My friend and shipmate from the USS Midway, Bonnie Brown, introduced me to this term this morning. She came across it while watching Antiques Roadshow last night.
A man brought in a flag which he said that his father had retrieved at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The label on the flag said MI 44 which meant that it was made at Mare Island in 1944. So the value was about $250. If they could have authenticated it as being at Pearl Harbor, it would have been $250,000. When I was doing the search to read a bit more, I came across the Conference on Vexillology — the study of flags.
She sent me an intersting link to a PDF. Here is the abstract to the PDF in the link. The article is by Dale Grimes, Jr.
We can learn a lot about flags from the markings that appear on their headers. Diagrams and tables exist that have been created by the military that help to categorize flags by their sizes. Mare Island Naval Shipyard produced thousands of flags over a period of 150 years. Its World War Two flags include distinctive markings that appear on many of the flags in my collection. I have devised a way to calculate a flag’s RIF (Remnant Indicator Formula) which will be shared during this presentation. Information will also be shared about the two flags raised over Iwo Jima that were both made at Mare Island.
The most important flag in the United States is probably the Star Spangled Banner that waved over Ft. McHenry the night it was bombarded by the British 13-14 September4 1814. ( In the picture you can see the difference between the remnant and the origianl size of the flag.)