What You Need to Know About the US Military Ban on Flags Made in Other Countries

What’s more American than an American flag? Turns out that maybe it’s more than you think. Like a plethora of other items, American flags can be manufactured less expensively in China than they can here. flagusaNorth Bay, California Congressman Mike Thompson joined other citizens in being up in arms over the concept that our soldiers were carrying foreign-made flags into battle and in honorific processions. He proceeded to write legislation that requires all flags purchased by the U.S. Department of Defense be made in America; the legislation was signed into law as part of the 2014 omnibus appropriations bill.

While many Americans think that it’s bad enough that so few of our goods are actually “made in America”, they probably had no idea that it also applied to American flags. Since 1941, the Defense Department has been banned from buying food, clothes, uniforms, fabrics, stainless steel and hand or measuring tools that are not produced in the United States. Now, flags have been added to the list.

Part of the issue, though, was that post – 9/11, the surge of patriotism in the form of American flags flying from people’s homes and cars meant that U.S. manufacturers were having a hard time keeping up with demand. The new law guarantees that the Defense Department will not be spending American tax dollars on U.S. flags made overseas.

However, this does not mean that all American flags are homegrown; the law applies only to the Defense Department. Other agencies can still buy overseas-made flags. A bill similar to Thompson’s, but calling for a ban on all overseas-made flags purchased by government agencies, did not pass. Flags purchased by the federal government do need to be made from at least 50% of American-made materials, and this applies to all flags on federal buildings. Until now, about $3.3 million worth of American flags have been imported from Beijing each year.

The law isn’t perfect, though. Like plenty of legislation, there are loopholes. One is that American flags are considered textiles. That means that flags sold online don’t have origin labels that are required under federal law. The law should make a difference, but it makes no guarantees.

Fortunately, you can still find some retailers of American flags that manufacture and sell flags on American soil. For example, Gettysburg Flag Works in upstate New York is a small company that specializes in the manufacture of flags, flagpoles and other accessories. It’s a success story of a small, local retailer that moved its business online (though it continues to maintain its brick-and-mortar roots). These kinds of companies are cheering the legislation because they are exactly the kinds of businesses that it is designed to protect. Living in a global economy is an unavoidable truth — everything from the shoes on our feet to the vegetables we eat is imported from overseas. However, the American flag… the essence, arguably, of that for which this country stands… should be something that is made by U.S. workers on American soil.

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Marine Executive Association

I’m proud to be a member of the Marine Executive Association
~Cpl. Beddoe

The Marine Executive Association is Marines helping Marines during transition, carrying on the Marine tradition “Taking Care of Our Own.” MEA members network their marketplace knowledge; contacts; job locations; and personal experience to assist the transitioning Marine penetrate the civilian marketplace.

Using direct contact or the Internet, MEA members assist Marines and Navy Corpsman regardless of location, experience, MOS, or skills Marines post company job openings to the MEA website, provide assistance with introductions and references, and company environment. Every member can be called upon for assistance.

The MEA website is important to transition assistance. Because employers post job openings for free, the site features quality jobs across the country and in some foreign countries. Marines can search and download job openings, post their resume for employer download, subscribe to weekly announcements of posted jobs, job fairs, and resume’s, and subscribe to daily E-Mail messages from our “Hot Jobs” coordinator, all for free.


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CPL P letter to POTUS

Via Corporal Kevin P.

Thanks to overwhelming support, I have decided to release this. I wrote a letter to the President! Tell me what you guys think:

“January 25, 2012

The Honorable Mr. Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

My name is Kevin. I am twenty three years old and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. I served two tours in Afghanistan with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. I am writing to you to inform you of the current state of the Department of Veterans Affairs as seen from a veteran’s perspective, and to increase public awareness and support for veterans. Although our nation is facing many major issues today, the media and politicians are barely recognizing veterans as an issue this election year even though this election takes place during the longest war in United States history. Considering my own experiences with Veterans Affairs and the experiences of my fellow veterans, this is absolutely unacceptable.

Every aspect in which I have dealt with Veterans Affairs so far, compensation, education, and healthcare, has been completely inadequate. I have been waiting for my compensation claim for over one year. When I call the VA they have no updated information on my claim for me. When I check the e-benefits website it still tells me my attention is needed for an issue that I corrected seven months ago. For the GI Bill, I was told it would 100% cover a flight school program I wanted to take. I was guaranteed this by the VA hotline and the VA representative at my school. I moved halfway across the country from Chicago to San Diego only to be told I would have to wait an additional four months before the program would be covered. Three months and three weeks later I was told the program would not be covered by the GI Bill under any circumstances. I had no income and had to move back to Chicago. I wasted four months and over $15,000 in moving and living expenses. I considered attempting to sue Veterans Affairs for my financial losses, but I knew any money I was awarded surely wouldn’t come from executives paychecks, but that it would come from the funds used to help veterans. What is most troubling is an article I read in the military.com news from November 15, 2011 titled ‘Vet Organizations Hit VA Executive Bonuses’ in which it states, “Carl Blake, national legislative director for the Paralyzed Veterans of America, said the VA paid out bonuses averaging about $14,000 to some 240 Senior Executive Service employees last year.”

