By Center for Information Warfare Training Det. Goodfellow Public Affairs
SAN ANGELO, Texas – The Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) Det. Goodfellow chiefs mess conducted a flag-retirement ceremony at Veribest Independent School District (ISD), Nov. 11.
The ceremony consisted of lowering the flag to be retired, raising the new flag along with the singing of the national anthem by a Veribest student, retirement of the flag, reading of the poem “Olde Glory” and the playing of taps. The chiefs mess served as the color guard and bugler while the rest of the ceremony was carried out by Veribest faculty and students. There were roughly 200 people in attendance with several being veterans from the Concho Valley.
“Today was the perfect day to hold this ceremony,” shared Master Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Micah Epley. “We honored our veterans with the future generation, some who have already enlisted in the military and will report to boot camp this summer. We actively taught the importance of our heritage and sense of purpose. Today is special and will be forever etched in our memories.”
In total, seven flags were retired. The official flag retired during the ceremony was a national ensign flown onboard CIWT Det. Goodfellow from Sept. 17, 2017 to March 21, 2018. The official flag was cut into 20 strips and was displayed prior to the retirement. Immediately following the ceremony, six additional flags were retired including the flag that was flown at Veribest ISD since 2015. Veterans who attended the ceremony brought in the remaining flags.
Veribest students had the opportunity to carry out key roles in the ceremony. The student council president, Josh Bolin, served as the master of ceremonies. Piper Compton sang the national anthem and students from fifth grade to the senior class got to place a strip of the flag into the fire pit, which was built by the Future Farmers of America students. The remaining strips of the flag were retired by veterans in the audience, the guest speaker and members of the chiefs mess.
“Going into the ceremony I was really nervous, and I knew it was a very important and solemn event,” said Bolin. “I had never been a part of something like this and it was very unique to see all the veterans and service men and women show up.I felt a sense of gratitude representing the student body on such an occasion in honoring our nation’s flag and those who have served before and those who continue to serve.”
The guest speaker for the ceremony was Pastor Hal Scott, a retired Navy captain chaplain who served over 28 years. His message to the audience centered on the flag. He described the meanings behind the colors red, white, and blue and challenged the audience to be good stewards of the flag by being good, sincere Americans.
The idea to conduct this ceremony actually came about on 9/11.
“The first time we even considered doing something of this magnitude was on 9/11 when myself and a student were raising the flag as we do daily,” shared Glenn Jones, secondary principal of Veribest ISD. “When Master Chief Epley was dropping his children off at school, he got out of his vehicle and stood at attention while saluting. Afterwards, he mentioned how ragged our flag was and asked if we had ever considered a flag retirement. Several meetings later, we celebrated Veterans Day with an elaborate, reverent and solemn flag retirement ceremony. With the color guard, a Navy chaplain and numerous veterans on hand, it really hit me more than ever how much our veterans have sacrificed.”
CIWT Det. Goodfellow is one of two detachments assigned to CIWT. With four schoolhouse commands, two detachments, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, CIWT is recognized as Naval Education and Training Command’s top learning center for the past three years. Training over 21,000 students every year, CIWT delivers trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. CIWT also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the information warfare community.
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