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Eagle Project Tucks a Piece of Home Into Marines' Pockets

There was no question where Maj. Doug G. Luccio was going to keep his miniature flag made by Eagle Scout Dylan Wyscaver of Golden, Colo.

"I keep it in my left breast pocket," said Luccio, 1st Marine Division's assistant fire support coordinator and himself an Eagle Scout. "Right over my heart."

Assistant Scoutmaster Rick Baldessari is Luccio's cousin, and he thought active-duty Marines would appreciate the gifts. When hundreds of tiny flags arrived in Iraq, Luccio put them out for Marines and sailors of the division to take.

"I left the flags out, and they were gone in a matter of hours," Luccio explained.

Lance Cpl. Noah C. Dayton of Tucson, Ariz., was one of those who snagged a flag. Its permanent home is now the civil affairs clerk's left cargo pocket.

"It'll stay there the whole time," said Dayton. "It's like carrying a piece of home around with me."

According to the card that accompanies the flag, that's exactly the point.

Eagle Scout Wyscaver's idea to send tiny American flags to deployed troops for his Eagle project was inspired by the not-for-profit organization Pocket Flag Project.

As stated on the group's website, its mission is to "get as many pocket flags as we can into the pockets of our military personnel on the front lines. We want them to know that we care and that we keep them in our hearts and our prayers."

Individuals or groups, such as Boy Scout troops, purchase the materials to make the flags from Pocket Flag Project. Before being sent to forward deployed troops, the volunteers fold the flags into the appropriate tricornered shape, in accordance with proper flag etiquette.

Then the flags are placed into small plastic bags with cards that read, "A flag for your pocket so you can always carry a little piece of home. We are praying for you and we are proud of you. Thank you for defending our country and our freedom."

Luccio said the gift was completely unexpected but very much appreciated.

"It probably took that young man a while to fold all those flags and get them ready to be shipped out to us," he said. "I think that motivates the Marines out here. It's just a small reminder that freedom isn't free, and people do support us for standing up for values like justice and freedom."