Healthcare is the worst of all. With the little income I am currently receiving from unemployment and the GI Bill while I attend a community college I do not wish to go to but need the money, I cannot afford any health or dental insurance whatsoever. The majority of my income goes to my mother who was laid off two years ago. When it comes to service connected issues, to say that nobody at the VA cares is completely unfair. I have met several amazing VA employees who have helped me tremendously. However, it is difficult to find many people who actually care. For example, during my PTSD exam less than one month after discharge from active duty (two months after returning from my second deployment to Afghanistan), I was handed a one page questionnaire by a VA psychiatrist. After filling it out, the psychiatrist proceeded to spend less than 5 minutes speaking with me. For the most part, they simply repeated the questions I had just filled out. I was told although I showed many symptoms of PTSD, I did not show enough for a diagnosis. I was then prescribed psychiatric medication after specifically saying I did not want psychiatrics. Based on this experience, and the experiences of fellow veterans I have kept in touch with, the VA healthcare system is more concerned with prescribing drugs than helping veterans. These drugs are often prescribed in experimental combinations to people already suffering from mental illness. It is no wonder suicide among veterans has skyrocketed. Although I did not take any of the medications, I would have taken my own life several months ago if it were not for one thing: A very close friend of mine named Jonathan Porto did not come back from Afghanistan in 2010. He left behind his wife and newborn daughter. I can think of nothing more selfish than to take my own life when I know he would give anything to have his back.

Like most United States Marines I did not enlist for the benefits. They were nothing more than an added bonus to something I already knew I wanted to do regardless. To be promised no benefits would not have changed my decision to join the military whatsoever. However, if I’m going to be promised these benefits, I’m going to make post-military plans that depend on them. By not receiving the benefits that I was promised, my plans were clearly severely and adversely affected. But that’s okay, I am not concerned with my own problems right now. I will adapt, overcome, and succeed. My concern is for the next generation of veterans that will follow me. I absolutely refuse to let the Marines I trained be discharged from active duty only to face the same issues I am now facing. It is my responsibility and my duty to do everything in my power to make sure future veterans have the smoothest and easiest possible transition from the military to civilian life, and to make sure that they are taken care of as well as possible. It is the responsibility and duty for every veteran to do this. Like the “Bonus Army” that assembled in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 1932 over World War One veteran’s benefits, I urge the public whether you’re a veteran or not, protect those that protect freedom and individual’s rights. With social media and today’s technology, veterans can communicate and organize like never before in history. Your voice and vote CAN make a real difference.

Yours faithfully,

Corporal Kevin P, USMC”

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Operation: Care and Comfort

OPERATION CARE AND COMFORT“Historically, Americans have shown their support to our Troops serving in times of war in many ways. By writing letters, mailing care packages, welcome home events, or by showing support for a deployed service member or Veteran’s family, Americans have opened up their hearts, homes, and wallets to show that they support those who serve. Operation: Care and Comfort (OCC), our all volunteer 501(c)(3) organization, is proud to continue this tradition of service. Our unique program allows caring Americans to donate their time, talent, and treasure to honor those currently serving our country and those who have served.

OCC Care Packages: We provide support and comfort to “adopted” units of deployed U.S. military service members, serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other conflict regions. Working within our community and through donations received from all over our country, we assemble and ship care packages to our adopted units every month until they return home. We are currently supporting up to 200 units on a monthly basis.”


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Brother To Brother Day

A day of reconnection for all Veteran’s and Active Duty personnel.

You’ve got this Cpl’s support Marine!!

See the FACEBOOK Page.

Semper Fi!

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Bands For Arms: Handmade Bracelets

I received a tweet from @yettajoooones on Twitter giving me a heads up on a really neat organization building bracelets from old military clothing. [@usmc81 Must check out @BandsForArms [: Such an awesome/unique thing!] I checked them out and was really impressed with what they have done. I believe their bracelets could be the next fashion statement! My order has been placed! Check’em out…

Bands For Arms supports The USO Japan, The National World War II Museum, Project Lifting Spirits and The Marine Toys For Tots Foundation.


Bands For Arms
Bands For Arms
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Cpl. Gary Miller and Toy for Tots

An incredible Toys for Tots story from the childhood and life of my good friend Cpl. Gary Miller. 

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Dog Tags For Kids

Help us send dog tags to troops in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan so they can send them to their kids back home!

This is a grassroots effort to show our support for the troops and their families. We tried to think of something we could send Dad or Mom that they could easily send back to their kids. This is something easy to ship and something the kids can hang on to until Dad or Mom gets back home.

Your donation will help send a tag in the appropriate service color to an appreciative service member. There is NO charge to the service member or their family for these tags. As of December 1st, 2009, we have sent 500,580 tags to the troops overseas to send home to their children. Please help us make a difference and thank our troops by putting a smile on their kid’s faces!


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