What Do the Colors of Different U.S. Army Shoulder Cords Signify?

Infantrymen and Army National Guard soldiers in the U.S. Army who are qualified wear a blue infantry shoulder cord on the right shoulder of their uniform coat or shirt. Aides-de-camp are military helpers who work at the White House. They wear golden cords called aiguillettes.

Army Regulation 670-1 says how the uniforms of the U.S. Army should look. The rules say that infantry soldiers in the U.S. Army have to wear a blue shoulder cord. The cord is made of square knots wrapped around a centre cord. A button on the right shoulder loop holds the cord under the right arm and over the right shoulder. Infantrymen who have passed out of the U.S. Army Infantry Center get this cord.

The U.S. Army dress aiguillette is a gold or gold-colored knotted cord that is worn with the Army Service uniform. It is a bit more fancy than the dress aiguillette. It is worn on the left shoulder by aides-de-camp and attachés and on the right shoulder by aides to the White House, the first family, the cabinet, and foreign dignitaries.

Members of the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Navy wear both shoulder cords and dress aiguillettes of different colours. In each of these branches, the colour of a cord or aiguillette shows rank, training level, or expertise.

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