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> updated 16/12/15
Square knot insignia used by the Boy Scouts of America

All Programs Square knot insignia Left Side Uniform arranger

Square Knot Uniform Arranger ("knotrack")

Many Scouts and Scouters have been asking for a simple way to see how the various square knot insignia pieces are supposed to be worn on a field uniform. They have some idea, but when they take the small pieces of cloth to Momma, Meema, or the tailor shop down the street, somehow they get "upside down" or left off by them.

In order to provide some form of uniformity, the BSA's Uniform and Insignia Committee came up many years back with a wearing arrangement for the knot emblems on the field uniform. It is based upon the wearing of military ribbons on military uniforms -- three on a row, with additional ribbons centeerd on top of the full rows of three. It is illustrated below:

illustration of how to wear square knot insignia
knot arrangement illustration

Knot emblems are worn centered on the left side of the uniform, above the left pocket and in rows of three with the bottom edge of the knot emblem(s) touching the top edge of the pocket flap. Subsequent rows of knots are placed above the initial set, in rows of three and again, at the discretion of the wearer.

Another Scouter wrote me and suggested an alternative way of wearing the square knot insignia:

alternative way of displaying square knot insignia (submitted by Neil Lupton)
alternative knot arrangement illustration

In his case, the knot emblems are worn flush left as you see the left pocket of the uniform, above the left pocket and in rows of three with the bottom edge of the knot emblem(s) touching the top edge of the pocket flap. Subsequent rows of knots are placed above the initial set, in rows of three and again, at the discretion of the wearer as shown. He stated he does it this way so that he does not have to rearrange the emblems as he receives or earns a subsequent award.

Either method may be used, although the first one was published as part of the BSA's Insignia Control Guide in 1973.

The BSA has RECOMMENDED an upper limit on the number of square knot insignia which should be worn on the offiical uniform -- it is "15 to 18" per a Supply Division bulletin which was distributed to the field in April, 2004; and "no more than 12" which was listed in a version of the BSA Insignia Guide. This was based upon the fact that many Scouters today would be entitled to earn/wear up to 15 awards by the time they turned 40 years of age. These are RECOMMENDATIONS; the BSA is NOT going to "dock you" if you wear 17 or 22 -- you may wear as few or as many of the knot emblems representing those recognitions, training awards and personal accomphishments YOU have received or earned.

The "builder" arranger will caution you if you add more than 12 and again if you added three more to make it 15 (five rows of three square knot emblems) to your "display". For BEST uniforming, one should wear no more than 18 on the old "legacy" uniform shirts and no more than 15 on the current "Centennial" shirt.

At one time, there WAS a sequence or "precedence listing" for the wearing of the various knot emblem representing national and regional awards. As of 1974, there is NO wearing sequence for the square knots; each Scout or Scouter decides to wear or not wear the knot(s), can wear a few or all of the ones he or she has received or earned, and in the order and manner on the uniform that they choose to do so.

Professionals and Professional technician should also wear those awards and personal recognitions representing their Scouting service on their uniform shirts.

The Square Knot Uniform Arranger

Here's a handy way to see YOUR awards and recognitions and how they SHOULD BE DISPLAYED upon a tan (default) "Centennial" or "current" shirt. The EXACT SAME PLACEMENT would be on the older blue Cub Scout youth or adult shirts, the older Boy Scout khaki shirts, the green Venturing or Exploring shirts or the white or blue Sea Scouting shirt or jacket. The BSA no longer makes the square knot insignia with background colors matching the uniform shirt.

Each emblem is shown as it should be worn on the official field uniforms of the BSA -- old, new, current. Some are listed with the old khaki background; others are listed with the current khaki-tan background; and some are listed with both. The BSA IS ONLY CURRENTLY PRODUCING ONE VERSION OF EACH KNOT EMBLEM.

Choose from the award or recognition YOU have earned or received:

Hope this helps with your usage of these emblems!! Settummanque!

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