Recently, we received a heartfelt email from the mother of a hero we tragically lost to a fight we are trying combat everyday. She painted a picture of a warrior who loved our nation's flag and his country. Instantly, we knew it was our job to give this hero, and everyone who has worn the uniform, an outlet to tell the world their story while raising awareness to the issue of Veteran suicide. Thus, the "This flag has seen" series was born. This series will be utilized to capture what Veterans have seen and experienced while proudly wearing the American Flag on their sleeve.
We kick this series off with SSG David Biehl's story. SSG Biehl was born on November 18, 1983, in Kennewick, Washington. As a teenager, he served as a Cadet with the Spokane Composite Squadron of Civil Air Patrol in Spokane, Washington. David enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve on November 21, 2000, and completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, between his Junior and Senior year of high school. Pvt Biehl served with the 321st Engineer Battalion with the U.S. Army Reserve in Idaho, and completed Advanced Individual Training as a Combat Engineer at Fort Benning, Georgia, in 2002. Sgt Biehl served with the 671st Engineer Company of the U.S. Army Reserve based out of Portland, Oregon, while activated and deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom from March 2003 to February 2004. During this time he participated in constructing an assault bridge across the Euphrates River in April 2003 (the first American assault bridge crossing since the Vietnam War); Operation Desert Sting, where he helped with combat patrols along the Tigris River; and bridge projects in Taji and Al-Muthana. Sgt Biehl went on active duty with the Army beginning on August 31, 2005, and served as a Combat Engineer and Bridge Crewmember for his second deployment to Iraq from July 2006 to July 2007. He became an Army Recruiter in March 2008, and served with U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Salt Lake City, with the recruiting office in Boise, Idaho, from March 2008 until his death on active duty on November 10, 2011. During this time, SSG Biehl earned the Recruiter Ring in April 2009, and was inducted as a member of the Glen E. Morrell Order of Recruiting Excellence in recognition of outstanding achievements and dedication to the United States Army Recruiting Command on October 15, 2009. He was buried at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise, Idaho.
SSG David Biehl
Before his death, SSG Biehl wrote the following about his flag and the flag of our great nation:
"I joined the United States Army at the age of 17. I was a junior at Central Valley High School when I joined. I wanted the privilege and honor to represent my flag in a foreign country. I have worn this flag for two years in Iraq. I have worn this flag with pride and honor. This flag has witnessed many wars, but the flag that I wore saw only what I saw. It watched on the 15th of March, 2003, when I walked into Iraq to bring freedom to a country. It watched on the 1st of July 2003, when I held 1SG Christopher Coffin in my arms as he died in combat bearing the flag that I wore. It watched when I entered a torture room that held girls as young as 14 years of age, freeing them from their prison. It was a symbol for everyone around me during that time. It has always been a symbol and will always be a symbol. For some, when they witnessed me walk into their village or home wearing this flag, they were filled with hope and the emotion of relief from their fears. For some, when they witnessed this flag, they were filled with terror and fear because they themselves caused so much of the same feelings in others. For me, this flag that “I wear” represents a light that pierces through the darkest of countries as a hope that there will be a better life. I have the privilege to represent you! You gave me the privilege to carry this flag into combat so that others will have HOPE. I will not fail you nor will I allow this flag to fall. I have made an oath to protect this flag against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help me God!"
This is what David's Flag has seen. What has your flag seen in service of this great country? Let us know by completing the form below.
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