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The local unit or the Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office is the point of contact for requesting color guard. The color guard is a four-person formation of National Guard soldiers in appropriate military uniform. They act as a Color guard, posting and retiring the flag and rendering to it the proper customs and courtesies. This time-honored traditional detail adds dignity to any military-related activity while showing respect to our nation and those who have served it.

If you plan to include representatives of other branches of the U. S. military in the color guard for your event, Wisconsin National Guard policy is to follow Department of Defense and Department of the Army regulations and directives governing the use of a "Joint Armed Forces Color Guard."

Those regulations and directives require that one flag of the United States will be carried in the joint color guard and that it will be carried by the senior member of the senior service (Army). No other U. S. flags will be carried in such a ceremony.

A Joint Armed Forces Color Guard consists of:

  • Two Army flagbearers carrying national and Army colors.
  • One each Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard flag bearer with individual military Service colors.
  • One Army and one Marine Corps rifleman as escorts.
  • ALTERNATIVE: The Wisconsin state flag can be added to the color guard and should be carried by a member of the Wisconsin National Guard (Air Guard or Army Guard).

References to the appropriate regulations and directives are included below.


To request a color guard from the Wisconsin National Guard, event organizers should submit a completed DD Form 2536 (Request for Armed Forces Participation in Public Events) to the closest Wisconsin National Guard unit or to the:

Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office
P. O. Box 8111
Madison WI 53708-8111
Fax (608) 242-3051
Email: State Public Affairs Office

Requests should be submitted 60 days prior to the event. Requests received after this deadline will not be considered.

Army Regulation (AR) 360-1:

7–6. Color guards

a. In public programs for which Army support has been authorized and at which the display of colors is appropriate, a Joint Armed Forces Color Guard will be employed, when available, using the following composition:

(1) Two Army flagbearers with national and Army colors.

(2) One each Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard flag bearer with individual military Service colors.

(3) One Army and one Marine Corps rifleman as escorts.

b. When a Joint Armed Forces Color Guard cannot be formed, the senior member of the senior military Service in the color guard will carry the national colors. Soldiers, when present, will carry the colors since the Army is the senior Service


Department of Defense Instruction Armed Forces Community Relations Policy 5410.19

E2.1.44. Patriotic Opener. A short ceremony involving a color guard and/or musical unit that honors the Nation, is approximately 15 to 20 minutes in duration, and is designed to establish a patriotic mood or tone that initiates the formal portion of a civic, military, or governmental event. The musical program shall include the national anthem unless the ceremony includes the "Pledge of Allegiance." The color guard shall include representatives from as many Military Services as possible and be conducted in accordance with DoD Directive 1005.8 (reference (t)). Musical units may provide a program, prior to the formal presentation of the American flag and the flags of the Military Services, that shall be approximately 15 to 20 minutes and shall be limited to military and patriotic selections. Patriotic or military music is defined as music focusing on the themes of national pride or recognition of service to the nation, and music such as marches or other military-related themes having a traditional musical connection with the military.


Department of Defense Instruction Public Affairs Community Relations Policy NUMBER 5410.18:

Community Relations Activities Policy Guidelines

4.2.2.3. Participation by more than one Military Service must be considered when extensive support is required, or when cross-Military Service representation is applicable, as in joint Armed Forces color guards.

4.8.11. In public programs for which DoD support has been authorized and at which the display of Colors is in the best interest of the Department of Defense, a Joint Armed Forces Color Guard shall be employed, when available, using the following composition:

4.8.11.1. Two Army bearers with National and Army Colors.

4.8.11.2. One each Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard bearer with individual Military Service Colors.

4.8.11.3. One Army rifleman and one Marine Corps rifleman as escorts.

4.8.12. When a Joint Armed Forces Color Guard, as specified in paragraph 4.8.11., above, cannot be formed, the senior member of the senior Military Service in the Color Guard shall carry the National Colors. The DoD Components shall be guided by DoD Directive 1005.8 (reference (l)).

4.8.13. U.S. military personnel may carry the official national flag of foreign nations participating in official civil ceremonies, defined as a public event funded, sponsored, and conducted by the U.S. Federal government or a State, county, or municipal government, when an official of the nation concerned is present in an official capacity to receive such honors, and the official is one for whom honors normally are rendered. In all other public programs or ceremonies, U.S. military personnel in uniform and in an official capacity are not authorized to carry flags of foreign nations, veterans groups, or other non-military organizations.