morning colors, followed by the national anthems of
any other foreign nations represented.
There are times during the year that the ensign is
flown at half-mast, or half-staff ashore. This is the
internationally recognized symbol of mourning.
Normally, the flag is half-masted on receiving
information of the death of one of the officials or officers
listed in U.S. Navy Regulations. Notification may be
through the news media or by official message. The
United States honors its war dead on Memorial Day by
flying the flag at half-mast from 0800 until the last gun
of a 21-minute gun salute that begins at noon (or until
1220 if no gun salute is rendered).
If the ensign is flown from the flagstaff and is
half-masted, the union jack is also half-masted. In
half-masting the national ensign, it will, if not already
hoisted, first be hoisted to the peak and then lowered to
the half-mast position. Before lowering from the
half-mast position, the ensign is hoisted to the peak,
then lowered ceremoniously. Distinctive marks, such as
commission or command pennants, are not half-masted
except when the ships commanding officer or the unit
U.S. Navy Regulations stipulates that when any ship
under United States registry or the registry of a nation
formally recognized by the United States salutes a U.S.
Navy ship by dipping its flag (hauled halfway down and
then raised), the courtesy is to be returned dip for dip. A
U.S. Navy ship never dips to a foreign ship (flag) first.
U.S. naval ships (USNS) of the Military Sealift
Command do not dip the national ensign to Navy ships
since they are public ships of the United States.
Figure 4-16.The United States national ensign.
Figure 4-17.Preparative pennant.