UNION, NJ – As is customary each time a member of their Knights family deploys overseas, the Union Knights of Columbus held a Yellow Ribbon Ceremony Tuesday night in honor of Air Force Fireman Dan Tatge.
Tatge is currently serving in the U.S. Air Force as a fire protection specialist stationed at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware. Next week, he will be deployed to the Middle East. Tatge has been in the Air Force for 3 ½ years; this is his second tour overseas. He expects to be stationed in Kuwait and away for 5-6 months. Tatge spent six months during his first tour in the Middle East serving in Qatar.
“I love my job,” said Tatge. Speaking of his upcoming deployment, he quietly said, “I’ll be back soon.”
A second yellow ribbon hangs on the tree in front of the Union Knights of Columbus in honor of Erik Santiago, who has already been deployed overseas to Kuwait for an extended tour of duty. Erik’s father, Knights member Jose, attended the ceremony and said Erik has been gone a month so far of a two-year tour. “He’s a career soldier,” said Erik’s father. Santiago is stationed out of Fort Gordon in Augusta, GA. “He has three little girls in Georgia,” said Erik’s dad, “but he loves his job. He’s been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and South Korea.”
The Knights of Columbus keep the ribbons on the tree as a reminder to keep these brave military members in thoughts and prayers and to show they are not forgotten by those back home while they are deployed. “When they come back, we take down the ribbon,” said Tatge’s uncle, Knights member Joe Harbison. “That’s a happy day.”