STB Returns Flag to Texas Veterans Home

Story and photos by Sgt. Joel F. Gibson
13th SC(E) Public Affairs Office

TEMPLE, Texas — Soldiers of the Special Troops Battalion, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), returned a flag to the William R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home in a ceremony at the home Friday.

According to Maj. Matt Melvin, commanding officer of the STB, residents of the Veterans Home gave the flag to Soldiers of the STB in March, 2006. The battalion brought the flag to its headquarters, Multi-National Corps-Kuwait, at Camp Buehring, and flew it there.

“I get chills just thinking about it,” said Donna Huffman of the Texas Veterans Landboard, “To me getting to fly the flag from our flagpole is just phenomenal.”

Huffman kicked off the ceremony by introducing the president of the resident council, former Army 1st Lt. Daniel Cooper.

In addition to the flag ceremony, the residents took the opportunity to welcome the STB back from their year-long deployment which ended in August.

“Welcome home, it’s an honor and a privilege to have you back with us,” said Cooper.

Huffman told the story of how the residents came up with the idea of presenting a flag for the unit.

“The flag we’re hoisting today is special and very dear to our hearts,” said Huffman, “Thomas Vaughn wanted to do something for the troops and the Texas State Veterans Cemetery, and we decided to present a wreath to the Soldiers of the Special Troops Battalion, who in turn would present it to the cemetery.”

“On Armed Forces Day, during the wreath presentation, we presented the flag to the troops,” Huffman added.

Huffman said Vaughn, a former resident and Battle of the Bulge veteran who passed away at the age of 92 during the STB’s deployment, jokingly asked the former battalion commander, Col. Terry Hildner, to make sure to bring the flag back.

Command Sgt. Maj. Larry F. Brown was able to make good on Hildner’s promise to bring the flag back when he handed it off to Cooper.

Cooper handed the flag off to Soldiers of the STB color guard who unfurled Old Glory and hoisted it up the Veterans Home flagpole, as members of the Veterans Home staff led the assembled group in the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

“I thought it was something special we needed to do for them,” Brown said, “It shows how much we appreciate being able to bring that flag with us and fly it over the command, it’s really something special.”

“It was a great honor being here with these war veterans, this is living history right here,” said Sgt. Hector L. Rosado, an S-6 clerk with the STB.

“It was a wonderful flag ceremony,” said Joe Luckey, a WWII veteran and resident of the Veterans Home, “I’m a GI in my heart until the day I die, and I appreciate everything these young Soldiers do.”

“Sometimes you have to be reminded of why we serve,” said Melvin.

“When you come here and someone shakes your hand and thanks you for your service it’s really overwhelming, when you consider where and when they’ve served,” Melvin added.

Huffman said the Veterans Home staff planned to fly the flag until after Veterans Day, and then frame it and display it in the dining room with a bronze placard.