From the Army News Service

All Soldiers can now wear the U.S. flag insignia on the right shoulder of their utility uniform, as a continued reminder that the Army is engaged in a war at home and abroad. This practice has been around for years to identify deploying troops.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker approved the uniform item 11 FEB 04 and all Soldiers have until 1 OCT 05 to get the insignia sewn on their uniforms. A message on the uniform policy went out to the force 14 February announcing the current policy of deployed Soldiers wearing the U.S. flag on utility uniforms is expanded to include all Soldiers throughout the force regardless of deployment status.

Currently there are not enough flags in the inventory, which is why Soldiers have a substantial amount of time to get the flags sewn on. Deploying troops have the priority. Everyone else will have to wait until the Defense Logistics Agency has more in stock. An estimated 30 million flags need to be procured.

Enlisted Soldiers will not have to purchase the flags. They will be issued five flags from their assigned unit, and commanders will make arrangements for getting the insignia sewn on. However, if Soldiers purchase the flags on their own, they will not be reimbursed. When purchasing the flag, the only ones authorized for wear on the uniform is the reverse field flag in red, white and blue. Subdued flags and those in other colors are in violation of U.S. code.

Individuals should comply with Army Regulation 670-1, Wear and Appearance of the Army Uniform and Insignia. The regulation still states that Soldiers are not authorized to wear the full-color cloth U.S. flag replica upon their return to home station. However, the latest change will be added to the regulation when it is revised sometime this year.

Nothing has changed regarding the placement of the flag. It is sewn below the shoulder seam. If a combat patch is also placed on the right shoulder, the flag is sewn 1/8 inch below the combat patch. The flag is worn on the right shoulder to give the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer moves forward.