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  #1  
Old 23 October 2010, 12:41 AM
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United States Are there really scissors on top of Army flagpoles?

Army legend has it that there is a pair of scissors hidden in the ball atop the main flagpole on each base, so that if the base is overrun, a soldier can climb the pole and cut the flag to pieces, lest it fall into enemy hands. The unlucky soldier is then supposed to shoot himself with a pistol buried near the bottom of the flagpole.

http://www.stripes.com/blogs/the-rum...poles-1.119403

http://www.snopes.com/military/flagball.asp
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Old 25 October 2010, 02:23 PM
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As the snopes article points out, I cannot imagine that a soldier would have the presence in mind to break the defense of their base and suddenly realize that "Oh my goodness, we gotta make sure we destroy the flag that's way up there!"
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Old 25 October 2010, 07:20 PM
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Even if it were the case that the last soldier had to burn the flag and then shoot himself, why put all that stuff in the ball at the top, or bury it in a hidden location? Surely just keeping it in a box at the bottom would be much more convenient all round. You could even bury the box and have a waterproof removable cover, if you didn't want it getting in the way.
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Old 25 October 2010, 07:38 PM
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Wouldn't it be better to put a tub of grease in the ball at the top? That way, the soldier (or Marine) could cut the flag line, tie it off, and grease the pole on his way down.

That way, they could leave the flag up and the invading army couldn't do anything about it. Take that evil invading army! Not only do these colors not run, they won't leave either.
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Old 25 October 2010, 07:53 PM
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I also don't think that the Army would just leave a live weapon in a well-known place where anyone on base could go and easily dig it up (and if it wasn't relatively easy to access, there wouldn't be a point to it in the myth).

- Il-Mari
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Old 25 October 2010, 07:53 PM
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Okay, you gotta climb upthe pole, cut up the flag, climb down the pole, dig up the pistol...yeah, that sounds like the Army, all right.
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  #7  
Old 25 October 2010, 08:00 PM
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Il-Mari, the pistol is in a lockbox whose key is in the ball.
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  #8  
Old 25 October 2010, 08:07 PM
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Wouldn't a soldier attempting to climb a flagpole make a remarkably good target?

I mean, in combat, aren't soldiers supposed to keep their heads down, and if that is not possible, at least try to move around really fast like, so as to be more difficult to shoot?

I'm imagining some isolated Army post in Afghanistan, with a small group of soldiers beseiged by tens of thousands of Taliban. As usual, the Americans behave in ways that make themselves very difficult to kill, causing great frustration to the Taliban.

Then, Soldier #1 decides that in his expert opinion, the base is about to be overrun. So he says to his comrades: "OMG, I've got to climb the flagpole and retrieve the scissors and matchbook to destroy the flag!"

So, he starts climbing, until he becomes very visible and mostly stationary, whereupon he finally becomes an easy target, and gets shot.

Soldier #2, not wanting Soldier #1 to have died in vain, attempts to complete the mission, and trys to do the same thing, until he too, climbs high enough on the flagpole to become an easy target and gets killed.

Soldier #3 does not want #1 or #2 to have died in vain, and so on....

Not really good tactics, at least, from my non-military point of view.
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  #9  
Old 25 October 2010, 08:36 PM
Majorsam Majorsam is offline
 
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Hardly seems worth the effort of replying but...

It's pretty much false.

I first encountered this one back in 1985 when I was standing guard mount and the Sergeant of the Guard as part of his inspection of me asked the question of what was in the truck of the flagpole, which completely baffled me. Back then (or at that post) the "proper" reply was a razor blade, matches, .45 bullet. Not sure where the pistol was back then.

Naturally being the young skeptic that I was I assumed that it was all bogus but didn't have a chance to prove it for about 15 years when we had the flagpole at my little post changed because it was falling apart. We dismantled the truck and - to our astonishment - there was nothing more than a pulley. We did, however, rig up an impromptu time capsule and fill it with all sorts of nick-nacks before we raised the truck up on the new pole.

This legend has remarkable legs, though...I've heard versions of it in the US and Germany. So much so that it is potentially a self-fulfilling urban legend where someone putting up a flag pole might just put these things in the truck thinking it was the right thing to do...but there is no policy on this.
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  #10  
Old 20 November 2016, 04:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Army legend has it that there is a pair of scissors hidden in the ball atop the main flagpole on each base, so that if the base is overrun, a soldier can climb the pole and cut the flag to pieces, lest it fall into enemy hands. The unlucky soldier is then supposed to shoot himself with a pistol buried near the bottom of the flagpole.

http://www.stripes.com/blogs/the-rum...poles-1.119403

http://www.snopes.com/military/flagball.asp

Wouldn't it make more sense to have the pole drop into a well built
under it in it's base, or fall over after removing the rope tie and one or two bolts than to go through all of this nonsense?
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