By C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (July 22, 2009) -- Five new campaign streamers have been approved for use on Army and unit flags.
Three streamers represent named campaigns in Iraq, and two represent named campaigns in Afghanistan. The named-campaign streamers replace the non-specific Iraq and Afghanistan streamers that may already be on unit colors.
Battle streamers typically hang from unit flags to let unit members and others know what military campaigns a unit has participated in.
"A Soldier joining a unit may have not been there for a campaign, but there is a lot of pride that goes into joining a unit that has been battle tested," said Maj. Dan Allen, with the Army's Human Resources Command. "When you stand behind that flag in formation and there are streamers hanging off it -- everybody knows that your unit has been battle tested. There is a history that passes down to the new Soldiers."
Units with campaign participation credit for Operation Enduring Freedom may be authorized to display the "Liberation of Afghanistan" streamer, dated Sept. 11 - Nov. 30, 2001. They may also fly the Afghanistan "Consolidation I" streamer, dated Dec. 1, 2001 - Sept. 30, 2006. Another Afghanistan campaign streamer, "Consolidation II" covers an open-ended period that begins Oct. 1, 2006. It is not yet authorized to hang on flags.
For those units with campaign participation credit in Operation Iraqi Freedom, they may be able to display any of three streamers. The "Liberation of Iraq" streamer covers the period March 19 - May 1, 2003. The "Transition of Iraq" streamer covers the period May 2, 2003 - June 28, 2004, and the "Iraqi Governance" streamer covers the period June 29, 2004 - Dec. 15, 2005. An additional streamer, "Nation Resolution," covers the open-ended period beginning Dec. 16, 2005. It is not yet authorized to hang on flags.
The Army recognizes more than 180 campaign streamers that can be attached to the Army flag. They cover Army actions starting with the Battle of Lexington, in 1775, which is the first battle of the Revolutionary War, up through the latest campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"They recognize a unit's participation during a period of time while they are serving in combat," said Lt. Col. Stephen Harmon, acting chief of military awards branch, Army Human Resources Command. "And the Soldiers get a campaign medal that corresponds to the streamer."
The Iraq campaign streamers are all the same colors and each bears the name of the campaign. Likewise with the Afghanistan campaign streamers. The colors are the same used to make the ribbon on corresponding campaign medals, and on ribbons worn on the class A uniform. The colors have significance.
According to the Army's Institute of Heraldry Web site, the colors in the Iraq campaign streamer correspond to those of the Iraqi flag. Green is the traditional color for Islam, red honors the fighting courage for the pursuit of freedom, white denotes generosity and black exemplifies success. For the Afghanistan campaign streamer, the ribbon reflects the colors of the new Afghanistan flag, while the red, white and blue at its center represents the United States and its allies.
Campaign streamers are available to qualified units at no cost. Specifics on how to obtain campaign streamers are spelled out in MILPER Message Number 09-120, available on Army Knowledge Online.