As a way to express thanks for support they get from back home, some soldiers with the Maine Army National Guard have offered to fly American flags over Iraqi soil for civic organizations.
“It further symbolizes the connection between the people from the state of Maine and the deployed soldiers in the Maine Army National Guard who are serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom,” Capt. Shanon Cotta of the Maine Army National Guard said Wednesday.
Sixty-six of the 170 soldiers from Security Force I, Maine Army National Guard, are from the Bravo Company 3-172nd Infantry out of Brewer. Mobilized in January 2006 and deployed overseas in April, the men and women will serve 12 months in Iraq and could be called to stay longer, according to Cotta.
Among the organizations taking advantage of the offer is the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department, where two employees have loved ones serving with the 172nd.
Thomas Harvey Jr. of Atkinson, son of Piscataquis County Sgt. Thomas Harvey Sr., whose specialty is communications, and Dan Connors, husband of Cara Connors, a corrections officer with the sheriff’s department, are serving with the unit. Harvey is a machine gun operator who escorts convoys around Baghdad. Connors, of Sebec, is a medic stationed in Tallil.
The elder Harvey said his department is sending over a flag, and when it returns, he expects to display it at the sheriff’s department.
Harvey said he was told that the flags will be flown by the company at its headquarters in Iraq and then would be returned with a certificate of authenticity.
Civic organizations interested in the program may send an American flag and include a self-addressed and postage-paid priority package for the return to any soldier they know in the company in Iraq, or mail it to Capt. Darryl Lyon, B Co 3/172nd Inf (Mtn), APO AE 09331.