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Colombia - Military Flags

Last modified: 2008-09-20 by dov gutterman
Keywords: colombia | intelegence | bicol | mfo |
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Overview

I had discovered very recently that according to the legislation in Colombia regarding flags, there is an official War Flag for almost every official institution, that is, the three branches of government (Executive, Legislative, Judicial) at almost all levels (National, Regional, Municipal).
I have come to the conclusion after searching for official flags and found out that most of the times there are two official flags: Bandera de Guerra (War Flag), which is the Colombian tricolor, with the motto REPUBLICA DE COLOMBIA on top, and the corresponding institution's name on the bottom and sometimes the "additional official flag" or more precisly, the Estandarte (Standard).
Decree No. 861 of 1934 (May 17) describes the War Flags on Article 3. The dimensions mentioned there on this same article, are for the Army flag, but they are the foundation for all other flag legislation onwards. However, there is a slight difference according to current dimensions of flags. On Article 3 of the previously mentioned Decree, says that "...will be 1.30 meters long, by 1.10 meters wide...", but there is an ammendment by Decree No. 62 of 1934 (January 11) that says that the actual specifications are "...1.35 meterslong by 1.10 wide...".
The "the latest legislation on the use of the Flag, Coat of Arms and National Anthem is online at the Colombian Ministry of Communications website. In Article No. 8 of this Decree it says that the Bandera Nacional (National Flag), the official name of the Colombian flag, can only be used with the Coat of Arms by the President and the Armed Forces, being called Bandera de Guerra (War Flag). Then on Article No. 12 it says that the Coat of Arms can be used in the Bandera Nacional del Presidente de La República (President of the Republic National Flag), War Flags, and official documentation.
Thus, the name that appears as "official flag" is actually Bandera de Guerra (War Flag) and the name "additional official flag" is actually Estandarte (Standard).
E.R., 25 August 2008


Military Flag

(~4:5)
image by }eljko Heimer, 17 May 2001

Ratio ~4:5. Adopted: 17 May 1924. In use except small changes of the shield. In the red circle the name of the army unit that is using it should be written .
Jaume Ollé, 25 July 1996

This flag and the Cavalry Flag are my "reconstruction" with what I think is reasonable to expect what's written on the red ring, exaple for a mounted unit and example for the Army (assuming that the army as whole would have the infantry version of the colours). The image is based on site <www.escaballeria.mil.co>. There are few photos of the flag there but non good enough to provide for the text. I was not able to find an other infantry unit, so the Cavalry Flag image is maybe a streching a bit too far.
}eljko Heimer, 17 May 2001

Article 3 - the war flag used by the Army is one meter and thirty centimeters long and one meter and ten centimeters wide for the units on foot and the standard for the mounted units should be one meter long and one meter wide. These flags shall have in the center the coat of arms of the Republic surrounded with a ring of red (velvet?) five centimeters wide and forty centimeters of the outer diameter in which is inscribed in golden letters the name of the unit to which it belongs.
Decree Nr. 62 of 1934 (January 11) - 208. The war flag used by the Army shall be, in accordance to the law, one meter and thirty five centimeters long and one meter and ten centimeters wide, for the mounted units. This flag shall have in the center the coat of arms of the Republic, set in an oval of red cloth on which shall be inscribed, in letters outlined in gold the name of the unit or military division to which it belings.
209. The flag with the coat of arms shall only be used by the armed forces of the Nation.
}eljko Heimer, 17 May 2001

The military flag (a.k.a war flag) can be seen in a photo showing Colombia's Foreign Minister, Fernando Araujo, left, shakes hands with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte in Bogota, Tuesday, May 8, 2007.
Ivan Sarajcic, 9 May 2007

Variants (?)


image by Jaume Ollé, 27 October 2001


image by Jaume Ollé, 27 October 2001

Military flag as legislate and as it is. Naval ensign, military flag and cavalry standart was kept without change by resolutions 64 (9-1-1961) and 4235 (1965) and still in use.
Jaume Ollé, 27 October 2001


Cavalry Flag

(1:1)
image by }eljko Heimer, 17 May 2001

Ratio 1:1. Adopted: 17 May 1924. In use except small changes of the shield.
Jaume Ollé, 25 July 1996

Variants (?)


image by Jaume Ollé, 27 October 2001


image by Jaume Ollé, 27 October 2001

Cavalry standart as legislate and as it is used. Naval ensign, military flag and cavalry standart was kept without change by resolutions 64 (9-1-1961) and 4235 (1965) and still in use.
Jaume Ollé, 27 October 2001

