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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (U.S.)

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[NOAA Service Flag] image by Joe McMillan, 29 August 1999



See also:


Description

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, part of the Department of Commerce, is the scientific organization that includes the National Ocean Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the National Weather Service, and other related organizations. Among other things, it operates a fleet of about 15 ocean-going research ships and has a corps of about 250 uniformed commissioned officers who hold naval rank titles.

The NOAA service flag is the old U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey flag (a blue flag with a red triangle on a white circle centered on the field) altered by the addition of the NOAA logo (a dark and light blue circle divided by the stylized profile of a seagull) on the triangle. The USC&GS was one of the principal organizations that was amalgamated into NOAA. It goes back to at least 1915; I have seen photographs from that time of USC&GS vessels with it hoisted at the head of the foremast.
Joe McMillan, 29 August 1999

The directive for this flag is NOAA Administrative Order 201-6. Attachment 1 lists the sizes of all flags used by NOAA. The service flag, which is what we're talking about, comes in two sizes for hoisting on ships and fixed poles: 3.60 by 5.13 feet and 2.50 by 3.30 feet. These are the same sizes used by the US Navy and Coast Guard for personal flags and are approximations of the 7:10 ratio that derived originally--in the 19th century--from the proportions of the canton on the national ensign.
Joe McMillan, 28 June 2002

As a reference, the Commissioned Corps of the Coast and Geodetic Survey dates back to 1917, but the Coast Survey (first named Survey of the Coast) traces its ancestry to the Act of February 10,1807, though field operations did not begin until 1810. It is therefore, the oldest scientific agency of the US government. Prior to WW I, officers heading field units were loaned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey from the Navy and Army, but during the war these services could not provide the needed officers, and the Coast and Geodetic Survey commissioned corps was created in 1917. In 1970, with the establishment of NOAA as an agency of the Department of Commerce, the Coast and Geodetic Survey was transferred into NOAA, and C&GS commissioned officers became NOAA Corps officers. In NOAA, the officers serve the entire organization, not just the descendant elements of the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

An informative website you might enjoy is the NOAA library page, at www.lib.noaa.gov/ , which includes a history page and an extensive collection of old photographs. A more extensive history can be found at: www.history.noaa.gov/
Don Dreves, 30 May 2003

The NOAA logo has nothing to do with the civil defense symbol.
Joe McMillan, 23 June 2005


Personal flags of senior NOAA civilian officials consist of the NOAA service flag with the addition of stars. Those who hold concurrent appointments as under secretary or assistant secretary of commerce also rate additional personal flags in that capacity:

Administrator

[Administrator NOAA] image by Joe McMillan, 29 August 1999

Administrator: Four white stars, one in each corner. The Administrator is concurrently an under secretary of commerce.
Joe McMillan, 29 August 1999


Deputy Administrator

[Deputy Administrator] image by Joe McMillan, 29 August 1999

Deputy Administrator: Four red stars, one in each corner. The Deputy Administrator is concurrently an assistant secretary of commerce.
Joe McMillan, 29 August 1999


Chief Scientist

[Chief Scientist] image by Joe McMillan, 29 August 1999

Chief Scientist: Three red stars arranged vertically "next to the staff."
Joe McMillan, 29 August 1999


There are also personal flags for admirals in NOAA's commissioned corps:

Vice Admiral

[Vice Admiral] image by Joe McMillan, 29 August 1999

Vice Admiral: Blue with a large white triangle in the center and three white stars in a vertical line in the hoist.
Joe McMillan, 29 August 1999


Rear Admiral

[Rear Admiral] image by Joe McMillan, 29 August 1999

Rear Admiral: Blue with a large white triangle and flanked by two white stars.
Joe McMillan, 29 August 1999


Rear Admiral (lower half)

[Rear Admiral (lower half] image by Joe McMillan, 29 August 1999

Rear Admiral (lower half): White with a blue star on the center of a blue-bordered white triangle.
Joe McMillan, 29 August 1999


Commission Pennant

[Ship's Pennant] image by Joe McMillan, 29 August 1999

There is also a "ship's pennant" (i.e., commission pennant) as well. Before NOAA was established, the USC&GS used a pennant that had seven red triangles on a white hoist and a blue swallowtailed fly.
Joe McMillan, 29 August 1999

I am a career officer in the NOAA Commissioned Corps, and confirm that the flags and commissioning pennants shown on the website are correct and current. We refer to the latter as the commissioning pennant, not the "ship's pennant," and follow Naval tradition with respect to it.
Don Dreves, 30 May 2003


NOAA Corps

[NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps flag] image by Don Dreves, 30 May 2003

This is the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps flag, adopted 7 March 2002.
source: www.noaacorps.noaa.gov/about/flag.html
Don Dreves, 30 May 2003

"On March 7, 2002, Secretary of Commerce Donald L. Evans signed into effect Department Administrative Order (DAO) 201-6, which amended the Official Flags of the Department to include a new flag for the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps. The Corps had been the only member of the seven uniformed services without a distinctive flag of its own. This is very timely as the 85th anniversary of the NOAA Corps will be celebrated on May 22nd. On the flag the NOAA Corps insignia appears within a red triangle, set within a white circle, against a navy blue background."
Valentin Poposki, 13 November 2005