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Marines carry little flags in Iraq, thanks to Scouts

25 Apr 2004 | Cpl. Paula M. Fitzgerald

There was no question where Maj. Doug G. Luccio was going to keep his miniature flag made by Dylan Wyscaver, an Eagle Scout with Troop 130 from Golden, Colo.

"I keep it in my left breast pocket," said Luccio, 1st Marine Division's assistant fire support coordinator and former Eagle Scout. "Right over my heart."

The Portland, Ore., Marine received hundreds of tiny flags and put them out for Marines and sailors of the division to take.

Luccio's cousin, Rick Baldessari, is the troop's assistant scoutmaster and thought the Marines here would appreciate the gifts.

"I left the flags out, and they were gone in a matter of hours," Luccio explained.

Lance Cpl. Noah C. Dayton was one of those who snagged a flag. Its permanent home is now the civil affairs clerk's left cargo pocket.

"It'll stay there the whole time," said Dayton, of Tucson, Ariz. "It's like carrying a piece of home around with me."

According to the card that accompanies the flag, that's exactly the point of the flag.

Wyscaver got the idea to send tiny American flags to deployed troops for his Eagle project from the not-for-profit organization Pocket Flag Project.

The mission of the group is to "get as many pocket flags as we can into the pockets of our military personnel on the front lines. We want them to know that we care and that we keep them in our hearts and our prayers."

Individuals or groups, such as the Boy Scouts, purchase the materials to make the flags from Pocket Flag Project. Before being sent to forward deployed troops, the flags are required to be folded into the appropriate tri-cornered shape, in accordance with proper flag etiquette.

Then the flags are placed into small plastic bags with cards that read, "A flag for your pocket so you can always carry a little piece of home. We are praying for you and we are proud of you. Thank you for defending our country and our freedom."

Luccio said the gift was completely unexpected but very much appreciated.

"It probably took that young man a while to fold all those flags and get them ready to be shipped out to us," he said. "I think that motivates the Marines out here. It's just a small reminder that freedom isn't free, and people do support us for standing up for values like justice and freedom."