The Cavalry Flag is not really a flag. It is merely the Colombian flag with a sumperimposed shield. I have seen this symbol many times in armored units of the Army in Bogota (Capital of Colombia). What the shield reads is: "Republica de Colombia - Ejercito Nacional - Escuela de Caballeria". The "Escuela de Caballeria" is actually a training facility located in Bogota to train the soldiers and officers in charge of the armored units of the Army. You can also find several "Caballeria" facilities troughout the country as they are used on a permanent basis to support ground troops that engage in combat.
Jorge Eduardo Alonso, 8 June 2002


Colombian Army Flag


image by Jaume Ollé and Eugene Ipavec, 22 August 2005


reverse
image by Eugene Ipavec, 3 March 2006

The new Colombian Army flag (it is "new" because the Army's Coat of Arms has been slightly changed - see below).
Source: <www.revistaaeronautica.mil.co>.
E.R., 22 August 2005 and 5 June 2006

Variant


image by Eugene Ipavec, 2 June 2006

Another version of the flag is the plain red background charged with the new Coat of Arms. The reverse of the flag is still the same.
Source: Colombian Army's official website.
E.R., 2 and 5 June 2006

Previous Flag


image by Jaume Ollé, 5 November 2001

Ejercito de la Republica de Colombia - This flag can be seen (in an arty, animated way), at the frame "organizacion" at <www.mindefensa.gov.co>.
Guillermo Tell, 3 June 2000

I have found the complete description of the Coat of Arms of the Colombian Army Flag in Spanish:
"Será de forma Suiza, acuartelado en cruz, es decir en cuatro cuarteles, así:
El cantón diestro del Jefe será de gules, con dos fusiles de oro, con correas de los mismos, de los cuales uno irá en barra y otro en Banda es decir, cruzados.
El cantón diestro de la punta será de sable, con dos tubos de canón en oro cruzados en sotuer.
El cantón siniestro de la punta será en púrpura, con un castillo almenado en oro.
El cantón derecho del Jefe en gules, el color del fuego y de la sangre, que conviene a los héroes y a los mártires, simboliza fortaleza, victoria, osadía, alteza y ardid, cualidades inherentes al infante, cuya idiosincrasia trata de representarse con este color. En el centro de este cuartel van dos fusiles cruzados uno en barra y otro en banda. El fusil es el arma básica de un Ejército, por eso esta figura está en la parte más importante para este caso, del escudo . Las cualidades de ser el arma básica y más antigua le dan la propiedad.
El campo siniestro en oro simboliza juicio, inteligencia, madurez de espíritu, nobleza, magnanimidad, riqueza, poder y sabiduría. Este cuartel lleva de oro dos sables cruzados en sotuer y por si mismos representan la caballería, cuyo patrono, San Jorge, es espejo de gentiles hombres.
El cantón diestro de la punta en sable significa la idea de la sombra misteriosa, prudencia, sin reparos, caracteriza lo que esta más allá de la inteligencia ,lo ignoto, color seco y duro que evoca al hierro, a la ceniza. Simboliza también la tristeza, el rigor, la humildad y la franqueza, color de luto.
Lleva de oro dos tubos de canón en sotuer, es la insignia por excelencia de los artilleros que el cuatro de diciembre evocan a su patrona, Santa Bárbara.
El cantón siniestro de la punta lleva de púrpura un castillo de tres torres almenadas en oro.
La púrpura significa modestia, prudencia, humildad, soledad, deseo y nostalgia del triunfo, es el color de la cereza en sazón.
El castillo con torres almenadas habla del fortalecimiento logrado a base de voluntad y esfuerzo humano.
Timbre
El escudo estará timbrado por un yelmo en acero brunido mirando a la derecha como símbolo de legitimidad.
La calva del casco llevará como cimera tres plumas con los colores de la Bandera Nacional.
Adornos exteriores
Llevará a cada lado lambrequines o lamequines de hojas de acanto en gules y plata.
Divisa o Empresa
Llevará a cada lado lambrequines o lamequines de hojas de acanto en gules y plata."
Source: Official Website of the Colombian Army at <www.ejercito.mil.co>.
Santiago Tazon, 22 January 2002

