FLYING THE FLAG: Kingaroy RSL President Don Davies and Steve and Terri Gusthart hold aloft an Australian flag their son Danny took to Iraq.
FLYING THE FLAG: Kingaroy RSL President Don Davies and Steve and Terri Gusthart hold aloft an Australian flag their son Danny took to Iraq. Michael Nolan

Wartime flag returns to Kingaroy

EVERY year the Federal Member for Maranoa gives the Kingaroy branch of the RSL about a dozen Australian flags.

Most of these flags are used for the funerals of returned servicemen and women who saw active duty should the family consent to a ceremony with full military honours.

On Friday, August 25 the branch officially received a flag of a different nature.

Months earlier the branch sent the flag to Kingaroy-born Flight Lieutenant Danny Gusthart, who was serving as an Joint Battlefield Airspace Controller for coalition forces in fight against ISIS in Iraq.

His job was to direct aircraft through contested skies and co-ordinate flight missions.

Lt Gusthart gave the flag to an Australian pilot, who took him on a sortie.

His dad, Steve Gusthart said he was proud to return the flag on his son's behalf.

"Dan spent 11 years in the Air Force, joined the Air Force Cadets in high school,” Mr Gusthart said.

"He got into the Air Force Cadets at school and it all took off from there.”

"He wanted to join as a pilot originally, but he had one little fault with a colour in one eye, however they were so impressed with him they asked him back to do the JTAC program.”

Kingaroy RSL President Don Davies said the flag provided a tangible link between the branch and a member serving overseas.

"It's not something that happens all the time,” Mr Davies said.

There are 18 people from Kingaroy currently serving in the armed forces and seven are deployed overseas.

The branch waited until Lt Gusthart finished active duty before going public with the story of the flag for fear he or his family could be targeted by ISIS.

South Burnett


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