How to Put a Cord on an AFJROTC Uniform

by Rich Bergeron

From the service cover to the shoe tips, AFJROTC dress uniforms feature many decorative aspects, which sometimes include shoulder cords.

Paul Katz/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Braided cords are attached to the shoulder lapels of AFJROTC uniforms to designate an award, rank, position or status as a member of the Kitty Hawk Society, a drill team or a color guard. These unique accessories can vary in color, design and placement depending on the particular unit or the purpose behind the cord. Often the fastening process is as simple as fitting a loop around a button, but more detailed, fancy cords could require pinning to the shoulder.

Items you will need

  • Dress blue uniform jacket
  • Cord
  • Safety pin
Step 1

Check to see if the rope has a small button loop or a pin for attaching to the shoulder. Cords are always attached to the left shoulder of the AFJROTC uniform, and only one cord can be worn at a time. Take your dress jacket off to apply the cord if you have the pin variety of cord. Some cords may have no pin or loop, so you will need to use your own small safety pin.

Step 2

Unbutton the left shoulder lapel and put your left arm through the center of the cord. Basic, braided cords typically have a small button loop. This type of cord simply loops over the lapel button, and the lapel goes over the top of it. Fasten the button over the cord loop to keep it hidden.

Step 3

Pin the other variety of cord to the fabric between the lapel button and the edge of the shoulder. If there are silver or gold tips on the cord, these should be pointing toward the front of the uniform, hanging around the top of the area where ribbons are mounted over the left pocket. There are no exact measurement requirements for pinning cords to the shoulder, but the general rule requires the pin to be hidden under the lapel. Use a small safety pin if there is no pin attached to the cord itself. Button the lapel over the area where the pin is fastened so it conceals the pin completely.


  • Keep your cord as clean as possible and replace any cord that is damaged or frayed for the best look and to avoid demerits upon inspection. Cords can be worn on the dress jacket as well as the light blue dress shirt.


  • Do not wear cords on the battle dress uniform, flight suits or raincoats.

Photo Credits

  • Paul Katz/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About the Author

Rich Bergeron is a writer, editor and webmaster with more than 10 years experience writing professionally for print and online publications. Bergeron currently runs and has worked for newspapers and magazines including "The Patriot Ledger Newspaper," "Laconia Citizen Newspaper," "Vietnam Magazine" and "St. Anthony Messenger Magazine." He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Norwich University.