Distinctive sign in military vehicles


image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 15 June 2005

The distinctive sign in military vehicles used in Colombia.
Source: "Himnos y Símbolos de Nuestra Colombia", page 182. Written in 2000 by Julio Cesar García, edited by Camer Editores. ISBN 958-33-1489-7.
I am not aware that this symbol is used on a flag.
E.R., 12 June 2005

This looks suspiciously like the interwar emblem of Armor in the US Army, and the triangular shape and color arrangement is still used by Armored formations; divisions, I believe, have their number in black on the yellow apex, and there is often a motto, slogan, or nickname in a separate label at the bottom beneath the actual emblem.
Ron Lahav, 12 June 2005

The distinctive mark on armoured units (i.e. tanks) used by the Colombian Army, is based on the same symbol as the US Army uses.
E.R., 18 April 2008


Colombian Army Coat of Arms


image from <www.ejercito.mil.co>

There has been a recent change in the Coat of Arms of the Colombian Army published on the Army's official website on May 17, 2005, the image and also the official explanation in Spanish.
Most important facts:
1. The current version of the Colombian National Army Coat of Arms was designed back in 1936 and had been unmodified until very recently.
2. The new modification was introduced under Resolution No. 0523 of 2005 by the Army Commander, to include the recently created Army Branches: - Aviación del Ejército (Army's Aviation), created in 1990 - Inteligencia Militar (Military Intelligence), created in 1996 - Comunicaciones (Communications), created in 1997.
From top to bottom (left to right), the colors and arms of the following Branches are represented in the Coat of Arms:
- Top left: two crossed rifles over red background: Infantry
- Top right: two crossed swords over yellow background: Cavalry
- Middle left: two crossed cannons over black background: Artillery
- Middle right: brick castle over purple background: Engineers
- Lower left: two crossed signal flags over orange background: Communications
- Lower right: a compass on purple background: Military Intelligence
- Bottom: pilots wings over blue background:  Army Aviation.
It is also worth noticing that each Army Battalion/Brigade (depending on the Branch) will have the background colors displayed on the Coat of Arms, plus the Coat of Arms of that specific unit.
Source: <www.ejercito.mil.co>
 E.R., 12 June 2005

Previous Coat of Arms


image by Jaume Ollé, 5 November 2001


Flags Without Arms


Army (EJC)
image by Carlos Thompson, 2 June 2003


Navy (ARC)
image by Carlos Thompson, 2 June 2003


Air Force (FAC)
image by Carlos Thompson, 2 June 2003

In the front dor of the Military Hospital, in Bogotá, Colombia, there are three flags in plain color: dark blue, light blue and red. I supose that the flags are just versions without the coat of arms, of the flags of the Army (EJC), Navy (ARC) and Air Force (FAC). I have also seen the red flag at the Cadet School, in Bogota.
Carlos Thompson, 2 June 2003

António Martins wrote: "These seem to follow the british pattern...". Given that Colombia military airfield flag follows a British pattern: sky blue flag with national flag in the canton and roundel in the fly; and that Britain had a lot of influence in Latin America post independence, that would be a fair guess.
Carlos Thompson, 3 June 2003


General Command of Military Forces Flag


War Flag
image by Eugene Ipavec, 26 December 2004


Standard - obverse
image by Eugene Ipavec, 15 February 2006


Standard - reverse
image by Eugene Ipavec, 15 February 2006 (based on original by Jaumé Ollé)

Comando General de las Fuerzas Militares - Colombia (General Command of Military Forces) - This flag can be seen (in an arty, animated way), at the frame "organizacion" at <www.mindefensa.gov.co>.
Guillermo Tell, 3 June 2000

Website at <www.cgfm.mil.co>. The flag is divided into three horizontal equal stripes, with light blue (top), red (middle) and dark blue (bottom). The CGFM (for its initials) was created by Decree No. 835 of April 16,1951 and its in charge of the Planinng and Strategic guidelines of the Colombian Armed Forces.
I would also like to mention that the colors of this flag are the same (only inverted) to the flag of British Joint services, so probably the Colombian military use this flag to design their own. The colors on the Colombian CGFM flag are light blue on top (airforce), red on the middle (ground forces) and dark blue on the bottom (navy).
E.R., 25 July 2005

However, in the shield at the center of the arms the symbols of the services are, top to bottom, Army (rifle), Navy (anchor) and Air Force (winged mini-shield). Perhaps they were placed in order of seniority.
Eugene Ipavec, 26 July 2005

