Title: Cards, International Signal Flags, Naval Aviation Training Division
Accession #: NHHC 1998-25-B
Location: Headquarters Artifact Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command
One flash card deck with US and International Signal Flags. The obverse of each card has an image of a different signal flag on a white background. The reverse has the name of the flag and meaning in white letters on a blue background. The box is blue with white letters and reads "Flash Deck U.S. Navy & International Code Flag Cards / Naval Aviation Training Division."
The international signal code is invaluable to communication amongst ships. Flags are hoisted in 1 to 4 letter groups representing shorthand so as not to spell out every word with smallest groups as the most urgent. For example, O means "Man Overboard," OL means "Heave to or we will open fire," VZ10 means "Increase your speed to 10 knots," and BZ means "Bravo Zulu." Learning how and what these signals mean were vital to all surface and aircraft interacting with the ship. On gala occasions, US warships will make a "Full Dress" and break out every signal flag on board, including secret Warship Code flags.