Person responsible for flag found in dumpster remains unknown - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Person responsible for flag found in dumpster remains unknown

Posted: Updated:

UPDATE: The Billings Army Reserve tells us they are unable to determine who is responsible for throwing an American flag in their dumpster because there are more people who have access to those dumpsters than just their employees. Their statement is below.

"We take this matter seriously because of the importance of our flag.  After conducting an investigation, we are unable to determine the origins of the flag in the trash can because our Soldiers are not the only individuals with access to the trash.  In addition, tenant units in the facility have reported no missing flags after conducting a complete inventory of all duty and spare flags in their possession.  We used this opportunity to provide additional guidance to our Solders about proper care and disposal of the American flag." - Capt. Maryjane Porter, FA46 Command Public Affairs Officer, 364th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)


Many Billings residents are outraged after a photo of the American flag thrown into the dumpster at the Billings Army Reserve went viral on Face book.

John Shields, a retired a 25 year Vietnam air retired chief petty officer found the flag.

According to John Shields, he saw the flag go into the hopper of his garbage truck through his camera at the Army Reserve on Broadwater.

He initially thought it was a pizza box, but became upset when he saw it was actually an American flag.

Shields then picked up the flag and dropped it off at VFW 1634. 

Commander James Koch says there's a proper way to dispose of American flags. 

"Bunch of the guys and I go out and we get them all done. Then we go by the flag disposal and flag should be folded in a customary manner,

which if they can't fold it, bring it in and just fold it. We don't like the end of the flag to touch the ground." Koch said.

Commander Koch added if you don't know how to properly fold the flag, the staff at VFW 1634 can teach you.

For Shields, he said this moment was personal.  

"It hurts me to see this happen because until you walk up to the house and have to tell a mother that her son is dead, until you've stood over a casket

and folded that flag, until you've been presented which I've been presented with one before or you have to present one. It takes a different spin on things. You take it to heart." Shields said.

KULR-8 reached out to the U.S. Army Reserve and received a statement from Captain Maryjane Porter with the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command.

 "We have just this morning become aware of this incident. We are in contact with the local unit. We take this incident seriously and we are looking into this matter further." she said.

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