Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (AW) LaTunya Howard, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs Office
MILLINGTON, Tenn.—“Flat Stanley,” a laminated paper pen-pal, became a Sailor at Navy Personnel Command (NPC) during a ceremony Feb. 4.
The Department of the Navy was chosen by a student from Marguerite E. Small Elementary School, West Yarmouth, MA., to participant in an after-school program called the “Flat Stanley” project. NPC received Stanley Jan.31.
“I was refreshingly surprised by the package from the school,” said Chief Navy Counselor (AW) Kelly Strickland, force career counselor, Navy Total Force. “Our office thought about an activity or photo opportunity for ‘Flat Stanley’ when someone suggested that we enlist him in the Navy.”
The administrative office for NPC received an envelope containing “Flat Stanley” and a form letter explaining the reason for his visit. Additional items that accompanied him were a map of the United States, marking the state where he was sent, a list of questions the student wanted the Navy to answer, and a journal to record his activities during his stay.
The character “Flat Stanley” is based on a children’s book written by author Jeff Brown in 1964. According to Brown’s book, Stanley Lampchop (“Flat Stanley”) was flattened by a falling bulletin board. One of the many advantages of being flat is that now ‘Flat Stanley’ can visit family and friends by envelope.
“We made ‘Flat Stanley’ an honorary chief and held a swearing-in ceremony in our office,” said Strickland. “We took pictures of the event to forward to the school’s “Flat Stanley” Webpage.”
“We get requests all the time to fly ‘Flat Stanley’ around the world,” said Lt. Cdr. John Long, Involuntary Augmentee Mobility officer, NPC. Long is also a pilot with Federal Express Corporation. “We have taken pictures of ‘Flat Stanley’ in several locations including the cockpit.”
The project was started by a third-grade teacher in Ontario, Canada, in 1995. He invited other teachers to take part by hosting flat visitors and encouraging their students to write their own “Flat Stanley” journals. In 2010, “Flat Stanley” became virtual, traveling digitally across the World Wide Web via social networking and smart phones.
For more information about the “Flat Stanley” project visit http://www.flatstanley.com/about.php.