NEWS | Feb. 22, 2018

Engineers conduct flag change ceremony to celebrate Kuwaiti holiday

By Sgt. David Nye U.S. Army Central

Soldiers and leaders with the 40th Brigade Engineer Battalion held a flag retirement and replacement ceremony on Camp Patriot, Kuwait, Feb. 22, 2018, to honor the Kuwaiti flag there and to raise a new flag over the base in advance of Kuwaiti National and Liberation days.

Kuwaiti National Day takes place on February 25 and celebrates Kuwaiti independence from Britain, while Liberation Day is on February 26 and celebrates the expulsion of Iraqi forces from Kuwait by a coalition of Kuwaiti, U.S., and other forces in 1991.

The U.S. Security Forces South Commander, Lt. Col. David W. Noble, spoke at the event and explained the symbolism in the flag exchange.

“We appreciate the importance of these two dates, as we celebrate similar events with many of our national holidays,” Noble said. “The ceremony allows us, as members of the naval base community, to pay respects for the blood… that has been shed by our Kuwait partners, by this flag exchange ceremony.”

“The Kuwait flag has stood proudly at our main entrance, fighting away harsh weather and continuous exposure to the sun,” Noble continued. “Like our Kuwaiti partners, the flag has remained strong, and has represented us all with honor and distinction. We will retire this Kuwaiti flag and replace it with a new one, symbolizing that this nation is as strong as ever, and we will defend her as brothers in arms.”

The master of ceremonies for the event was 1st Lt. John Lim, the 40th Brigade Engineer Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Company executive officer. Lim helped plan the ceremony and worked to ensure the Kuwaiti flag was handled according to Kuwaiti traditions.

“The biggest thing was their regs,” Lim said, referring to Kuwaiti flag regulations and laws which are different from U.S. ones. “So, the way you fold the Kuwaiti flag is extremely different, and the way you present is extremely different. So we had to research. We wanted to make sure we did it right.”

The ceremony took place on the Thursday before the national holidays in order to allow Kuwaiti military personnel to attend before being released to their homes to celebrate the holidays.

“The actual National and Liberation days are the 25-26,” he said, “so we tried to find a mutual workable time before they left to celebrate.”