Department of Florida

Color Guard Competition

Time and Place of Competition:

The Color Guard Competition will be held tentatively on Thursday, July 5, 2018,  in a designated room at the host hotel of the Department of Florida Annual Convention.

Competition Classes:

Advance/Retire Colors, minimum 4 color guard members; and Military Open Class, maximum 7 color guard members; per National Color Guard competition rules.

Supervision:

All rulings are made within the framework of the National Color Guard Competition rules.

Eligibility:

Competing color guard units must have participated in events/or have been sponsored by its post within the current year, 2017-2018.  The sponsoring post must have a registered delegation at the Annual Department Convention (with exception of special category).  Participating color guard members themselves do not have to be a registered convention delegate, however, they must be a member in good standing of an organization within The American Legion Family of the sponsoring post.

Special Category – Correctional Institution American Legion Color Guard Units:

There will be a special category award for color guard units of American Legion Posts that are located within a correctional facility in the state of Florida.  These units can compete in either, or both of the competition categories defined above.  This competition will be by video submitted by the District Commander of the District in which the facility is located.  The video file must be must be compatible with and able to be shown on WMV (Windows Media Video), and submitted on a USB flash drive.  Deadline for video submission to be announced soon.  Video competition is available only to this category of Color Guard Unit.

Entry Deadline:

The deadline will be announced soon.

Entry Application:

To enter a color guard unit in the competition, the sponsoring post should submit a written request to enter either, or both competitions, on official post letter head addressed to the Department Sgt-at-Arms. The correspondence should contain the names of color guard unit members, and verify that they are members in good standing of the sponsoring post.  The correspondence should be signed by the post commander and adjutant or other officer.

The entry request and any videos should be mailed to the Department of Florida, ATTENTION TO JENNIFER SCHNEIDAU, SPECIAL EVENTS COORDINATOR.  

 

ADVANCING / RETIRING COLORS CLASS

COLOR GUARD – This contest will be open to all units composed of not less than four (4) members. If the color guard consists of only four (4) members, the American Flag bearer will give all color guard commands.

 

INSPECTION – Inspection will consist of a certification that the required number of personnel are available for competition, that the color guard sponsoring post has a delegation registered for the Department Annual Convention (color guard members themselves are not required to be registered as convention delegates), that required equipment is being carried onto the field of competition, and to insure that basic personal appearances and condition of uniforms and equipment is in accordance with a precise military inspection. At the request of the inspection judge, unit members will be required to show their current American Legion Family membership cards.

 

JUDGES – There will be an Inspection Judge, an Execution Judge, and a Timing and Penalty Judge provided by the Department. The judges are to rank and rate the unit participants.

 

POINTS – Awards will be made on the following points:

Execution:

Dignity and Military Bearing:

Commanding Officer – 20

Unit Members – 20

Marching and Maneuvering – 20

Subtotal – 60

General Effect:

Dignity and Military Bearing – 20

Showmanship – 20

Subtotal – 40

TOTAL – 100

 

UNIFORM AND EQUIPMENT – The style and color of uniform will be optional with each unit provided they are within the dignity and propriety required when carrying the National Colors. Headgear is required to be worn by all members of the unit.

Required authorized equipment will consist of National Colors*, American Legion Post Banner, and at least two weapons.

Additional authorized equipment, such as flags, sidearm, sabers and swords may be carried and can be simulated. “Replica rifles” may be used, as long as they have the same weight as the real rifle, plus the bolt mechanism. “Simulated rifles” (rifles of lesser weight with or without simulated bolt mechanism) cannot be used in this class.

*DEFINITION – The Institute of Heraldry, Washington, D.C., has specified in Title 4 of the U.S. Flag Code, the 50-Star American Flag is the Flag of our Country (U.S. Colors); therefore, all others shall be treated as banners. All banners and flags shall be dipped at a reviewing stand except the 50-Star Flag of our Country.

Use of National Color staff head finial piece, as defined by flag code, is mandatory. If a directional piece is used, care should be taken to make sure the directional piece is facing the assemblage. This is how flags with directional pieces will be judged.

Minimum size of U.S. Colors is 3 feet by 5 feet. No flag shall be larger in size than the U.S. Colors.

Rifles are defined as weapons that are hand operated and designed to be fired primarily from the shoulder. The surface of the rifle must have bore lands and grooves to impart rotary motion to the projectile, which conform to the original design of military rifles, past or present. Sights, slings, barrels, trigger and trigger housing are optional. Bolts or simulated bolts are required.

Side arms are defined as weapons, which are hand held and fired by means of a primer, percussion cap, or cartridge enclosed igniter.

