The Alabama state flag is being proudly displayed over the skies of Afghanistan, and has even flown with an Army helicopter pilot on a combat mission earlier this week, after Sgt. Johnny Box of the Alabama National Guard contacted House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) and requested a state flag for his unit.
“I am so thankful for our servicemen and women and the sacrifices they are making for us,” said Rep. Ford. “So when Sgt. Box asked me to send him a flag, I was humbled and honored; it seemed like the least I could do.”
Since the flag arrived in Afghanistan, the soldiers of E-Company, 1st platoon, 167 infantry of the 4th Alabama have flown it over their base in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Then earlier this week, an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter pilot, Maj. Christian “Gator” Hurst from Troy, Alabama, took the flag with him on a combat mission over Kunduz Province. Maj. Hurst had a certificate made and dedicated to Rep. Ford to commemorate the flag’s journey.
“It means a lot to these guy's to know someone at the state level cares about them,” said Sgt. Box in an email to Rep. Ford. “The Flag may not seem [like] much in some people's eyes, but here it's the world.”
Rep. Ford said it is common for his office to receive requests for state flags from schools or Alabama citizens serving in the military.
“Several months ago, my office was contacted by the family of Airman First Class Rex Harris from Huntsville who is currently serving near Kabul,” said Rep. Ford. “He wanted a flag to hang in his barracks, and I was proud to send him one.”
Rep. Ford said he was not certain which government agency or department was responsible for handling requests for state flags, but added that his office receives a number of flags every year and that he has always honored requests for state flags from Alabama citizens serving in the military.
“As a former soldier, I understand how your state flag can be a source of pride and a reminder of home, and that is why I always send a state flag to our men and women in uniform when they ask me for one,” said Rep. Ford.