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Army - Sergeant Major of the Army (U.S.)

Last modified: 2005-12-17 by rick wyatt
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[Sergeant Major of the Army flag] image by Tom Gregg, 19 August 1999

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On 16 June 1999, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Dennis J. Reimer officially unveiled and presented the Sergeant Major of the Army Flag to the residing Sgt. Maj. of the Army, Robert E. Hall.

The flag, designed by the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry, was taken from the insignia created in 1966 to distinguish the SMA rank. The flag background is divided diagonally from the upper fly to lower hoist, in scarlet and white, with scarlet uppermost. The insignia of the SMA is centered on the flag with the fringe in yellow, cord and tassels in scarlet and white.
Robert M. Vandenberg, 18 June 1999

Technically, this is not a rank flag put a positional color, e.g. it identifies the office or appointment of the individual. "Sergeant Major of the Army" is not a rank but an appointment. The pay grade of E-9 has three titles, depending on the individual's assignment: Sergeant Major (in a senior enlisted staff position), Command Sergeant Major (senior NCO of a battalion or higher formation) or Sergeant Major of the Army (the senior enlisted advisor to the Chief of Staff). The rank insignia are different, but the pay grade is the same. SMA wears the same insignia, on a circular brass disk, as a collar badge on the Class A uniform. Dimensions of the color are 3 feet on the hoist by 4 feet on the fly plus 2 1/2" yellow fringe.
Tom Gregg, 20 June 1999

Contrary to my expectations and Tom's description, the actual flag is the larger 52 by 66 inch size, like the colors of secretarial-level officials and the Chief and Vice Chief, not 3x4 feet like every other positional color/personal flag in the Army. It also has the scarlet and white cord and tassels standard for the larger size colors. This seems out of line with normal Army practice, and perhaps with the official description of the flag, but there it is.
Joe McMillan, 20 August 1999

The only difference other than the amount detail between the actual flag and the gif is the Star which holds the Eagle should be silver gray. I can also confirm that the flag is 52x66". To me the flag is curious because the inner shield diagonal line will always change depending on the ratio of the flag. The flag specifications to my knowledge determine what color cord and tassels should be used. I expect that will be determined in the next printing of the regulation 840-10, but I'm not surprised if they use red and white to match?? the Chief of Staff. The other curious thing about the specs is that it calls for the insignia to be correct on the backside which would make the shield diagonal go the opposite direction forming an "x" with the field. The flag on display was made with the backside reversed and the lettering reading correct. John Niggley, 20 August 1999