News: Patriot leadership reunited
Story by Sgt. Eric Provost
FORT POLK, La. – After being apart for almost a year, the leadership of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, came back together for the first time April 2, 2014, at Fort Polk’s Warrior Community Center.
Nearly a third of the brigade, about 1,500 Soldiers, recently returned from Afghanistan following a nine-month deployment where they helped advise and assist their counterparts in the Afghan National Security Forces.
The event was part of Patriot Week, 4th Bde’s weeklong homecoming celebration.
“The ceremony was a great way to reintegrate the Patriot Brigade Combat Team’s leadership after the deployment,” said Lt. Col. Kenneth Harrison, commander, 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th BCT, 10th MTN DIV.
The event was also the unit’s first “hatchet holder” call since returning home. Senior leaders throughout the brigade carry the title of hatchet holder and wear a colonial era hatchet on their belt for ceremonial events.
The hatchet is a symbol that holds great meaning for the brigade as “a weapon unique to the American frontier and the physical manifestation of the BCT motto "Forged For War" according to the brigade lineage. It also represents the brigade’s Soldiers infantry heritage. The hatchet was the favored weapon for close combat for American patriots during the Revolutionary War.
“The ceremony is unique because most organizations don’t really do stuff like this,” said Master Sgt. Martin Robinson, human resources noncommissioned officer in charge, 4th BCT, 10th MTN, and new hatchet holder. “You’d meet the senior leadership through actual work instead of bringing everybody together for a big social event. I thought it was a good idea.”
The evening was about unity between the forward and rear portions of the BCT, welcoming back the hatchet holders returning from Afghanistan, but and bringing the new hatchet holders into the fold.
“It gets the newer seniors into the right mindset and I think doing things like this helps build a better team,” said Robinson.
“It was the perfect combination of tradition and ceremony in an atmosphere conducive to relaxing and getting to know the new members of our team,” said Harrison.
In closing, the brigade commander, Col. Mario Diaz, had a few words for his hatchet holders, then the leaders were free to move about the room and catch up with old friends and personally welcome new ones.
“It was great because after the ceremony we were able to walk around and actually talk to people before doing business with them,” said Robinson. “It helps a lot with networking whether it’s a first sergeant at one of the line units or the brigade leadership.”
Coordinators say they thought the event was a success and the participants say they look forward to the next one.