USS BOXER, Gulf of Aden
– The Lone Star State was represented in the Gulf of Aden as a Texas state flag flew from the mast aboard amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), June 26.
The flag flew from sunrise to sunset alongside the stars and stripes of the national ensign, during a show of pride by the nearly 200 Texans serving aboard the ship.
“We don’t say ‘I’m from Abilene’ or ‘I’m from Houston,’” said Ensign Grant Martin. “We say I’m from Texas.”
The flag-raising event was initiated by Martin, a native of Austin, who had made a similar show of state pride on his previous ship, destroyer USS Peterson (DD 969). The flag flown from Boxer began its world tour flying over the state capitol building in Austin, where Martin’s uncle served as a state representative. While serving aboard Peterson, his uncle sent him the flag.
Martin also stated that he figured if it could fly over a capital building, it should be able to fly over a warship.
“This gave me a chance to say I’m from Texas and I’m proud of it,” said Aviation Support Equipment Technician 1st Class Deidre Smith, from Marshall, Texas. “I don’t think you’ll get this from any other state.”
According to the Texans on board, flying their state flag alongside the U.S. flag illustrates the mindset of a Texan. The group believes that instead of having a separate star for each state like the U.S. flag, the Texas flag represents all of its citizens with a single star.
With Boxer, Martin’s flag has become a tradition and one he expects to continue on future ship’s he will serve on. Having exposed 200 of his fellow Texans to the idea, some have voiced that it is a tradition they would like to continue on future ships.
While all Sailors and Marines aboard Boxer are welcome to show their state pride, thanks to Martin’s effort, everyone will know Texans did it first.
Boxer is underway supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.