From the office of House Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford
Gadsden, AL – After flying over the skies of Afghanistan and being carried on combat missions by members of the Alabama National Guard, an American and Alabama flag have returned home where they were presented to House Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, last Friday.
The Alabama flag was originally sent to the soldiers serving in Afghanistan after Sgt. Johnny Box of E-Company, 1st platoon, 167 infantry of the 4th Alabama contacted Rep. Ford in September of last year to request a state flag for the unit to fly over their base in the Kunduz Provence of Afghanistan.
“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.”
In addition to being displayed at the base, the state flag was also carried by AH-64 Apache attack helicopter pilot, Maj. Christian “Gator” Hurst from Troy, Alabama during a combat mission over Kunduz.
“It means a lot to these guy’s to know someone at the state level cares about them,” said Sgt. Box, who presented Ford with the flags on Friday. “The Flag may not seem [like] much in some people’s eyes, but for the men and women serving overseas it’s the world.”
Sgt. Box also presented Rep. Ford with an American flag that had been flown over the unit’s base and taken on missions in honor of Ford.
“I am truly humbled by the honor that Sgt. Box and the soldiers of E-Company have shown me here today,” said Ford. “I cannot thank our men and women in uniform enough for their service to our country, and I am deeply honored and proud
Ford said it is common for his office to receive requests for state flags from schools or Alabama citizens serving in the military.
“Last year, my office was contacted by the family of Airman First Class Rex Harris from Huntsville who was serving near Kabul,” said Ford. “He wanted a flag to hang in his barracks, and I was proud to send him one.”
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.
Representative Craig Ford is a Democrat from Gadsden. He has served in the Alabama House of Representatives since 2000. In 2010, Representative Ford was elected House Minority Leader by the House Democratic Caucus. He was re-elected Minority Leader in 2012.