The AKDW Flag and Its Travels
2011 - 2012

The first the general public became aware that the AKDW flag was on a tour
was when it was not available to be flown at the Children's Camp, June 11, 2011. (See the picture below.)
At the time no explanation was given, only that the flag was missing.

(Click on all image to expand.)

The whereabouts of the flag remained unknown until a photo appeared to be published on the website in July.

It turns out the flag was missing with official approval from the AKDW headquarters.
Here AKDW member "Chief Warrant Officer 4" Michael Pracht (3rd from right in the above photo)
is shown with his crew members. They were given special permission to take the flag along
in the helicopter when on missions while deployed in Afghanistan.

CW Michael Pracht practices a BO form in Afghanistan.
CW4 Pracht with his helicopter in Afghanistan.
Note the AKDW patch on his right shoulder.
(We assume that this was approved military apparel.)
Very special to having the flag on tour in Afghanistan was to display it for all to see on a flag pole. This was was done several times. Here is perhaps the most important time - the main flag pole of FOB Salerno base in Afghanistan on September 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.

The official return of the AKDW flag to the organization occured in a dramatic presentation at the 38th Annual International Championships held on March 31, 2012. Mr. Peter Schmitt, CEO of the Watertown Family YMCA, gave a presentation of where the flag had been and then introduced "Chief Warrant Officer 4" Michael Pracht in full military dress uniform to present the AKDW flag an American flag that accompanied it and a plaque with associated memorabilia to Master Robert Lawlor. (The text of Mr. Schmitt's presentation is given below.)


Jefferson Community College ~ 2012 Tournament, March 31st
Presentation by Mr. Peter Schmitt of AKDW Flag to Master Robert Lawlor

About a year ago, a special request was made by the Black Belts of American Kang Duk Won of Master Lawlor. The instructors asked permission to have the American Kang Duk Won Karate flag temporarily taken down from where it is regularly displayed in the main training hall at the Watertown YMCA. This flag is traditionally displayed at all key events, such as the summer karate camps, quarterly instructors' meetings, and this annual international tournament.

The American Kang Duk Won flag has not been available for any of these events for nearly twelve months. That is not to say that during this time the banner was simply lying around or was being stored for safe keeping. The complete opposite is true!

Today, the American Kang Duk Won Karate flag will once again be exhibited but with even greater pride and loyalty than before. For during its absence, the school flag was officially involved in missions that were conducted as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom throughout various regions of Afghanistan. In a few moments Master Lawlor will receive the returning school flag on behalf of all members of American Kang Duk Won.

However, before "Chief Warrant Officer 4" Michael Pracht, who is also a blue belt in the Alexandria Bay class, steps forward to conclude the flag's lengthy tour of duty, a summary of its involvement in the military missions seems fitting.

Upon its arrival in Afghanistan in the Summer of 2011, the banner became actively involved in five flight missions. The American Kang Duk Won flag flew with numerous military personnel of Task Force 1-10, the “Tigersharks.” The lineage of this flight unit can be traced back to the “Flying Tigers” of World War II. The Command Pilot for each of the following missions authorized the American Kang Duk Won Karate flag being on board his military helicopter prior to take off:

    • A "life-saving mission" aboard a Medevac Aircraft
    • A "support assault mission" aboard an Apache Helicopter
    • The "transport of Field Commanders to their troops" aboard a Blackhawk Helicopter
    • "Flying cover for ground troops" aboard a Kiowa Warrior Helicopter
    • "Inserting Rangers into battlefield efforts to capture enemy leadership"
      aboard a revered Chinook Helicopter
All of the Command Pilots truly appreciated Chief Warrant Officer Pracht's request for having the flag being carried into their missions. The pilots clearly understood the presence of the American Kang Duk Won Karate flag represented the continual support we all wish to show to all of our members of the military and their families.

A Certificate of Involvement was signed by the Task Force Commander on September 11th of 2011, commemorating the Tenth Anniversary of the "9/11 Attacks." This certificate now accompanies the official documents and the returning American Kang Duk Won school flag. * I am pleased to now have "Chief Warrant Officer 4" Michael Pracht come forward to address Master Robert Lawlor, the Black Belt Instructors, students, and everyone in the audience as the American Kang Duk Won Karate flag completes this significant journey.

Mr Schmitt gives his remarks about the journey of the flag, (given above). CW4 Michael Pracht presents the AKDW flag and the American flag that flew the AKDW flag on the missions and on the flag poles of FOB Salerno base in Afghanistan. Finally Mr. Pracht presents a plaque contaning signed acknowledgment cards from each of the helicopter command pilots of Task Force Tigershark on which the flags were carried, the Tigershark and KDW patches that Mr. Pracht wore while on duty in Afghanistan, and the Certificate of Authenticity signed by the Task Force Commander.

More information can be obtained from:

American Kang Duk Won Karate, P.O. Box 151, Watertown,NY 13601

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