Steelers flag flies over Iraq
As someone who set up free Internet cafes that allowed U.S. soldiers to contact their families from Iraq, Justin Burtosky enjoyed a job that brought smiles to the troops during breaks in combat.
When the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII, the 33-year-old from Ligonier commemorated the occasion by flying a flag adorned with the team's helmet at the highest point of Camp Taji, just north of Baghdad, where elements of a Pennsylvania National Guard brigade were stationed.
"The base is full of people from Pennsylvania, and it was a party for the Super Bowl," said Burtosky, who was embedded there for three years while working as a satellite communications and IT specialist for a military defense contractor. "A lot of soldiers saw that and it really lifted morale."
It was especially uplifting, Burtosky said, because of the rarity of the occasion. And he wasn't talking about the Steelers' Super Bowl victory.
Burtosky has special plans for the flag that flew over Iraq a year ago today.
"What I want to do is present it to the organization to commemorate their win," Burtosky said. "That's my intention, to give it to the Steelers, because this isn't ever done."
When the Steelers won their AFC Divisional playoff game against San Diego last year, Burtosky ordered the flag and promised to fly it if they won their sixth Super Bowl. When they beat the Arizona Cardinals on Santonio Holmes' last-minute touchdown catch, he received permission to fly the flag atop the three-story garrison command.
"Aside from the giant microwave towers, the buildings don't get higher than this," Burtosky said. "No flags are flown atop the mast; state flags for Reserves and National Guard are flown, but not above the top of building. Most flags don't fly higher than buildings. It was pretty cool to see."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Keisel dresses, but doesn’t play
- Distracted Steelers show nothing in loss to Eagles
- Starkey: Stupid Steelers
- It’s only exhibition, but these Steelers could solidify roster spots vs. Eagles
- Steelers running backs Bell, Blount will face drug charges
- Commitment by Steelers’ Gilbert pays off
- Rossi: Blount brings back Steelers’ swagger
- Run game not primary focal point for Steelers
- Steelers believe Wheaton ready to step in as No. 2 receiver
- Steelers notebook: Polamalu not concerned with being old man among safeties
- Steelers re-sign Keisel to bolster depth on defensive line