Former Senior Airman Brian Kolfage retired from the Air Force after being severely wounded during his second deployment for Operation Iraqi Freedom. On Sept. 11, 2004, Kolfage was struck directly by a large artillery round (107mm rocket) which instantly severed his legs completely and his dominant right hand, making him a triple amputee. He received a Purple Heart medal for his actions in Iraq. Till this day, Kolfage is the most severely wounded U.S. Airman to survive any war. Kolfage is a 2014 graduate of the University of Arizona’s School of Architecture and is currently serving on Congressman Ron Barber’s (D-Ariz) veteran advisory committee.
Below is Brian Kolfage’s report for The Blaze, “Air Force Overlooks Disrespectful Display of the American Flag in Favor of Political Correctness,” Feb. 5, 2015.
I noticed something strange as I drove through Davis Monthan Air Force Base, in Tuscon, Arizona last week.
It was an American flag with rainbow stripes instead of the standard red and white stripes flying high on a two story house…on government property. […]
Everyone is free to express their sexual preferences in the Military in any way they want, but this flag flying on a military base is in violation of Title 4 of the U.S. Code.
More specifically Title 4 U.S. Code – Section 1:
Flag; stripes and stars on: The flag of the United States shall be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white; and the union of the flag shall be fifty stars, white in a blue field.
The flag I saw is a parody of the American Flag with 50 white stars in the union, smeared with the rainbow colors as the stripes. The moment the flag took on the union stars is where it becomes a violation, with my understanding of the U.S. Code.
After posting the story on social media, I was contacted by hundreds of active duty Airmen thanking me for being their voice.
One of these servicemen who reached out to me is an Active Duty Air Force master sergeant, and for his own protection I have left out his name. What he sent me summed up the issues that our Airmen are facing:
I support that law and will continue to serve without distinction. First, however, I am an American. I have sworn to put Service, before self (and with that, any sexual preferences, color, religion, or ethnic background). I am saddened that leadership tiptoes over moral and ethical decision making in an effort to please the minority, or to not ruffle any feathers. Where is the line to be drawn?
I cannot fly a Christian flag. I cannot have a “Christmas” party at work. It has to be a “holiday” party. The point of this message isn’t anti-gay. It’s a fundamental shift of loyalty and allegiance. It is a political statement. I cannot publicly endorse a candidate for office while in uniform, but I can openly tell the world that I am LGBT. If they are proud of the leaps and bounds that the [Department of Defense]D has made with the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell,” then put up a rainbow flag and call it a day. But when you add the Union, it becomes a political statement. And that, my fellow Americans, is unacceptable.
This Air Force senior non commissioned officer perfectly sums up the hypocrisy and agenda-based and biased rules that our military leaders are using to enforce regulations.
It’s sad when someone who has gone to war and faced combat cannot display a Christian flag or even a Gadsden flag because it may be offensive. However, a flag that is in violation of the U.S. Code that mandates base regulations and policy is allowed?!
The following statement was the first of two that were sent to me by the 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office:
We are currently reviewing this issue and have taken no action at this time. We take seriously our responsibility to abide by federal law and defend the Constitutional rights of all citizens.
Then three days later I received the final ruling:
The installation commander carefully considered the opinions of legal professionals and the law. The display in question is not an altered U.S. flag; therefore, its display does not violate federal law. No action will be taken.
I can only imagine the legal conversations that went down to formulate this decision. Even a simple Google search reveals what we already knew. The flags are sold as “Gay Lesbian American Flags.” There you have it, let’s call a spade a spade and cut out the political correctness.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice the stars are perfectly laid out per the standard proportions for the U.S. Flag design guidelines. Furthermore, the stars are the same color with the same background. Are you really saying this is “not an altered U.S. flag?” You can’t be serious!
Without a doubt this is a perversion of Old Glory, and it’s flying on an Air Force base that won the 2012 Commander In Chief’s Best Installation in the Air Force. Should that tell us something?
What I would like to know is how it is not in violation of U.S. Code? Is it solely based on the rainbow not having enough colors? Are we really having this debate? Are today’s Air Force leaders really lacking this much common sense judgment on something so blatantly obvious? Or do they simply not have enough brass to man up and resist political correctness?
This opens a whole new can of worms after the 355th Fighter Wing has now set a precedence. I sure hope Airman around the globe read this, and bust out their flags whether they be a big Christian cross, Santa Claus, Gadsden, Medical Marijuana, Rebel, NASCAR, pink unicorns, or whatever they feel they represent. Even if you’re for straight marriage go ahead and fly that flag if it’s what you truly believe.
And when the Air Force instructs you to take it down, refer them to this article and then contact me. I’ll personally ensure your rights are not infringed upon.
If you’re proud of your sexuality, then please represent it, but do not do it at the sake of insulting our nation’s flag. Please have some respect and go buy a regular Lesbain Gay Bisexual and Transgender pride flag.
Most of us join the military because we love our nation, our citizens, our way of life and we protect our flag because it represents everything we fight for.
The colors of our flag symbolize the patriotic ideals and spiritual qualities of the citizens of our country
The red stripes proclaim the fearless courage and integrity of American men and sons and the self-sacrifice and devotion of American women and daughters.
The white stripes stand for liberty and equality for all.
The blue is the blue of heaven, loyalty, and faith.
The flag represent these eternal principles: liberty, justice, and humanity and embodies American freedom: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press, and the sanctity of the home.
I chose this flag above all because I’m an American. Which flag will you choose?
If you would like to contact the 355th Fighter Wing about the decision please use the information below:
See also “Obama admin actively recruits transgenders for the military,” June 27, 2014.