Patriotism flies over Montevallo

The American flag now flying above the Montevallo City Hall is one of great significance. It traveled to Iraq with Staff Sergeant Mark Allred and was flown on a combat mission there.

Allred served in Iraq while on leave from the Montevallo Police Department.

In a recent flag raising ceremony attended by city employees and dignitaries, Allred presented the symbol of patriotism to Mayor Sharon Anderson, as well as an Operation Iraqi Freedom 07-09 certificate confirming the flag was flown Dec. 24, 2007 on a combat mission from Cob Speicher, Iraq.

“Our flag was given to me by the city and flew from my vehicle that was an armored truck called a gun truck,” Allred said. “And it gave me a sense of pride; both for myself and for the city. It shows patriotism and support for our troops. I look forward to the day when the flag will be retired – perhaps on Dec. 24, which was the day of the year it was flown in Iraq.”

The flag was protected by members of the 131st Battalion of the Alabama National Guard.

Allred, along with others of the Calera based 131st Armored Battalion, was assigned active duty in Iraq from July 3, 2007 until April 2008. All of them worked together as a team during their assignment.

Their job was, as convoy escorts, to protect and to furnish medical assistance to the independent contractors transporting supplies. Most missions were day–long missions traveling up to 105 miles. Travel was very slow and extremely hazardous. Allred explained that his unit was very fortunate; they had only one serious injury from a land mine.

Calera–area soldiers serving with Allred were Robert Webb, Anthony Ickes, Ronald Waybright, David Baker, Doyle Wright, Joseph Green, Jimmy Smith and James Brooks. Others serving from the area were William Hurd, Henry Williamson, Donald Fowler, Caleb Pope, Christopher Stanford, Jimmie Barth and Joshua Alexander.

Allred explained that most of these men took advantage of the program, which allowed them to fly flags over their posts or on combat missions.

Catherine Legg can be reached at clegg2@bellsouth.net