Streamers on National Guard unit flags in Md. and Va. may be pulled

Recommendations from The Naming Commission could remove campaign streamers from Maryland and Virginia National Guard unit flags.

The panel was commissioned by, and makes recommendations to, Congress about naming, renaming and removing “all Department of Defense items that commemorate the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America.”

Streamers are decorations attached to military flags that recognize campaigns and battles fought by the unit throughout its history. The commission last month recommended that any streamer representing a Civil War engagement where the unit fought for the Confederacy be removed.

Retired Navy Adm. Michelle J. Howard, the chair of the Naming Commission, last month sent a letter to leading members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees. “Forty-eight Army units have at least one Confederate campaign streamer; a total of 457 Confederate streamers are presently authorized,” Howard wrote. “Those 457 Confederate battle streamers would no longer be authorized.”

The recommendation would rescind a 1949 exception to Army regulations that permitted the flying of Confederate streamers on unit flags.

One Maryland National Guard unit and 12 from Virginia would be affected by the recommendation. Most of those units served in at least five campaigns from the Civil War.

Below are units that would be affected:

  • 7 streamers for the 175th Infantry Regiment, based in Dundalk.
  • 10 streamers for HHC, 429th Support Battalion, in Danville.
  • 9 streamers for 229th Engineer Battalion, in Fredericksburg.
  • 13 streamers for Battery A, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, in Hanover.
  • 13 streamers for 116th Infantry Regiment, in Lynchburg.
  • 13 streamers for 229th Military Police Company, in Manassas.
  • 10 streamers for 111th Field Artillery Regiment, in Norfolk.
  • 5 streamers for Battery B, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, in Norfolk.
  • 17 streamers for 276th Engineer Battalion, in Petersburg.
  • 5 streamers for HHT, 2d Squadron, 183d Cavalry Regiment, in Portsmouth.
  • 24 streamers for 180th Engineer Company, in Powhatan.
  • 5 streamers for 224th Aviation Regiment, in Sandston.
  • 11 streamers for HHC, 116th Brigade Combat Team, 29th Infantry Division, in Staunton.

In other recommendations, the commission said the insignia for the Virginia National Guard’s 29th Infantry Division, based in Fort Belvoir, should be kept. It features a blue and grey yin and yang-like symbol still worn as a shoulder patch by the U.S. Army’s 29th Infantry soldiers. The division was founded during World War I and was composed of men from both the North, represented by blue and the South, represented by gray.

“The description language should be modified to reflect the rich history of the 29th, with focus on the unification of American citizens through service in the 29th,” Howard wrote. “The Community of the 29th ID indicates that they view the symbol as a unifying symbol for America and is imbued with the sacrifices and service of past 29th ID members.”

In response to that decision, Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, said in a statement, “We applaud the decision of the Naming Commission to recommend the 29th Infantry Division patch symbol remain unchanged, and the Virginia National Guard will work with the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry on any appropriate modifications to the descriptive language.”

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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