Posted by: sean | April 29, 2009

The Stars and Bars in Beirut

marines1958wy2A friend of mine sent me this photo a couple of months ago, and I’d  forgotten about it until I came across this picture from David refreshed my memory.

When she sent it to me, my friend asked me if it was a Confederate flag. I’m not sure if it is though. It looks like what we commonly call the confederate flag (which wasn’t actually a flag used in the civil war), except that a real CSA battle flag would be square, not rectangular. A lot of militia and state flags throughout the south have used variations on the flag, so it might be one of those. I’ve also heard that a lot of southern-heavy units unofficially used the “rebel flag” in WWII, so it wouldn’t surprise me if there were still some good ole boys flying it in 1958 as part of Operation Blue Bat.

If anyone has any additional information on this picture, I’d love to hear more about it.

NOTE: Before anyone corrects me, I know that the Stars and Bars was actually the first Confederate flag, which had nothing to do with the battle flag, which is now known as the “rebel flag,” or the “Confederate flag” or, incorrectly, as the “Stars and Bars.” But the name is common enough and has a nice ring, so that’s that.


  1. At first I thought it was the old Georgia state flag, which had the stars and bars and which some soldiers based out of Georgia sometimes took with them. But I dont think it is.

    Will try and find out.

  2. That would be the Marines, so they would not be marching with state flags. Only the Army has National Guard units. This is just … weird.

  3. I am going to go ahead and say that is a backward (and upside down?) Georgia state flag. So perhaps they are Marines from some base in GA, or maybe just one guy was feeling especially proud of his roots on that day. Either way, I defer to Abu Muqawama’s judgment.

  4. I don’t know, man. I don’t see the blue bar in the old Georgia flag, and why would they have put it on backward?

    I suspect it’s just some good ole boys pining for Dixie, although I’d be willing to bet some of them are from Jowja…

  5. Maybe, the black guy in the back got his revenge by having it backwards and upside down.

  6. Hahahah, I was thinking about that guy today. Haram, poor guy.

  7. P.S. it seems I’m friends with your old roommate, S.A.

  8. That puzzled me at first, is the S not really an S. Otherwise, I am confus-ed.

  9. It is a naval jack or a replica Johnson pattern, You can see one arm of the cross, with one star on it. on the part that is almost covering the head of the buy behind the man carrying it. In addition, there’s a strip of white-looking cloth hangin down from the top of the pole that looks like a streamer of some sort.

  10. Its not the old Georgia 1956 Flag. You can tell by the tail end of the flag, see the Southern Cross pattern going down to the edge.

  11. Just saw your post and thought I should share my knowledge of flags of the Confederate States of America. This one in particular is a 3’x5′ Naval Jack or Army of Tennessee Battle Flag as before and during the War Between the States, the State of Tennessee did not have a state flag. It was a slight variation of the square Army of Northern Virginia’s flag of the same pattern but was 3’x3′.

    In the 20th century, this flag has been dishonored by many white supremacists groups such as the Ku Klux Klan in the 1950’s and the Aryan nation groups in the US, taking up this flag as a symbol of their hatred towards other races which is completely opposite of it’s original intent.

    Many people unknowingly call this flag the stars and bars, which is incorrect. The stars and bars refers to the original CSA National flag adopted by Congress in 1861 when the first 7 states entered the Confederacy. It is similar in layout to the United States flag in that it has stars in a blue field in the upper left corner, which were arranged in a circular pattern, with 3 bars to the right, Red-White-Red. This flag posed a problem on the battlefield early in the war due to the fact that when the flags were not flying in the wind they had the same colors and similar pattern and could be easily confused with each other, and given the fact that many of the uniforms were very similar in the early battles it needed to be changed. This is partly why the Southern Cross pattern in this picture became necessary to distinguish the Confederate lines from the US lines.

    It bears the cross of Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, which a large number of Southerner’s ancestors came from. With 13 stars of the original 13 Confederate States: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennsessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Missouri (the latter two were considered Confederate States as their state congresses did vote for secession but due to many factors, were unable to fully engage in the national congress).

    The flag represents Freedom, Independence, State’s Rights, Self-Government, and defiance of all who would choose to suppress those God-given rights.

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