Newark, New Jersey - Sgt. Joseph Sente from 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division was in New Jersey a few weeks ago for the 2nd Annual Essex County Friends of NRA Banquet. A few years ago, he was in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. Like many of those who served, he brought along a few things from home.
In addition to the standard supply of keepsakes and reminders, Joseph (in the center of the photo to the right) brought along five American Flags. They flew behind humvees, from flagpoles, and outside tents throughout his tour in Afghanistan. Primary locations of interest included Kandahar and Tarnak Farms. Kandahar served as the staging area for all coalition combat operations in Afghanistan and Tarnak Farms was one of the first training camps for Al-Qaeda ... now it is an American Training Center.
"Taking flags into battle was a common practice," explained Sgt. Sente. "It's a piece of what we experience over there. I donated one to raise funds for a school, gave another to a dear friend and this one to the Committee to help raise fund for the Essex County Friends of NRA. It's a very worthy cause."
Some of the items which went up for auction sold for more, some sold for less, but this American Flag was purchased by Mike Malinicks for the price of $325. Mike, seen holding the flag in the above picture, promises to display this treasure in a safe, honorable place for all to see.
Joseph plans to keep one of the five flags for himself. An understandable move. Giving up one or two is an incredible gesture of sacrifice. But as one who has served in America's armed forces, sacrifice is a familiar instinct.