Flags flown over palace for family and friends
May 8, 2008
Many servicemembers have received an American flag that has been flown over Al Faw Palace on Camp Victory, Iraq, to keep for themselves or send home to family and friends. So far over 3,000 American flags have been flown over the palace since the flag program began March 23.
"Anyone can request a flag flown over the palace," said Sgt. 1st Class Henry Beltran, Multi-National Corps - Iraq, non-commissioned officer in charge headquarters commandant.
Beltran said with the amount of requests received, the flag program has to fly an average of 629 flags a week. Servicemembers can request a flag for any reason. "We have had requests for Soldiers themselves, family members back home, organizations back in the states and even some celebrities."
"Two of the flags I requested are for the family members of fallen Soldiers we lost when we were here in 2004," said Sgt. Maj. Greg Minor, 418th Military Police Detachment operations sergeant major, Compound Five, Camp Cropper.
"I'm getting flags to send home," said Chief Warrant Officer Douglas R. Walker, 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team assistant S2 for the Base Defense Operations Center. "It's a great way to say thank you to those who are supporting us back there."
Both Minor and Walker agreed that the location of the palace, and the fact that it has been command post for all operations in Iraq, adds a lot of significance to the flags. "This is the umbilical cord, if you will, that connects us back to the states," Walker said.
"Each flag is handed out with a personalized certificate," Beltran said. "We can put anything you want on the certificate, within reason."
With each flag having to be flown over the palace and a personalized certificate made for each, it is pretty much a 24-hour operation, Beltran said. There is a four-man detail that flies the flags in the morning. The night crew usually writes the certificates and flags are handed out all day long.
Given that MNC-I will be running the flag program for the rest of it's time here many flags will be flown over the palace and given to servicemembers. "During their time here, III Corps handed out over 22,500 flags," Beltran said. "We are trying to top that."
For more information on the palace flag program, call 822-4728.