Photo Information

Cpl. John A. Galvan, an assistant squad leader with Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Company, 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion, drew his unit logo poster for his tents as a show of unit pride when the company first got to Marjah. This led to Galvan painting two Afghan flags with a sponge, Q-tips and his fingers.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Benjamin Crilly

Marine paints his way into Afghanistan history

8 Sep 2010 | Lance Cpl. Benjamin Crilly

When Cpl. John A. Galvan painted the 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion logo, he was not thinking about contributing to the history of Afghanistan.

"I drew a 3rd Tracks logo poster for our tents as a unit pride thing when we first got to Marjah," said Galvan, "Col. Newman saw it, he liked it and he asked me if I could paint the Afghan flag as a favor to the governor."

The assistant squad leader with Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Company, 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion, cut the garrison-sized flag out of plywood. Galvan’s tools were a sponge, Q-tips and his fingers.

"I mixed [the colors] with oil because I was running out of paint," said Galvan, from Santa Rosa, Texas.

The white parts of the Afghan flag, the mosque and the words, were done with white corrective fluid, because they didn’t have any white paint, said Galvan, a Santa Rosa High School graduate.

Four days later, Galvan, who has been drawing since he was six years old, had painted a garrison-sized flag on piece of plywood.

"I painted one and the governor liked it, and he asked me if I could paint another one so he could put it on the other side of the government center," said Galvan.

The two flags now hang off the north and south sides of the Marjah District Center. When Galvan’s company leaves Marjah, one of the flags will remain at the district center, while the other will be moved to a museum in Kabul to become a permanent part of Afghan history.

"It’s really nice knowing later on in the future, my son can look back and say ‘Hey, my dad did that,’" said Galvan. "It’s pretty cool to be a part of history.

"It’s nice to actually be acknowledged for something that you did from people who don’t even know who you are," said Galvan. "Knowing that you are contributing in that fact is nice."