Huntington Station, NY - June 22, 2015 - US Air Force Staff Sergeant Zachary K. Taillie, upon returning from a tour of duty in the Middle East on June 20, will surprise the students from Maplewood Intermediate School in Huntington Station, NY he has been corresponding with and present an honorary American flag flown in combat to one special 10 year old who wants to be a Navy Seal on Wednesday June 24, 2015 at 10 AM.
Just five days after completing a tour of duty at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, SSgt. Taillie will be in uniform to:
- Surprise his pen pals and meet them in person
- Watch a PowerPoint presentation from 10 year old Domenick Pastore who wants to be a Navy Seal
- Surprise Domenick by presenting an American flag flown into combat over Irag in Dom’s honor and a certificate signed by the US B-1 bomber flight team.
Students in grades 3-5 at from Maplewood Intermediate have been exchanging letters, drawings, Valentines and care packages with SSgt. Taillie, who has been stationed in Qatar, since January. The kids will present their last letters and drawings to SSgt.Taillie in person when they meet.
The students have been inspired by a real-world application for their communications. Since they began corresponding, the children have learned to:
- Compose written letters, increasingly a lost art
- Use computers and Ipads to create emails and insert photos and emoticons
- Create heartfelt drawings designed to bring some sunshine to SSgt Taillie and the men and women of the Qatar Air Force base
- Receive answers to their many questions about what it is like in Qatar, what SSgt Taillie does and where he lives on base.
SSgt. Taillie developed a very personal relationship with Domenick who wrote Taillie that he wants to become a Navy Seal. Here is SSgt. Taillie’s inspirational response:
Domenick - I think your dream of becoming a Navy SEAL is awesome! It is hard to get in but if you work really hard to get good grades, you will be able to make it.
SSgt.Taillie then asked a U.S. Air Force B-1 Bomber flight team to fly an American flag on a combat mission over Iraq in Dom’s honor.
SSgt. Taillie will be surprising Dom when he presents the flag and certificate during his visit on 6/24.
Zachary K Taillie, Staff Sgt, USAF
- Stationed at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar since January 2015
- Just completed his second tour of duty June 20, 2015
- Air Force National Guard
- 25 Years Old from Liverpool, NY (suburb of Syracuse)
- BS degree from SUNY-Cortland 2014
- Special education teacher for 25+ years
- Creates real-world projects that teach practical skills
- Set up the pen pal relationships between her students at Countrywood Primary Center (K-2) and Maplewood Intermediate School (grades 3-5) and SSgt. Taillie.