Flags of the U.S. Naval Academy

Flag of the Brigade of Midshipmen

On this page:

Related material  Return to Sea Flags home page

About the Brigade of Midshipmen Flag

Until the late 1940s, the U.S. Naval Academy's Brigade of Midshipmen carried an organizational flag of the infantry battalion pattern.  Starting in about 1948 or 1949, the Brigade began using a blue flag with the Academy coat of arms in gold on the center. (The coat of arms had been adopted in 1899.)  This flag was officially approved on January 24, 1951.  According to NTP 13(B), Flags, Pennants and Customs, the official dimensions of the flag are 48 by 72 inches, but recent photographs of the Brigade color guard appear to show it measuring 52 by 66 inches to match the Marine Corps battle color and the Navy flag with which it is now carried.  Because the service academies take protocol precedence over the regular forces, the Brigade of Midshipmen's flag is carried immediately to the left of the national color and to the right of the Marine and Navy flags.  Additionally, all four colors are now displayed with a the nickel-plated spearhead finials used by the Marines rather than with the battle-ax finial that is specified for Navy use.

The motto on the coat of arms, "Ex scientiae tridens," is translated, "From knowledge, seapower."

The President of the French Republic, Vincent Auriol, pinned the cross of the Legion of Honor and the Croix de Guerre with Palms on the flag of the Brigade of Midshipmen on March 30, 1951, in recognition of the Naval Academy's historic contributions, especially the contributions of its graduates to the victory in World War II.  However, the streamers associated with these awards are not carried on the Brigade flag.

Custody of the Brigade flag is transferred from the color company of the current year to that of the next year in a special color parade.

Company Guidon

The Brigade of Midshipmen is composed of 30 companies, numbered sequentially and grouped into six battalions.  Each company carries a golden-yellow guidon with the company number on the center in blue.

Color Company Guidon

The company selected as the best overall for each academic year is designated as the "color company" for the following year, giving it the privilege of providing the Brigade color guard, carrying a special guidon with a blue border, and representing the Academy at ceremonial functions such as Presidential inaugurations. 

Color Parade

By tradition, at the end of each academic year, the custody of the Brigade flag was ceremonially transferred by a selected "color girl" selected by the new color company.  The color girl, dressed in a white formal garden party style dress, received the Brigade flag from the commander of the outgoing color company and hands it over to the midshipman designated as the incoming commander of the new color company.  This ceremony, which dates back to about 1871, long before the adoption of the current Brigade flag, traditionally ended with the color girl kissing the new color company commander.  With the integration of women into the Brigade of Midshipmen, the "color girl" has been redesignated the "color honoree," and may be either a man or a woman.

Naval Academy Sailing Squadron

This burgee is displayed by sailboats comprising the U.S. Naval Academy Sailing Squadron, formed in 1949, an organization of naval officers and others who provide support to the sail training program at Annapolis and to the teams that represent the Academy in intercollegiate sailing competitions.  Sailboat burgees are generally displayed at the masthead or the starboard spreader.  The Naval Academy Sailing Squadron is part of the U.S. Naval Sailing Association.

Return to top of page

Return to Sea Flags home page

Sea Flags
Copyright 2000, 2001 by Joseph McMillan