HomeNewsFeatures

MHAFB welcomes Flat Stanley

Logan Long smiles after opening his package he received back from U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Karren Gantt, 366th Fighter Wing career assistant advisor, Feb. 28, 2013. Gantt and fellow Gunfighters gave Stanley and Logan many gifts to have in memory of Stanley’s trip to Mountain Home Air Force Base. (Courtesy photo)

Logan Long smiles after opening his package he received back from U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Karren Gantt, 366th Fighter Wing career assistant advisor, Feb. 28, 2013. Gantt and fellow Gunfighters gave Stanley and Logan many gifts to have in memory of Stanley’s trip to Mountain Home Air Force Base. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Karren Gantt, 366th Fighter Wing career assistant advisor, and Tech. Sgt. Christopher Aguilar, 366th Fighter Wing first term airman’s center noncommissioned officer-in-charge, hold Flat Stanley while posing for a photo Feb. 12, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Gantt was Stanley’s host during their escapade of Idaho. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Karren Gantt, 366th Fighter Wing career assistant advisor, and Tech. Sgt. Christopher Aguilar, 366th Fighter Wing first term airman’s center noncommissioned officer-in-charge, hold Flat Stanley while posing for a photo Feb. 12, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Gantt was Stanley’s host during their escapade of Idaho. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Geoff Weimer, 366th Fighter Wing command chief, poses with Flat Stanley Feb. 12, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Flat Stanley is a class project typically geared toward second graders. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Geoff Weimer, 366th Fighter Wing command chief, poses with Flat Stanley Feb. 12, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Flat Stanley is a class project typically geared toward second graders. (Courtesy photo)

Pictured is a letter which accompanied Flat Stanley on his journey to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Karren Gantt, 366th Fighter Wing career assistant advisor, used the letter to show Gunfighters Stanley’s purpose. (Courtesy photo)

Pictured is a letter which accompanied Flat Stanley on his journey to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Karren Gantt, 366th Fighter Wing career assistant advisor, used the letter to show Gunfighters Stanley’s purpose. (Courtesy photo)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The smallest distinguished visitor to ever venture MHAFB arrived here Feb. 12 via first class... first-class mail that is.

Flat Stanley's journey to Mountain Home began when nine-year old Logan Long of Supply, N.C., received an assignment from his second-grade teacher.

Flat Stanley is a community project typically geared toward second graders. Children create their "Flat Stanley or Stella" and send it out to anyone who is willing to document their journey with their new acquaintance.

In this instance, Logan's Stanley was sent to Master Sgt. Karren Gantt, 366th Fighter Wing career assistance advisor, via a mutual friend of Gantt and Erica Long, Logan's mother.

"I thought that it would be a fun project and I was honored that Flat Stanley was being sent to Idaho," said Gantt.

At first, some Gunfighters didn't know how to react to Stanley.

Most of the time their reaction was, "Flat what?", that is, until Gantt explained the significance of the tiny traveler.

"This Flat Stanley is from a little boy named Logan," she said. "Logan has no idea his Flat Stanley left the state, let alone has ventured as far from home as Idaho."

After Gantt explained the project, Gunfighters jumped at the chance to participate.

"People were holding Stanley's hand, firefighters were putting him in their pockets - it was a really fun experience," Gantt said. "It goes to show we are all family regardless of our differences."

More than 85 Gunfighters collaborated to make this project a success. Several squadrons donated items such as coins, patches, pencils for the class, and a MHAFB t-shirt for Stanley to take home to Logan.

"I thought that it was an excellent opportunity for kids to do and learn about parts of the country they might never visit," said Chasity Logan, 366 Fighter Wing commander's secretary. "The Gunfighter has a significant place in history and it is vital that today's generation be a part of it."

Once the flat friend's escapade was over he and the donated souvenirs were returned to sender in a much larger package than in which he left. The Long family was overwhelmed with emotion when they opened the package and saw the effort MHAFB personnel put into the project.

"To have that many adults involved in a second grader's project, was truly amazing," Erica Long said. "The Airmen really put their all into the project." Said Logan's mother, Erica. "It was a really special gesture for Logan. He was able to experience such an awesome trip through Stanley."

Logan was especially excited.

"Once I saw all the cool things Stanley did, I think it would have been really cool if we would have gone to Idaho together," Logan said. "The project turned out really good, my classmates thought it was pretty cool!"