Winning with the Picture from Iraq

Sgt Grit,

Hello from the holy land in the desert. Man it sucks here but we are making the best of a bad situation. Food is good and water is plentiful. No booze though unless you really have a hankering for some near beer.

Just wanted to send you some pictures of a couple of dedicated Marine along with a story. We had just taken over for the preceding MALS and the preceding unit had been flying the Marine Corps colors everyday. Well to say the least, one of our gunny’s noticed they were not out there. So being the inquisitive one he asked where they were. Well these old colors were well worn from all the wind and dust in this place.

This Gunny enlisted the help of our ALSS and they made some repairs and we got our colors back up on the flag pole. In the interim I am going to order a few flags from you so we can retire this well worn flag. She has served her purpose and will go back with the gunny to the states when we rotate.

So enclosed you will find his little story with pictures to follow of our flag with repairs.

She will be flying until I can get a couple of new ones. There are pictures that will follow. They are big.

Enjoy.

CWO4 Tippett
MAG-29 MALS-29 (Rein)
Al Asad, Iraq

Was it true ?
I had to see why there was Old Glory Flying without her time honored protector.
Sure enough The Stars and Stripes Flew over our headquarters without our Marine Corps colors.

My heart sank.
Marines had fought many battles with those colors, bled with those, and died for those colors.
I went into the post struggling not to lose my bearing and asked, why would we do such a grievous thing as this?
The Squadron Duty Officer explained:

Here on the shelf lies our colors. They are ripped and tattered from the high winds, sun and time.
It would be an injustice to fly her in this condition Gunny, the Staff Sergeant explained.
Being tempered with hardness I had not felt any real emotion in a long time.

Suddenly I felt very old and tattered from the winds of the many lands I’ve visited in my duties as a United States Marine.

My skin leathery from the sun also, and my vision and hearing fading as the colors of this salty old piece of cloth.
I could feel my eyes getting moist and I almost shed a tear.

I could see why some were skeptical about the restoration.
She was as haggard a sight as a man could see with the tear down her body and the many threads barely clinging to her tattered and frayed ends.

I could hear the words clearly in my mind .
You’re not retiring yet you old son of a gun !
Marines don’t leave their buddies behind and I’m not giving up on you either.

We are going to finish this mission together By God !

I took the old cloth to ALSS “The Flight Equipment Gurus”.
I explained the situation and could again see the look of skepticism.

I saw more than that though.
I saw a reverence for the way they treated this old flag.
I saw the pride in their eyes and the gentle careful touch in their hands as they handled the old relic.
I was worried because they spoke as if we were in an intensive care ward and I was very concerned at the grave tone of their voices.

Although they knew it was almost surely unsalvageable they were going to try they explained.
The young Marines explained that in order to even think about beginning this delicate operation, they would need some scarlet cloth.

Scarlett cloth?
Where the h&ll would we get scarlet colored cloth in the middle of Iraq?

Then we remembered a local vendor who did tailoring, that might have some.
Sure enough as by fate he had one small piece left.

I have ordered a new flag but until it is received the old one still stands guard over us.
To me this symbolizes retiring of the old and passing the torch to the new.

If the new flag received is a representation of the young Marines taking the torch; then it is the finest flag on the face of the earth.

I cannot express in words how much I appreciate the actions and behavior of the MALS-29 “rein” Flight Equipment Shop”.

Thank You LCpl Steven Sanders.

Thank You Especially, LCpl Kenneth Stanzione who actually had the courage to patch her.

Thank You,
Semper Fidelis !

“Gy G”
MAG-29,MALS-29 (rein), Class Desk/ALD
Al Asad, Iraq

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