This is correct: The symbols displayed (from top to bottom) are indeed in order of seniority. The Army was the first Force (its foundation date is considered 1819, the year the Battle of Boyaca was fought and Colombia gained its independence from Spain). The second Force was the Navy (its foundation date is considered to be 1824, the year the Naval Battle of Maracaibo was fought, defeating the whole Spanish domain in the South American territory, except for minor engagements that took place inland in 1825). The last Force created was the Air Force (its foundation date is considered to be 1919, when Colombian President Marco Fidél Suárez established the Air Arm, as a Branch of the Army).
E.R., 26 July 2005

All military flags in Colombia have one version in tricolour flag and the other one with the Coat of Arms and background colors. Sources for the first version are <www.cgfm.mil.co> and <www.mindefensa.gov.co>.
E.R., 26 December 2004

The color composition of additional official flag is as follows: Light blue on top, which represents the Air Force, and should be the same shade as the Air Force plain flag. Red in the middle, which represents the Land Force (Army), and should be the same shade as the Army plain flag. Dark blue on bottom, which represents the Sea Force (Navy), and should be the same shade as the Navy plain flag. In the obverse it has the coat of arms and on the reverse it is plain.
E.R., 28 January 2006

Variant


image by Eugene Ipavec, 2 January 2008

This is a variant of the CGFM flag. The variant is the Coat of Arms which is encircled on a black disc, the letters are in yellow and the flag has a yellow embroided border. The source is a photo taken on Colombia Independence Day, July 20, 2006.
E.R., 2 January 2008


Joint Command No. 1 'Caribbean'


image by Eugene Ipavec, 5 February 2006

There's a military Task Force in Colombia recently created which is higher than an Army Division (in the Military hierarchy). It is only a temporary task force, but it comprises a lot of military manpower, so it is very important. The official name is Comando Conjunto No. 1 'Caribe' (Joint Command No. 1 'Caribbean'), and it comprises the Army's First Division, and the Navy's First Marine Infantry Brigade, plus some other smaller units.The flag is the Colombian tricolor, plus the Coat of Arms of the General Forces Military Command. The image looks pretty similar to the alternate version of the General Forces Military Command, only that the lettering changes a bit: on the top it reads COMANDO CONJUNTO, and on the bottom reads NUMERO 1 CARIBE.
E.R., 5 February 2006


Korean War Veterans


obverse
image by Eugene Ipavec, 8 December 2005


reverse
image by Eugene Ipavec, 10 March 2006

This is the official flag of the Korean War Veterans from Colombia. It is the same as the AFEAU flag, only that on the bottom fringe it reads "VETERANOS DE KOREA" (Please notice that Korea is spelled in English, because in Spanish it is Corea, but somehow they put it in English). The picture was taken from the website of the Ministry of National Defense (<www.mindefensa.gov.co>) durign the 50th anniversary of the participation of troops from Colombia in the Korean War, under the US command leading the UN-forces. In the picture are the former Minister of Defense and the former Commander General of the Military Forces back in an award ceremony in 2002.
E.R., 8 December 2005


obverse
image by Eugene Ipavec,

On February 24 of 2008, I went to a military fair held in one of the newest shopping malls built recently in Medellin. There they had military equipment and gear, as well as videos, weapons. It was attended by present active, retired, reserve and veteran military personnel.
I found the banner of ASVEGIC (Asociación de Veteranos de la Guerra Internacional de Corea, Association of Veterans of the International Korean War)
It is on red background, charged with the lion of the Coat of atms of the Batallón Colombia  with the yellow letters ASVEGIC on  top.
E.R., 30 March 2008


Military Forces Retirement Fund


flag
image by Eugene Ipavec, 30 July 2006


coat of arms
image by Eugene Ipavec, 30 July 2006

The flag of the Caja de Retiro de las Fuerzas Militares (Military Forces Retirement Fund). The abbreviation in Spanish is CREMIL. It is the organization in charge of pension related issues of the Military Forces. The flag has the same proportion in as the Colombian flag, that is 50% of the flag is one color (in this case red, representing the Army), and the other 50% is divided into two; 25% of dark blue representing the Navy) and the other 25% in light blue (representing the Air Force).
The motto on the Coat of Arms is "SERVICIO JUSTO Y OPORTUNO". Tha flag has the Coat of Arms on a white circle added to the above mentioned flag. However the black letters that appear on the flag itself I cannot identify.
Source: Official CREMIL website.
E.R., 30 July 2006


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