My usual deployment offer: Send me your flags!

Well guys, gals, here’s the scoop:

Every overseas deployment I go on, I offer Dopers to send me their national flag [sub]whatever they may be[/sub] so I can try to get them on combat sorties to be flown. I leave in four weeks for the Middle East again, and this year is no different except that I’m going to open the offer beforehand, so I can collect what I can, and bring 'em with. This is by no means a closed deal once I leave, but I’d like to try it this way this year.

I’ve had pretty good success in the past, being that I was tapped for a job that kept me at one single base last year. This year, I have a reasonable belief that I’ll be “spoked out” from our “hub” and will be traveling around. So, if for some reason I can’t get them on actual sorties, I can at least guarantee that they’ll be traveling to different countries (some of which may or may not end in “-stan”.

Also, I wanted to receive them early because I can’t guarantee the availability of flags at these “spoke” locations. Years past, I didn’t mind spending a few bucks to buy a new flag from our BX/PX and mailing it out. This year, because I’ll be in places that have a runway, a source of water, and not much else, I may not be able to. Plus, if you are like me and have a banner that has been with you on every deployment or know someone that has, this’ll be another “notch in the bedpost”, and you can get it to me early. I did this for one guy who medically separated last year—he never made it to the desert, but wanted a flag he could claim as his own that made it there. Some may actually be so cool as to serve at a reenlistment—I’ll do what I can.

Bottom line: If you want a flag to be flown on a combat sortie or serve on a combat engineer’s (the fightin’ 819th RED HORSE)construction site—both of which will be accompanied by a certificate for authenticity–drop me an e-mail [sub]it’s in my profile[/sub].

Thus is my SDMB legacy: Sardonic siglines, and desert flag flyin’.

My one, obligatory bump.

(See above)

I’d send you my flag, but you seem like a nice guy and I’d hate to see you get killed on your first 30 seconds out in the field.

(Although the rest of your unit may appreciate the fact the you’re drawing all the fire, so maybe…)

What kind of messed up crap is that to say?!

Read Alessan’s location.

It’s gallows humor, dude. Alessan is Israeli, and an American flying an Israeli flag is like a dream come true for some of the psychos over there.

Thats no excuse! I want “Alessan” to explain.

Ohhhhh…I get it. Wow…Im an idiot. Im going to go away now.

Somehow, I think any explanation will be inadequate.

No worries, I dig the comment from Alessan. I just don’t think he understands that I’m invincible, and by drawing fire, I’d just expose the enemy to call in an airstrike to bomb the f*ck outta them.

No, really, I am bulletproof. Just ask my buddies on a Friday or Saturday night.

Yeah, “genius is such a heavy burden. . . Let’s lighten that burden and get stupid tonight!”

Are you invinsible, too?

It depends on the enemy situation. I would hope to God I’m invisible in all aspects.

But, we’ll just have to wait and see how my hunting instincts have served me.

Pop always said, “Be a deer hunter.”

Are you talking about normal sized (i.e. flagpole sized) flags? Or the little ones that people wave about?

Just curious if someone would mind explaining this a little more. I gather there’s a tradition of taking flags on missions, but it’s not one I’ve heard about.

I guess this is vague, but whats the story?

Whichever you like. There’s a practical limit on what you can stuff inside a fighter jet, so I will say the “typical” size is 3’ x 5’. I won’t turn down anything larger (within reason), and I won’t turn down anything smaller. If size presents particular problems, I’ll dodge those problems and look for loopholes.

Omnicient, it’s just a tradition, not a widespread one, but just a tradition. I’ve known some folks that like knowing their particular banner was carried on a strike flight, some like knowing theirs was used to reenlist someone in the middle of a battle zone (you are required to have a flag present). It’s mostly a patriotic thing: my flag has been “over there”.

I have one particular flag my Congressional Representative sent me, that I swore I would take on every deployment, partly for the memories, but mostly for the “heck of it”. I keep her ‘history’ in a binder saying where my flag has been, and what she did.

Make sense?

I have a Bennington Battle Flag I’d like you to take. How should I get it to you? I’ll check back here for your answer in the next few days.

What kind of fighter do you fly? F-14? F-15? F-15? F/A-18? F-114? Something else? I dig warplanes, although I’m no pilot and have never been in the military.

Thanks for the offer, and keep yourself safe!

Gotcha, that’s pretty much what I assumed, but I thought there might be something more storied involved that I didn’t know about. One question:

what exactly does it mean to reenlist someone in a battle zone, and why is a flag manditory? I understand it’s a military formality, but whats the rationale, be it antiquated or not. Gracias.

Just shoot me an e-mail (in my profile). I’ll send you my mailing address, then you can box 'er up and send her to me.

I’m not a pilot. Airman Doors is enlisted aircrew though, on a C-130. I’m a Civil Engineer (AFSC: 32E3E) in a squadron known as the 819th RED HORSE which is an acronym (Rapid Engineer Deployable, Heavy Operations Repair Squadron, Engineer) – basically the Air Force’s equivalent of the US Navy SeaBees. We’re different than a “typical” Civil Engineer squadron in that RED HORSE isn’t tied to one specific base (we’re highly mobile), and we’re more of a construction and repair unit, than a maintenance unit.

But, because I work on airfields and flightlines, I know a lot of contacts that are pilots (F-16s, F-15s, F/A-18s, A-10s, KC-135s, C-130s, and a few Brits too). Also, at deployed bases, a lot of squadrons run little programs like this for morale.

Long story short, I claim to be “the Bob Vila of the Air Force”. You want it built, I’ll build it.

Well, for logical reasons, some enlistees are offered retention bonuses, sometimes in the thousands of dollars. Those bonuses are taxed. Well, if you’re “in country”, you don’t pay federal taxes (one of our perks!). But for “esprit de corps” reasons, some reenlist in a battle zone just as some want to get married by Niagara Falls. I once had a plumber ask me to reenlist him on top of a water tower (I hate heights).

However, the US Flag is a requirement by Air Force Instruction. Some version of the US Flag is required, and I’ve seen 3’x5’ flags, 8’x15’ flags, and in one poor guy’s case they forgot a flag, so they used a darn postage stamp [sub]Hey, it worked. . .[/sub] It’s a requirement, but I think it’s there to remind you of the serious nature of what you’re swearing to.

Clear as mud?

But hey, you can say that your flag was there when 15 500 lb. bombs rained down on Osama!

Is there a US Air Force {or general military} policy about what flags may or may not be carried, or is this solely an informal tradition? This isn’t the thread for pissing on US foreign policy, but certain flags might be - ahem - problematic, and I know that some countries {mine, for one} may not want their flags flown into combat in a military action they don’t support. Just asking is all, and wishing you nothing but a safe return.

AFAIK, it’s an informal tradition, with no guidance on what has or can’t be carried. William V.'s Bennington Battle Flag would obviously be an acceptable alternative (and I’ll keep my eyes out for the VT Air Nat’l Guard, aka “The Green Mountain Boys” for him), but I couldn’t guarantee they’d accept a Soviet or Afghanistan-Taliban flag.

There’s no hard rules. It’s informal.