The Journey to Combat Flags
My Military Experience
But, before we get to Combat Flags, let me introduce myself. My name is Dan and I served 6 years in the United States Army. I joined up a few months after my seventeenth birthday, just 2 years after Sept. 11, with the sole intention of serving my country. I didn’t join for college money or to find myself, I joined because it was the right thing to do.
I qualified and signed up for 37F - Psychological Operations. Why? Because it was the only job available at the time that guaranteed me an Airborne slot. After basic, AIT, jump school and language school, I joined my company and deployed twice in support of OEF-P.
My 6 years in the Army were some of the best of my life. I met amazing people, grew (personally and professionally), learned lifelong lessons and started on the journey that led me to have the life I have today.
Finding Combat Flags
When I decided to leave the military, I left the military all the way. I packed it up — literally and figuratively — and put it away. I started school, graduated school, started my career and lived my life. But… I missed the military and I missed the connection to people who were like me. For the first time in my adult life I was accountable for nobody but myself.
So, I began the lengthy journey of finding my niche. I knew I wanted to reintegrate with the military and veteran community, but I didn’t want to volunteer randomly and donate money periodically. I wanted something with more meaning… something I could build a community around.
Enter Combat Flags
The idea for Combat Flags came during a mundane conference call. I happened to look up toward the corner of my desk, like I’d done a million times before, and spotted the tiny American Flag I had hanging. The idea struck me instantly. The Original Combat Flag was born. It took about 3 months of learning, testing and perfecting before I “officially” launched Combat Flags, but it happened.
Fast forward a few years and Combat Flags had become more than I could have imagined. My story and Combat Flags were featured by Mike Rowe on his Facebook series "Returning the Favor" in 2018 and I went on to be a guest on the Fox News show "Varney & Co" in 2019 and in late 2020 I appeared again on Fox News, this time on "The Untold Story with Martha MacCallum."
An Unexpected Ending
In early 2022 I made the difficult decision to shutter Combat Flags. My wife was pregnant with our 2nd child and the preceding year was fraught with medical and family troubles which, honestly, needed my time and attention far more than Combat Flags.
It was a hard decision to make, but one that needed to be made. Combat Flags officially closed shop in April 2022. But life has a way of surprising us when we need it most.
The Phone Call that Changed Everything
Fast forward again a few months and I sat holding my newborn baby girl while my wife napped. Unexpectedly, my phone began to buzz. The Caller ID simply read "Brian Flags of Valor." I answered.
Brian Steorts, the founder and owner of Flags of Valor, and I had come to know one another through our businesses and we'd talk periodically during the year, often times working through ideas and ways to collaborate.
But this phone call was different. It was during this call when Brian first floated the idea of bringing Combat Flags back to life, but this time under the wing of Flags of Valor. It was (and still is) an astounding thought... I thought Combat Flags was gone, and here was an incredible opportunity to see it come back to life with a team around it to help it thrive.
A simple "yes, let's make this happen" was all I said.
Beyond the Flags of Valor team bringing Combat Flags back online, I was also able to join Flags of Valor full time as the Chief Marketing Officer for Flags of Valor and Combat Flags, meaning the days of running Combat Flags as a "side hustle" were gone.
One phone call quite literally changed my life while bringing Combat Flags back to life in a very real way.
Two Brands with a Shared Mission
Flags of Valor and Combat Flags are both founded on a core principle that we must never stop giving back. For Combat Flags, that equates to $125,000 donated to Stop Soldier Suicide and for Flags of Valor, that equates to a stunning $1.7 million donated to a number of veteran and first-responder centric nonprofits.
Beyond charitable contributions, both brands craft American Flags that tell the story of our nation in remarkable ways. Whether that be handcrafted from wood or crafted from the material worn by our fighting men and women, each flag created is one-of-a-kind and is embedded with the story that so many of us feel in our hearts.
More About Combat Flags
The sole purpose of Combat Flags is to connect veterans and give back in a meaningful way. At the time I launched the company I committed to supporting a veteran 501(c)(3) dedicated to helping our brothers and sisters who need it most. After much research I decided on Stop Soldier Suicide.
Lifetime donations have surpassed $125,000, benefiting 62 veterans with much-needed support! I'm continually blown away by the meaning so many of you find in Combat Flags and my mission.
A simple “thank you” isn’t enough. But I am thankful for those of you who support Combat Flags and Flags of Valor, while also supporting my personal mission to leave the world a better place than we found it.