.