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US Navy national ensign (flag) and commission pennant question


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My question is, on board a US Navy vessel does the national ensign fly on the same mast as the commission pennant? If so I suspect the ensign flies above the pennant?

 

Thank you

 

Tom

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Interesting question Tom. I would think not but there must be many photos of commissioning ceremonies and that would be the most accurate way to answer your question. I thought that commissioning pennants were just used for the ceremony and then individually given to officers and sailors on the ship plus some VIP's as souvenirs.

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well I tried to attach more photos but this size restriction won't let me.....just google Navy Commissioning Pennant and you'll see many examples of the pennant flying above the ensign. It is only removed when a flag officer or VIP with their own positional flag is aboard and the pennant is replaced with that rank flag.

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Interesting info that I did not know. So to make this educational...

 

Some commissioning pennants look heavily used. Is that because they flew with the flag and got replaced like flags did?

 

Was there only one pennant when the ship was commissioned?

 

Many images show commanders being relieved and as a parting gift they receive a framed CP by a NCO sailor. Is that a traditional gift for the enlisted to give a commanding officer?

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donation2015.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

 





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Interesting info that I did not know. So to make this educational...

 

Some commissioning pennants look heavily used. Is that because they flew with the flag and got replaced like flags did?

 

Was there only one pennant when the ship was commissioned?

 

Many images show commanders being relieved and as a parting gift they receive a framed CP by a NCO sailor. Is that a traditional gift for the enlisted to give a commanding officer?

 

From what I understand the Commissioning Pennant is frequently retained by the ship's commander, usually an officer below the rank of rear admiral (which his own rank flag) since the rank flag replaces the commissioning pennant when and admiral is aboard. For as small and non-descript as the 3" x 48" sliver of a flag, the commissioning pennant is THE most important flag of a commissioned warship.

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Interesting info that I did not know. So to make this educational...

 

Some commissioning pennants look heavily used. Is that because they flew with the flag and got replaced like flags did?

 

Was there only one pennant when the ship was commissioned?

 

Many images show commanders being relieved and as a parting gift they receive a framed CP by a NCO sailor. Is that a traditional gift for the enlisted to give a commanding officer?

 

 

Answers...

 

Yes, commissioning pennants are flown along with the national ensign and are changed out as required. They are not attached or scheduled to be changed out at the same time the ensign is changed out - they are only changed out when required (the commissioning pennant, being smaller, often lasts longer than the national ensign).

 

No, the commissioning pennant is changed out as required. There are more than one during the life of the ship.

 

As far as them being given as gifts to the departing CO by the Chief's Mess, that sometimes happens, but there's nothing written in stone about it. Framing up a pennant is a nice gesture and easy enough to do; sometimes the Mess does it, other times the Wardroom. Sometimes both go in on the gift, with the value of the framing, etc., not to exceed $300 per Navy ethics rules.

 

Hope that helps!

 

Dave

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif
donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

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BTW - here's a nice bit of history about the commissioning pennant:

 

https://www.history.navy.mil/browse-by-topic/heritage/customs-and-traditions0/commissioning-pennant.html

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif
donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

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To follow on with what Dave said.

We usually changed pennants out every month or so. Gave the old ones away to whoever wanted them. The ones we used for presentations, we would hoist for a day, then take them down before they got ratty or dirty.

 

They mostly flew from the same mast. Officially from the Main Mast Top. They were attached to a Pig Stick, which is basically an old swab or broom handle, fitted with a snap hook and ring for the halyard, the pennant being attached to the top of the stick, generally with a screw and assorted washers. Many Pig Sticks, back in the days of Signalmen, were covered with fancy work The purpose of the stick was to

Keep the pennant up and away from Stuff on the mast. So, it indeed was higher than the ensign. The Ensign flew from a gaff, which stuck off the mast. Different classes of ship had different arrangements, but the pennant goes to the mast top, the ensign to the gaff.

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As an addition to my previous post, where ever you can hoist an ensign or pennant, is rigged with 2 blocks. The theory is that if you haul down the commission pennant, to hoist a Command pennant (ADM flag or such), you hoist it of the adjacent halyard and haul the pennant down when the Command Pennant reaches the block. Same with ensigns. If you haul one down to hoist a bigger one for what ever reason, it goes on the adjacent halyard and the Replaced one does not come down until the new one is closed up. The other reason for dual halyards with the ensign, is that the Churck pennant flies above the ensign during church services. So, the church pennant goes on the adjacent halyard, and the ensign is lowered to just below it.

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Again thank you all for your responses, my reasons for asking was I have a jack, an ensign and a commission pennant and want to display in correct orientation. I know I have stated before that I have a piece of the commissioning pennant my father got when LCI (L) 950 was decommissioned from the USN and Lend Leased to the Russians during "Operation Hula". A sad day according to him.

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Again thank you all for your responses, my reasons for asking was I have a jack, an ensign and a commission pennant and want to display in correct orientation. I know I have stated before that I have a piece of the commissioning pennant my father got when LCI (L) 950 was decommissioned from the USN and Lend Leased to the Russians during "Operation Hula". A sad day according to him.

. With a Jack, the vessel is In Port,( which includes at anchor). Basically, not underway. The Jack is at the bow. The ensign is at the stern, the commission pennant is at the main mast head.
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