Technical Sergeant Patrick McTaggart knows how to say thank you.
McTaggart, active duty United States Air Force, is also a horse trainer and member of the Kansas Ranch Ropers Association (KRRA).
On March 9, McTaggart presented the KRRA with a United States flag that had flown on a combat mission over the skies of Afghanistan.
McTaggart gave the KRRA the flag as a way to say “thank you” for the cards and goodies he received from its members over the Christmas holiday while he was stationed in Germany.
McTaggart currently resides in El Dorado but will soon be stationed, with his wife Natalie, in Guam.
“Talk about surprised,” admitted TA Williams, KRRA member and current president. “We had no idea Patrick was planning something like this. At our first roping of the year on March 9, he asked to say a few words to all of us. He told us he was grateful for the cards and goodies he’d received in Germany over Christmas, and said he really didn’t know how to express his thanks. Then, all of a sudden, he presented us with our very own United States flag, presented to the KRRA by the United States Air Force. It’s a cliche, but you could have heard a pin drop. Everyone was so surprised, and so touched.”
The flag was given with a Certificate of Authenticity that states: “This flag is presented to the Kansas Ranch Ropers Association. This flag was flown on behalf of the 22d Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron over the skies of Afghanistan on 31 January 2013. It flew on board a KC-135R Stratotanker during a combat refueling mission. During this mission four F-16 Falcons and four A-1C Thunderbolts were refueled with 45,200 pounds of fuel by dedicated members of the United Stares Air Force, representing our commitment to ground and air forces supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Let all who look upon it see it as a symbol of freedom, a standard of justice, and a promise to remember those who died for it.”
The certificate is signed by Jason Lunger, captain USAF, Aircraft Commander; Tim Hines, 1Lt. USAF, pilot; and Richard Bailey, A1C, USAF, boom operator.
“We fly a flag at every KRRA roping,” said Williams. “So, of course, from now on we’re going to fly this one. And believe me, it’s going to mean just a little bit more to all of us.”