MMA Boy Scout builds flag retirement facility

Junior Robert Walter III completes legacy Eagle Scout Service Project

Flag Retirement Cadet Walter

The Harlingen-area community now has a place to retire worn American flags thanks to the vision and sweat of an Eagle Scout candidate.

Marine Military Academy junior Robert Walter III of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, finished building a flag retirement facility April 27. It is located behind the Iwo Jima Monument on the MMA campus, near the gravesite of South Texan and World War II hero Cpl Harlon Block. Walter, a Troop 22 Boy Scout, built the flag retirement facility for his Eagle Scout Service Project.

The facility consists of a brick patio with four benches and stone pit in the center. The project took Walter and a team of 16 fellow Boy Scouts three full months to complete, totaling 417 man hours. After Memorial Day, people and organizations will now have a formal place to burn United States flags that are tattered or faded or no longer suitable for display. All they need to do is contact MMA to schedule the day and time.

Walter hopes the public will take full advantage of the flag retirement facility.

“I hope people will use it,” Walter said. “Harlingen doesn’t have anything else like this. I hope it will benefit the people of the community.”

Walter realized the public needed a flag retirement facility during the 2014 Veterans Day Parade at MMA. For his Communications merit badge, the Boy Scout coordinated a flag retirement ceremony after the parade. Parade-goers were able to take strips of deteriorated American flags and place them in burning metal barrels. After the event, as the barrels were being taken away, Walter thought of the idea to build something permanent.

Now that the flag retirement facility is complete, Walter is extremely proud of his “legacy” project.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind project. It’s something that should last for decades,” he said. “I hope the community will be as proud of it as much as I am. I also hope MMA is proud of it.”

For his project, Walter relied on the guidance and expertise of Troop 22 Scout Master SgtMaj James Poe and Assistant Scout Master Steve Gerber. He also counted on the muscle and dedication of his team.

For more information or to schedule a day and time to use the flag retirement facility, contact the MMA Facilities department at (956) 421-9244 or