SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS - 12/27/2012) -- A simple U.S. flag. It's
traveled thousands of miles, seen numerous deployments -- six to be
exact -- and one stint at Air Force basic military training. Even
today, it's still traveling, looking dusty and dull from all of its
miles and years.
Master Sgt. Bryan Kiele, left, poses with a U.S. flag at Kabul, Afghanistan, International Airport, Dec. 11, 2012 while his son, Airman 1st Class Tyler Kiele poses with the same flag Dec. 18, 2012 at an air base in Southwest Asia. Sergeant Kiele has kept the flag with him on five deployments. This is his last deployment, during which he passed the flag off to his son, who is on his first deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration
by Tech. Sgt. Dennis J. Henry Jr.)
But for one Air Force father and son duo, it's more than
just a simple U.S. flag; it's their symbol of family,
sacrifice and service.
"It's something that can
define our shared Air Force service, something we can build
on together," said Master Sgt. Bryan Kiele, an Afghan
avionics advisor with the 440th Air Expeditionary Advisory
Squadron, Kabul, Afghanistan.
Sergeant Kiele, who just passed his 21st year anniversary in
the Air Force, is on his second foreign nation advisory
deployment, and fifth air expeditionary force mission. This
is also his final deployment of his active Air Force career.
At the same time, his son, Airman 1st Class Tyler Kiele,
is deployed to the 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness
Squadron an air base in Southwest Asia, marking his first
Air Force deployment.
Airman Kiele said joining the
Air Force is something he always wanted to do.
been around the Air Force my whole life, so it was an easy
decision for me," said the fuels journeyman. "I liked the
lifestyle as much as my dad did."
Sergeant Kiele, a
Lewiston, Idaho native, spent his first 13 years at Minot
Air Force Base, Minot, N.D., working on B-52 Bombers in an
avionics shop. Minot was where his son was born, and
surprisingly, where Airman Kiele can call his first station
"It's kind of cool that my first base was my
father's first base too," Airman Kiele said. "And it's nice
because that's where I grew up, and it's where most of my
As Sergeant Kiele's Air Force career
progressed, so did his deployment tempo, and when it was
time for him to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom
in 2003, he chose to purchase a U.S. flag to keep with him
on his deployment.
"It was my way of showing respect,
and keeping a part of home with me while I was overseas," he
With every deployment, it became part of his
routine to pack the flag. At Sergeant Kiele's side, the flag
has "deployed" to England in support of OIF, the island of
Diego Garcia, Iraq, and Afghanistan twice.
bought (the flag), I didn't buy it with the intention of it
becoming anything special or for it to go on all of my
deployments, but I guess that is exactly what it has
become." Sergeant Kiele said.
When Airman Kiele
headed off to Air Force basic military training in 2011,
Sergeant Kiele wasn't deployed at the time, so he sent the
flag with his son to start his career.
"It was cool
for him to pass it off to me," Airman Kiele said. "For us to
pass it back and forth, it's definitely a tradition I'd like
to keep going."
After Airman Kiele's technical school
at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, Texas, he gave it back to
Its next destination would be Sergeant
Kiele's current deployment in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he
said the flag served a very important purpose.
flag was the centerpiece flag for a remembrance ceremony
honoring nine U.S. advisors (whom) were killed in 2011," he
explained. "That was a proud moment for me to know that we
were able to use the flag, and that we pulled off the
ceremony the right way."
With dwindling time left on
Sergeant Kiele's deployment before he returns to his home
unit, Det. 1, 605th Test and Evaluation Squadron in Kent,
Wa., and his son just beginning his first deployment in
Southwest Asia, he knew it was time to pass the flag on in
order to continue the tradition.
"It means a lot to
me that he's going to take the flag and continue with it,"
Sergeant Kiele said. "As he goes through his career with the
flag, he'll assign his own importance to it all. My hope is
that he continues with it, and maybe someday he'll pass it
on to his kids if they choose to join."
his father's career and the tradition they've created,
Airman Kiele said he looks forward to continuing with the
flag, and plans to use his father's passion and work ethic
as his model.
"My dad is a 'boss'; he run's his
programs well," he said. "When my (NCO) days come, I want to
follow in his footsteps."
And so the traveling flag
continues, now "stationed" at an undisclosed location in
Southwest Asia with Airman Kiele. What started as a purchase
of a simple U.S. flag has become so much more for this
father and son, linking their careers together and building
on their bond, one deployment at a time.
By Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez
U.S. Air Forces Central
Command Public Affairs
Air Force News Service
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