Honoring “students, faculty and fallen comrades of Ouachita Baptist University” who have served in the U.S. military, U.S. Army Maj. Johnpaul Arnold presented an American flag flown in Afghanistan to Ouachita’s School of Humanities during an outdoor ceremony on campus June 7.
Maj. Arnold , a 1994 Ouachita graduate with a major in mass communications, is a U.S. Army public affairs officer stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash.
Introducing Maj. Arnold to the crowd gathered for the ceremony, Dr. Jeff Root, dean of the School of Humanities, said, “As a professor, you want all of your students to do well and you want to help prepare them to do well.
“While he was a student, JP was very much committed to the ROTC program and very much committed to the military,” Dr. Root added. “We knew he was going to make his contribution there and he has very much done that. He has served two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. He has come today to give us a very special gift, a flag flown in Afghanistan.”
During his military service, Maj. Arnold has been awarded two Bronze Star Medals, a Defense Meritorious Service Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medals, a NATO Medal and a Combat Action Badge.
Noting that he “always wanted to give something back” to his alma mater, Maj. Arnold said he was presenting the flag “not just for the current, active duty service members, but for the veterans and also our fallen comrades.” He specifically referenced Capt. Christopher D. Dunaway and 1st Lt. Pryor L. Wheat, Ouachita graduates who died in military service.
During the flag presentation ceremony held at Ouachita’s International Flag Plaza, Arnold was joined by his father, Bill Arnold, a Vietnam veteran, and Maj. Duane Green, a training officer with the Ouachita Baptist University-Henderson State University ROTC, in raising the flag over campus. Maj. Arnold’s mother, Sharon Arnold, played “The Star-Spangled Banner” as members of the military, ROTC and guests saluted the flag.
Presenting the flag to Dr. Root, Maj. Arnold said, “On behalf of the active duty service members, veterans and in honor of the fallen comrades of Ouachita Baptist University, I present this flag to the Ouachita Baptist University School of Humanities. Thank you for what you’ve done for us and we want to give back to you.”
“This flag will be on display in the School of Humanities, the home of Maj. Arnold’s major while he was at Ouachita,” Dr. Root responded. “We appreciate the Arnold family and especially Maj. Arnold for the work he is doing and has done and the fact that he has remained so connected to his alma mater here at Ouachita.”
By Trennis Henderson, OBU Vice President for Communications