There’s one flag that likely stands out in the minds of every Marine who has come through one of the Marine Corps Recruit Depots: The guidon flag.
According to the official USMC Flag Manual, “the guidon flag is a unit flag carried by companies, batteries, and comparable units as a unit marker and for other purposes.” The guidon flag is the official symbol of the fighting unit it represents.
Here are some of the details outlined in the Flag Manual:
Made of red (scarlet) wool bunting
Gold wool insignia, letters, and numbers are sewn on each side (front and back)
It’s 1.83 feet on the hoist (the vertical side that runs parallel to a flag pole or guidon stick), and 2.33 feet on the fly (the horizontal side running parallel to the deck)
The specs go on and on; outlining the height of the numbers and letters, when to use “USMC” and when to use “FMF” above the emblem, et cetera, et cetera.
For Marine recruits, the platoon guidon plays a similar role to a company guidon. There are two major differences, however. One difference is that a recruit guidon represents a platoon, which is smaller than a company. The “…and for other purposes” description from the Flag Manual referred to the fact that recruit platoons carry guidons.
Jeremiah McCloud is a freelance writer, marketing consultant, and veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He joined the Marines in 2001, and attained the rank of Sergeant before attending the U.S. Naval Academy. After graduating from the Naval Academy, he served as a Marine Corps signals intelligence officer, and deployed to Afghanistan as part of a foreign military advisor team. Jeremiah writes on a range of topics including military lifestyle, politics, marketing, and strategy.