July 12, 2012

Congressman, general meet, discuss past project

Story and photo by Natalie Lakosil
Staff Writer

On July 2 at Alvarado Hall, Maj. Gen. Gregg Potter, commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca, recognizes a flag presented by Congressman Ron Barber during Barber’s visit to Fort Huachuca. Prior to taking office, Barber was instrumental in delivering the flag for a special journey into space.

Congressman Ron Barber met with Maj. Gen. Gregg Potter, commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca last week while visiting the fort.

One portion of the visit involved viewing a flag Barber helped deliver for a special event.

The modest red-and-white cavalry flag that reads “Fort Huachuca Arizona” with a Buffalo Soldier on it and is framed and mounted in Alvarado Hall has special significance; it made a journey into space last fall.

The flag was flown on the Endeavor space shuttle in 2011 by now-retired astronaut and Navy Capt. Mark Kelly. The man, who is married to former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, took memorabilia from all of the military installations in Arizona on the mission.

The cavalry flag was made in Sierra Vista. “It represents both the history of our post and something special about our post. We are very proud of this,” Potter said. “Mr. Barber was intimate in making this happen before he was congressman,” he added.

“Really without in any way diminishing the other contributions, this was the most significant piece that we got to fly on the Endeavor,” Barber said. “The fort represents not only incredible national treasure in terms of our national security but also it’s the major economic driver of Cochise County. It has to be represented in this way, and it was just my pleasure and honor to be able to facilitate the transfer of this item to Commander Kelly to take up on the mission.”

Barber explained that the Endeavor flight was supposed to be the last mission, which is why having the memorabilia on board was so significant, but there was one more flight after that.

“We had hoped it be the last mission … but still it is pretty significant to have something flown that high, onto the space station and back to be able to present it here and to have an example of how we have a larger commitment to America’s future which includes manned space flight,” Barber said.

This is the first time Barber had seen the flag since it was returned to Fort Huachuca. “It is awesome. I handled it before, and now to see it framed here with the authenticity certificate is really amazing and wonderful,” Barber added.

Potter had a similar reaction to the event. “It is fantastic, and any time we can get congressmen and women to come visit our post it is really important, so today we are fortunate enough to have Congressman Barber come visit us and we are thrilled that he is here.”

Barber has visited Fort Huachuca previously but this was his first visit since being elected to Congress.

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