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Department of Veterans Affairs (U.S.)

VA

Last modified: 2018-12-28 by rick wyatt
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[Flag of the Department of Veterans Affairs] image by Joe McMillan, 21 December 2001



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Description of the flag

The flag of the Department of Veterans Affairs has a blue field, upon which the seal of the Department appears on both sides of the flag. There are two sizes specified, Class 1 - nylon, 4 feet 4 inches on the hoist and 5 foot 6 inches on the fly, excluding heading and fringe. There is a 2 1/2 inch fringe on the three free sides. Class 2 - nylon, 3 feet (hoist) by 5 feet (fly).

Departmental seal: An American eagle clutching a cord in its talons. The cord binds a 13 star U.S. flag and a 50 star U.S. flag. Above the eagle is a pentagon formed of stars, one with a point down. The words Department of Veterans Affairs and United States of America surround the eagle, stars and flags. The exterior circle of the seal is a rope.
Phil Nelson, 24 September 1998

The Department of Veterans Affairs, the newest of the US cabinet departments, was established on 15 March 1989 from the former Veterans Administration, which dated to 1930 but with roots going back well before that.

The seal of the DVA is light blue with an American bald eagle clutching two crossed American flags, one 13-star flag in the "Betsy Ross" pattern and the other the modern 50-star flag. Above the eagle's head are five gold stars, representing the five armed services.

Correspondence from the DVA in the files of the Army Institute of Heraldry, dated 20 November 1991, states that the Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs had approved the general concept of personal flags for department officials, and another letter of 24 January 1992 confirms the following designs, but I have seen nothing to indicate promulgation of these patterns within the DVA itself. They disagree to some extent with the sheet of personal flags that Jack Kowalski sent me, so he may have other information.

All flags are 3 x 4 feet with gold (yellow) fringe, and all show the DVA seal 24 inches in diameter on the center of the flag.
Joe McMillan, 20 December 2001

The departmental flag is Old Glory Blue with gold fringe. The seal is specified as 24" for both authorized indoor sizes 52x66" and 3x4' (3x5' was more commonly made). Odd that they both have the same size, but I believe it was done to keep the cost down and to allow for multihead embroidery of the design by the winning contractor manufacturer. A few VA hospitals also fly outdoor flags in 3x5' or 5x8'. I believe the 5x8' flags had 30" printed seals. The indoor flags had a total double seal and the outdoor had a single/reverse seal.

The size of the seal is specified in the TIOH drawings which must be 5-1-770 or so. I remember the 52x66" to have either a 30" or 32" high design. Very attractively embroidered. During Togo West's tenure as Secretary the flags were also made in a 36"x68-3/8" size with approximately 21" high design. I think the stars were 6" and 4" respectively, with the diagonally divided Under-Secretary's flag having slightly larger stars. These flags were produced by machine embroidery with the back side being reversed - as if printed through. The departmental flag used to sell on a VA contract for just under $700, but I imagine the price as gone up slightly. The secretary's flag had roughly 350,000 stitches and was in the $900 - $1200 range.
John Niggley, 22 December 2001

38 Code of Federal Regulations 1.9 (d) explains the elements of the seal shown on all these flags as standing for:
    eagle - eternal vigilance of all veterans
    five stars - branches of the military service
    flags - history of the nation
    gold cord binding the flagstaffs together - those fallen in defense of liberty

38 CFR 1.9(e) describes the department's distinguishing flag and gives two sizes for it: 52 x 66 inches for indoor display and 3 x 5 feet for outdoor hoisting.
Joe McMillan, 28 December 2001

From the DVA Protocol Advisor:
Blue field trimmed in gold fringe. The eagle represents the eternal vigilance of all our nationís veterans. The stars represent the five branches of military service. The crossed flags represent our nationís history. A gold cord binds the two flags and is clutched in the eagleís talons -- symbolic of those who have fallen in defense of liberty.
Dave Fowler, 16 September 2013


Secretary of Veterans Affairs

[Flag of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs] by Joe McMillan, 21 December 2001

Dark blue, one white star in each corner (Jack Kowalski's chart shows yellow stars). Dark blue and gold cord and tassels.
Joe McMillan, 21 December 2001


Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs

[Flag of the Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs] by Joe McMillan, 21 December 2001

Scarlet, one white star in each corner (Jack shows no stars). Scarlet and gold cord and tassels.
Joe McMillan, 21 December 2001

The flag design consists of a dark blue field, with four white stars, one in each corner. Gold fringe, dark blue and gold cord and tassel. The eagle, flags and stars found on the Departmental seal, in natural colors, as on the Departmental flag.
Dave Fowler, 16 September 2013


Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs

[Flag of the Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs] by Joe McMillan, 21 December 2001

Under Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and officials of equivalent rank - Divided from upper hoist to lower fly, scarlet over white, with four stars arranged in a line from lower hoist to upper fly, scarlet on white and white on scarlet. Scarlet and gold cord and tassels.
Joe McMillan, 21 December 2001

Field of scarlet and white, divided equally by a diagonal line between the upper left and lower right corners, the scarlet portion is uppermost. Four stars, arranged diagonally, two scarlet stars on the white portion, two white stars on the scarlet portion. Gold fringe. Scarlet and gold cord tassel. The eagle, flags and stars found on Departmental seal, in natural colors, as on the Departmental flag.
Dave Fowler, 16 September 2013


Assistant Secretary/Director of National Cemetery System

[Flag of the Assistant Secretary/Director of National Cemetery System] image by Joe McMillan, 21 December 2001

Light blue, one white star in each corner. Light blue and gold cord and tassels.
Joe McMillan, 21 December 2001

[Flag of the Assistant Secretary] image located by Dave Fowler, 16 September 2013

From the DVA Protocol Advisor:
Assistant Secretary (and equivalent) for Veterans Affairs
Field of white. Four dark blue stars, one in each corner. Gold fringe. Dark blue and white cord tassel. The eagle, flags and stars found on Departmental seal, in natural colors, as on the Departmental flag.


Other Assistant Secretaries of Veterans Affairs

[Flag of the Department of Veterans Affairs] image by Joe McMillan, 21 December 2001

White, one light blue star in each corner. (Jack shows no stars.) Light blue and white cord and tassels.
Joe McMillan, 21 December 2001


Burial flags

Here are the rules regarding the provision of burial flags by the U. S. Department of Veterans' Affairs for those men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces at some time during their lives:
www.cem.va.gov/cem/bbene/bflags.asp
Ron Lahav, 22 November 2008


1930 DVA Flag

[Flag of the Department of Veterans Affairs] image by Ben Cahoon, 11 January 2015