Joseph Hilfiker, left, presents Missouri and American flags flown over Iraq to Dr. Rick Hux, director of the Crisp Bootheel Education Center.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,
Jan. 27, 2006 – Joseph Hilfiker of Malden, Mo., a member of the Army National Guard and a student at the Harry L. Crisp Bootheel Education Center (CBEC) in Malden, on Thursday donated a Missouri and an American flag both flown in Iraq to be proudly displayed at the CBEC.
Hilfiker presented the flags to Dr. Rick Hux, director of the CBEC.
Hilfiker has been a member of the Army National Guard for more than seven years. His most recent mission was to northern Iraq with Company D of the 735th Maintenance Support Battalion based out of Poplar Bluff, Mo.
The flags were flown at Camp Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq, where Hilfiker was stationed from January to October last year. Hilfiker said he decided to donate the flags to the CBEC because of the support he has received as a student there.
“The BEC has made my educational goals very attainable,” he said. “Being in the Army, I’ve never experienced any roadblocks for continuing my education at the CBEC. Even though I would be gone for months at a time, the faculty and staff always remembered my face and my name. It really made things easier from my transition from soldier to student. The CBEC has been very gracious with helping me get back into my educational career after serving my country.”
A criminal justice major and now back from Iraq, Hilfiker is enrolled in 12 credit hours of coursework this semester at the CBEC.
“On behalf of the Crisp Bootheel Education Center, we gratefully accept your presentation of both the Missouri state and United States flags flown by your unit in Iraq during your recent tour of duty there,” Hux said. “We accept these flags to honor you, your unit and all the men and women of our armed services for their military service.”
Hux said the U.S. flag is the most recognizable emblem of American patriotism.
“It represents our unity as a nation, the values of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence,” he said. “These flags represent the personal sacrifices of service to our country by young men and women like you.”
Hux said the CBEC will proudly display the flags in a case at the Center.
“We are very proud to display these flags at the Crisp Bootheel Education Center and we are also very proud to have you attending Southeast Missouri State University in Malden,” he said.
During his deployment in Iraq, Hilfiker served as a unit supply specialist and helped to provide amenities for the 175 soldiers in his company.
“I made sure they received things like food, water, clothes and ammunition,” Hilfiker said. He says he acted as a liaison officer for the Army. He would work with companies sending supplies to the troops to ensure everyone could get what they needed to survive in the desert. Hilfiker’s other duties included the logistics side of his company’s mission.
“I also helped organize convoys and was part of the Convoy Security Team for the Army’s logistics control,” he said. “My responsibility was to overlook the convoy teams as they moved through northern Iraq while they were watching out for the enemy.”
Hilfiker says he is considering reenlisting in the Army National Guard in April.