SCJ’s 12th Man Flag Flown over the Skies of Afghanistan

Photo of Robert Tate in front of helicopter at Bagram Airfield
Robert Tate

This Fourth of July we salute, and thank, retired Staff Sergeant and Avionics Instructor Robert Tate, who served 20 years in the US Army. Now a civilian employee with the Dept. of Defense, Robert is the husband of SCJ Alliance’s Maryam Lynch-Tate.

Robert just returned from nearly six months in Afghanistan, plying his trade as a civilian communications specialist there. No one was more grateful for his safe return on June 19 than Maryam.

“Thank goodness for technology. Between text messaging, Skype, and a magicJack internet phone, we were able to communicate every day, which really helped pass the time while giving me peace of mind that he was safe.” Maryam and Robert are virtual newlyweds, married only three years.

Knowing the SCJ folks are HUGE Seahawks fans (yes, we have green and blue lights on our building year round), Robert suggested a special surprise gift for the SCJ team back home. Maryam secretly borrowed SCJ’s 12th Man flag and sent it to Robert.

Working with the Delta Company of the 10th Aviation Regiment in Bagram, Robert arranged for the flag to be flown on a combat mission over the skies of Afghanistan. On March 26, on a MQ-1C Gray Eagle 142 (an unmanned aerial vehicle), the flag flew on a mission in support of Operation Resolute Support of Freedom.

Photo of SCJ's 12th man flag being held by two soldiers at airbase
Two members of the US Army’s Delta Company 10th Aviation Regiment hold SCJ’s 12th Man flag in front of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) after being flown in a combat mission over the skies of Afghanistan.

To commemorate the event, key crew members – SSG Mathew Cooper, Aircraft Commander; CIV Nathan Ramsey, Crew Chief, and SPC Edward T. Murray, Payload Operator – signed the Seahawks flag in the upper left-hand corner and provided an official certificate. Robert sent the distinguished flag back to SCJ and it now proudly hangs in our entry-way.

Photo of SCJ's 12th man flag at Lacey office
Seahawks 12th Man flag in the SCJ Alliance lobby after its return from Afghanistan.

“This really means a lot to us,” shared SCJ President Perry Shea. “It combines our love of the Seahawks and our love of our country. It’s very meaningful.”

The gesture was a great sacrifice for some of the crew, who are Patriots and 49ers fans. When the Seahawks flag arrived at the SCJ office, it was accompanied by Patriots and 49ers trading cards, added on the flight to “represent” for the crew members’ teams.

Photo of Maryam and her husband
SCJ’s Maryam Lynch-Tate and husband Robert Tate after his return.

We are honored, and privileged, to have had our 12th Man flag flown by these service members who give so much on behalf of our country and for the freedom of people around the world.

And, again, very special thanks to Robert for his past and continued service.

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