Sabers (swords) are defined as weapons which are designed to be hand held for cutting, thrusting or slashing an enemy, with either a curved (saber) blade or straight (sword) blade which may be constructed of any material and must have hand guard.

 

CONDUCT OF COLOR GUARD/PENALTIES

(a) The contest will be held on a floor approximately 40 feet wide and 60 feet long with the outside lines marked. A Commander’s Station will be placed at some point on the floor that best suits the color guards advancing/retiring of colors.

(b) Each Color Guard will have a maximum of four (4) minutes for their advancing/retiring of colors performance. Timing and judging will start for a unit with the first step across the starting line by any member of the unit. A signal will be given at the expiration of four (4) minutes, however timing and all judging will continue until the last member of the unit proper crosses the finish line, including the Commanding Officer.

Any violation of the maximum time shall result in a one tenth (0.1) point penalty for each three- (3) seconds, or fraction thereof.

(c) Each Color Guard will have a designated competition time. Following inspection, the unit will remain available to proceed to the starting line for competition.

The failure of any unit to report at the designated competition time will result in a one-half (0.5) point penalty. For each 15 minutes or part thereof and up to the conclusion of the contest, another one-half (0.5) point will be assessed.

(d) Once a unit reports to the starting official that the unit is ready, the unit must start within sixty (60) seconds or less.

Failure to start within 60 seconds or less will result in a one-point (1) penalty.

(e) Each Color Guard shall only enter and exit the floor over the designated “starting point”. After timing has commenced, there will be no penalty for marking time at the starting line. The use of colors must be with dignity and propriety. All boundary lines are inviolate at all times except for unit entrance, exit, or for members involved in set up prior to the start of the performance or tear down at the end of the performance.

A one-tenth– (0.1) point penalty will be assessed for each starting point, exit point, or other boundary line violation.

 

ADVANCING COLORS – The following is an example of an advancing of colors routine:

(a) Color Guard consisting of minimum number of four (4) is formed at the rear of the contest area in a rank or file, whichever may suit the situation best, formation facing the Commander’s station.

In forming a rank, the National Color is to the right of the Post Color and the two Guards are on the respective flanks. In forming a file, the National Color is second in file, preceded by a Rifle Guard and followed respectively by the Post Color and a Rifle Guard.

To properly form the Guard, the following sequence of Commands may be used: “Fall In”-“Dress Right Dress”-“Ready Front”-“Right or Left Shoulder Arms”-(Color bearers should assume the position of carry or any other suitable position at this command) “Forward March.” The above-mentioned commands put the Guard in a forward motion.

Upon arriving at a position in front of the Commander’s station, the following commands may be used: “Guard Halt-Post Colors” (The National Color bearer steps off in the direction of the Flag receptacle to the right of the Commander’s station, halting and facing front upon arriving in front of same). The Post Color bearer follows the same procedure to the Flag receptacle to the left of the Commander’s station. During this procedure the Rifle Guards will assume the position of Port Arms. The next command may be “Place Colors.” Colors may be placed by stepping forward with one foot and placing Colors into the receptacles, making sure any top ornament on each respective color is facing the assemblage. It must be remembered that the Colors may be posted simultaneously, or the Post Color is posted first followed by the National Color. The Color Bearers then return to the position of attention. The next command may be “Present Arms.” The Rifle Guards should render the prescribed salute with their pieces and the Color Bearers should render a right hand salute. (Post Color Bearer should either face the National Color or turn toward the American Flag while executing the salute).

The next command sequence may be “Right Shoulder Arms” (Color Bearers recovering from hand salute on same), “Assemble March” (Color Bearers may face the center and step off respectively in the direction from which they came and assume their positions in the formation facing the rear of the competition area. The Rifle Guards may execute an about-face on command and be prepared to move out on the next command with Guard intact).

The next command may be “Forward March” and upon arriving at the starting point, the Guard should be halted with the command of “Guard Halt” and then the Guard may be given “Fall Out.”

 

RETIRING COLORS – The following is an example of a retiring of colors routine:

(a). Retrieving the Colors may be executed in nearly the same manner except substituting the command of “Retrieve Colors” for “Post Colors,” and giving the command “Present Arms” upon the Color Bearers arrival in front of their respective colors (Color Bearers will salute at this time).

The next sequence of commands may be “Right Shoulder Arms” (Color bearers will assume position of attention) “Take Colors” (Color Bearers putting one foot forward to take Colors and assuming position of attention, after securing same). It must be remembered that the Colors may be retrieved simultaneously, or the National Color is retrieved first followed by the Post Color. The next commands may be “Assemble, March” (Color Bearers executing same marching as in returning from Posting). The Rifle Guards will execute about-face after Colors have arrived in respective positions. The Guard may be retired in the same manner as it was in Posting, with the exception of the last command, which should be “Dismissed.”

