An Overview Of Guidon Flags

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A guidon flag, also known simply as a guidon, is a military standard flag that represents its unit, squadron, or corps affiliation and its commanding officer. These are displayed and carried by all United States Armed Forces branches as well as other service and civil organizations. The person carrying this flag is known as the guidon bearer or guide. Whether a guidon flag is representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, or something else entirely, it is intended to signify the guidon bearer’s designation and affiliation.

While it’s a fairly well-known type of flag, one unusual thing about guidons is their shape. This flag is generally rectangular with a triangle section removed from its right side (also called the fly). This is what’s known as ‘swallow-tailed’.

Interested to know more fun facts about guidon flags? Read on!

This article gives an overview of guidon flags by explaining their history and uses as well as the branches who use them. For personalized advice or to create your own guidon flag, contact our team at BestFlag today.

The History Of Guidon Flags

The term ‘guidon’ comes from the Italian word ‘guidone’, which meant ‘guide’ or ‘marker’. This symbolic type of flag originally aimed to help units establish a sense of pride. However, they were as practical as they were sentimental. Guidon flags also provided a rally point for soldiers during battles.

Military traditions have formed around the guidon flag since ancient times.

Uses For Guidon Flags

Guidon flags are traditionally used in the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. The guidon bearer stands in front of their unit alongside either the commander of the commander’s representative and rallies the troops to fall into formation.

During drills and ceremonies, the guidon bearer or bearers and their commander are always at the formation’s front.

The guidon flag is highly respected and any type of disgrace toward it is seen as dishonor on the unit. If this occurs, that person typically receives a punishment such as performing push-ups. For example, if the guidon bearer were to drop the guidon flag, they must fall with it and perform their push-ups or other instructed form of punishment.

In some instances, other units may attempt to steal the guidon flag as a way to demoralize the unit. New recruits are tempted to give up the guidon flag to their superior, mostly during unit runs, while veteran soldiers know not to do so.

Guidon flags are often gifted to commanding officers.

The Branches Of Guidon Flags


According to Chapter 6 of Army Regulation 840-10, guidons must measure 20 inches at the hoist and 27 inches at the fly, with the swallow-tailed forked end measuring 10 inches. While they used to be made from wool bunting, today’s Army guidon flags are made from heavyweight rayon banner cloth. The letters are numbers must be readable correctly on both sides.


Navy ship and squadron guidon flags should measure 20 ⅛ inches by 27 ¾ inches with a 10 inch swallow tail. Red flags used to be used for naval artillery units, however today they are blue with white text and a fouled anchor in a diamond shape.

Air Force

Guidon flags in the Air Force are ultramarine blue and measure 20 inches by 27 inches with a 10 inch forked end. An American eagle is featured in the center with the designation of the parent unit above it and the designation of the squadron below it.

Marine Corps

Unlike its Army, Navy, and Air Force counterparts, Marine Corps guidon flags are always rectangular. They measure 22 inches by 28 inches and are red with gold lettering. Pictured in the center is an eagle, globe, and anchor.


Create Your Own Guidon Flag With BestFlag

With your own custom guidon flag, you can show your pride for your squadron, troop, or other organization. In doing so, you’ll be preserving our proud military history and traditions as well.

At BestFlag we offer custom guidon flags in a wide range of sizes to suit exactly what it is you’re supporting. To start creating your custom guidon flag, visit our custom flag designer today.



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