Feature Story

The Fire and Flames Brigade In Iraq

TUCSON, AZ.- - The events of September 11, 2001 changed the world in many ways. No longer was terrorism someone else's problem. It had advanced onto American soil and sent shockwaves through society. The response was the deployment of troops to Afghanistan to eradicate the al-Queda terrorist network.

Steven Lake is a civilian police officer in Arizona who also serves in the United States Air Force Reserve in the capacity of a Technical Sergeant in the Security Forces field. He was called to active duty with the Air Force Reserve shortly after September 11. He spent nearly two years on duty serving his country-- of which nine months was spent deployed overseas in different locations. Sergeant Lake was deployed during the initial phase of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and again during the build up and launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He returned to the United States in May 2003 shortly after the cessation of large scale hostilities in Iraq.

While he was deployed at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, Sergeant Lake decided to give something back to Jeff Gordon and the Hendrick Motorsports organization for the entertainment and joy they've provided over the years. In the days leading up to and during the air war with Iraq, he arranged to have an American flag flown on an F-15 Strike Eagle. This flag was flown for about 180 combat flight hours. On March 29, 2003, the flag was removed from Air Craft 87-0181 after its mission. A certificate was made commemorating that mission and was signed by the pilot weapons system officer and the Squadron commander. We live in a world that has walls. It's nice to know those walls are being protected by the "fire and flames."

Fire and Flames banner
The "Fire and Flames" banner in the middle east

Officer Lake
Sergeant Lake in search of Baghdad Motor Speedway

With honors

Flying the colors
Never far from home

Time in the desert
Not your ordinary pit crew

Ready, willing, and able
Protecting our freedoms

In flight
Streaking through the morning haze

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