 

OTHER PENALTIES

(a). A unit violating any requirement of the Eligibility Clause of this contest will be disqualified and its position and standing in the contest will be forfeited.

(b). Any infraction of flag etiquette. The authority adopted for flag etiquette is the “American Legion Competitive Flag Code,” adopted by the American Legion.

One point (1.0) for each offense

(c). Each piece of dropped equipment or uniform.

Assessment will be a one tenth (0.1) penalty for each infraction

(d). Retrieval by any member of each piece of dropped equipment or uniform.

Assessment is one point (1.0) for each retrieval of dropped equipment or uniform.

Only judges may retrieve dropped equipment or uniform items.

 

TIE BREAKER – In the case of a tie for first place in this Color Guard Class, the color guard with the highest general effect score will be declared the winner.

 

AWARDS – A trophy will be presented to the runner-up and winner of the contest.

 

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MILITARY CLASS-OPEN CONTEST

COLOR GUARD – This contest will be open to all units composed of seven (7) members or less including the Commanding Officer.

 

INSPECTION – Inspection will consist of a certification that the required number of personnel are available for competition, that the color guard sponsoring post has registered for the Convention (color guard members themselves do not necessarily have to be registered as a delegate from their post), that required equipment is being carried onto the field of competition, and to insure that basic personal appearances and condition of uniforms and equipment is in accordance with a precise military inspection. At the request of the inspection judge, unit members will be required to show their current American Legion Family membership cards.

 

JUDGES – Four judges will be provided: one General Effect Judge, one Marching and Maneuvering Judge, one Timing and Penalty Judge and one Inspection Judge.

 

POINTS – Awards will be made on the following points:

 

General Effect:

Performance Effectiveness – 15

Repertoire – 15

Requirements Effectiveness – 10

Effective Use of American Flag Section – 10

 

Marching & Maneuvering:

Execution Performance – 15

Exposure/Technique – 10

Equipment Performance – 15

Exposure/Technique – 10

 

TOTAL – 100

 

UNIFORM & EQUIPMENT – The style and color of uniform will be optional with each unit provided they are within the dignity and propriety required when carrying the National Colors. Headgear is required on the National Color bearer.

Required authorized equipment will consist of National Colors* and at least one weapon and one American Legion Organizational Banner. Additional authorized equipment, such as flags, rifles, sidearm, sabers and swords may be carried and can be simulated.

*DEFINITION – The Institute of Heraldry, Washington, D.C., has specified in Title 4 of the U.S. Flag Code, that the 50-Star American Flag is the Flag of our Country (U.S. Colors); therefore, all others shall be treated as banners. All banners and flags shall be dipped at a reviewing stand except the 50-Star Flag of our Country.

 Use of National Color staff head finial piece, as defined by flag code, is mandatory. If a directional piece is used, it will be judged on the directions of the bearer, and not the direction of the staff head. All other staff heads on other banners when used are optional.

 Minimum size of U.S. Colors is 3 feet by 5 feet. No flag shall be larger in size than the U.S. Colors. Rifles are defined as weapons that are hand operated and designed to be fired primarily from the shoulder. The surface of the rifle must have bore lands and grooves to impart rotary motion to the projectile, which conform to the original design of military rifles, past or present.

Side arms are defined as weapons, which are hand held and fired by means of a prime, percussion cap, or cartridge enclosed igniter.

 Sabers (swords) are defined as weapons which are designed to be hand held for cutting, thrusting or slashing an enemy, with either a curved (saber) blade or straight (sword) blade which may be constructed of any material and must have hand guard.

 

CONDUCT OF COLOR GUARD/PENALTIES

(a). The contest will be held on a field or floor approximately 40 feet wide and 60 feet long with the outside lines and center line marked. A 90-inch (7ft. 6in.) line will be marked on each side of the centerline for the Pass-in-Review area.

(b). Performance time shall be not less than four (4) or more than six (6) minutes. Timing and judging will start for a unit with the first step across the starting line by a member of the unit proper, excluding the Commanding Officer. A warning signal will be given at the expiration of four (4) minutes, however timing and all judging will continue until the last member of the unit proper crosses the finish line, including the Commanding Officer.

Any violation of the minimum or maximum times shall result in a one tenth (0.1) point penalty for each three (3) seconds, or fraction thereof.

(c). Each Color Guard will have a designated competition time. Following inspection, the unit will remain available to proceed to the starting line for competition.

The failure of any unit to report at the designated competition time will result in a one-half (0.5) point penalty. For each 15 minutes or part thereof and up to the conclusion of the contest, another one-half (0.5) point will be assessed.

