Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Flag Day and Special Forces

Written by Colonel (Retired) John T.

In 1969, three C-130s landed at the Nha Trang Air Force Base, four very dirty Americans, and two hundred and fifty Montangnard tribesmen had returned from IV Corps, 512 Company and 1st CRP were home, and headed to the B-55 Compound.

As the Americans attempted to get men and equipment on the trucks, a USAF SGT stopped his fork lift, got off faced toward HQ and saluted, we looked at him, and he said “they are playing our song.” We strained and realized that today as every other day, at 1800 they were playing the Star Spangled Banner, we all joined him and saluted, as I glanced to my right and left I realized that my eyes were not the only ones moist, guess we were looking into the sun.

As all the A Camps were technically under command of the VNSF, the RVN flag flew over them, but you could not be in one more than a minute or two, and not see “Old Glory” peeking out of some hooch or corner.

How many of us carried flags all over the world, in my case a small US flag, and NC flag went everywhere I went, for those two small piece of cloth, not mattered how wrinkled or faded, represented not only what we fought for, but what we loved.

As kids we would go to Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day parades, back then the entire small town of Hatfield closed for both, and we would see the men march by, some in ill-fitting uniforms (at our age we are much more understanding of this phenomenon), some in wheelchairs, some with the limp of old injuries, but all ramrod straight, and the crowd would quietly applaud. In front of each contingent, no matter how small, there would be the Stars and Stripes, for they knew that one day, rather than marching behind that flag, they would be under it on the way to the “Last Formation.”

While the flag is important to all in uniform, I believe that the men of Special Forces have a special relationship, for so many times we are deployed that flags can only be flown in our minds.

On June 14th our flag’s birthday is celebrated, and on June 19th Special Forces celebrates another year of survival, not only from foreign enemies, but from folks at home who don’t understand our unique headgear is a hat, but that hat is worn by a special group of warriors, who spurn their conventional boxes, and strive only to complete their missions.

May each celebrate many more of these anniversaries.

De Oppresso Liber