(d). Once a unit reports to the starting official that the unit is ready, the unit must start within sixty (60) seconds or less.

(e). Each Color Guard shall only enter the floor over the designated “starting line” to the left of the Saluting Point, and exit over the designated “finish line” at the opposite end of the field, to the right of the Saluting Point. After timing has commenced, there will be no penalty for marking time at the starting line. The saluting point shall be the center of that sideline of the floor that is to the right of the traditional starting line. The use of colors must be with dignity and propriety. All boundary lines are inviolate at all times except for unit entrance, exit, or for members involved in set up prior to the start of the performance or tear down at the end of the performance.

A one-tenth– (0.1) point penalty will be assessed for each starting line, exit line, or other boundary line violation.

 

REQUIRED MANEUVERS – Each unit must execute, in any order, at the Saluting Point, the following maneuvers: Pass-In-Review, Presentation of Colors, Post and Retrieve. In addition, a unit may execute any other “appropriate” maneuvers during their performance.

 

PASS-IN-REVIEW – The area of Pass-In-Review shall be ninety (90) inches before and ninety (90) inches after the Saluting Point. This area will be clearly marked. The unit shall be in a company front with the placement of the Commanding Officer at the discretion of the unit. All members, including the commanding Officer may start the Pass-In-Review with the salute or first step over the line of the Pass-In-Review area. All members of the unit must render the proper salute by displaying “Eyes Right” except: The U.S. Flag bearer shall not dip, but may at the discretion of the unit, render “Eyes Right”. The extreme right element of the unit renders no eyes right, but does render the proper salute unless it is the Commander, in which case an “Eyes Right” is required.

Any violation of Pass-In-Review shall result in a one point (1.0) penalty.

 

PRESENTATION OF COLORS – This maneuver shall be done at a halt, at attention, facing the Saluting Point. The American Legion organization banner shall dip at least momentarily to the Saluting Point. All weapons must render the proper “present arms” at least momentarily. All salutes shall be rendered simultaneously at some point in the presentation.

Any violation of Presentation of Colors shall result in a one point (1.0) penalty.

 

POST AND RETRIEVE – This maneuver includes the U.S. Flag and American Legion organizational banner. The U.S. Flag is to be posted to the right of the Saluting Point with its front facing the field. Colors must be properly guarded at all times; for guarding purposes, weapons shall at all times be in the possession of the guarding member.

During the ceremony of Posting and Retrieving, two (2) salutes are required, to be executed simultaneously by all members; one directly following posting and one salute directly prior to retrieving colors. Colors must not be posted for more than sixty (60) seconds. Time shall commence upon the release of the first pike and shall terminate upon the grasp of the last pike. A color is deemed posted immediately upon the release of the pike.

A color is deemed retrieved upon the intentional grasp of the pike. The U.S. Flag and Banner may be posted simultaneously, if not so posted, the U.S. Flag must be posted last. The U.S. Flag and Banner may be retrieved simultaneously. However, if not so retrieved, the U.S. Flag must be retrieved first. The U.S. Flag must be guarded at all times. The U.S. Flag is considered as being properly guarded during maneuvers if the guard is within three (3) paces of the U.S. Flag.

 

PENALTIES

(a). A unit violating any requirement of Rule 5 will be disqualified and its position and standing in the contest will be forfeited.

(b). A unit violating any rule, or part of a rule for which no specific penalty is provided.

Each violation not less than one-tenth (0.1) point nor more than Disqualification.

 (c). Any infraction of flag etiquette. The authority adopted for flag etiquette is the “American Legion Competitive Flag Code,” adopted by the American Legion.

One point (1.0) for each offense

 (d). Retrieval by any member of each piece of dropped equipment or uniform.

Assessment is one point (1.0) for each retrieval of dropped equipment or Uniform.

 (e).  Retrieval by any member of each piece of dropped equipment or uniform.

Each violation not less than one-tenth (0.1) point nor more than Disqualification.

Only judges may retrieve dropped equipment or uniform items only.

(f). Deliberate grounding of equipment is not permitted in this class.

 

PROTESTS – Any protest regarding these contests will conform to and is disposed of according to these rules. Protest must be filed not later than thirty (30) minutes following the conclusion of the contest.

Audio-visual recording equipment may be allowed in the area of competition at the discretion of the Chief Judge of Contests; however, no such evidence will be admissible at a protest meeting.

 

TIE BREAKER – In the case of a tie for first place, the color guard with the highest general effect score will be declared the winner.

 

AWARDS – A trophy will be awarded to the winner and runner-up in the contest.

 

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