News: Sustainers earn combat patch
Story by Maj. Jared Auchey
NEW KABUL COMPOUND, Afghanistan - This Memorial Day weekend, Soldiers of the 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) marked their deployment to Afghanistan, May 24, by receiving their combat patch during a ceremony here.
Brig. Gen. Donnie Walker Jr., the 3rd ESC’s commanding general, presented the Soldiers with their patches as they officially became a part of the command’s history.
Walker said that “the combat patch represents the warrior spirit. It shows that not only did you volunteer to serve your country, but you did so during a time of war. You volunteered to go into a foreign land and put yourself in harm’s way. And 99 percent of Americans will never experience first-hand what you have.”
The combat patch has a rich history and significance to those authorized to wear them. But something similar to those authorized to wear them is the sense of accomplishment pride in their unit.
“The combat patch ceremony helps bring a unit together with a sense of pride and unity, which is important as we continue on through our deployment.” said Capt. Adam Vogel, the 3rd ESC's Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander and Georgetown, Ohio, native.
The history of the Soldier Sleeve Insignia dates back to 1918, during World War I, when the 81st Division sailed for France with a Panther patch on their shoulder and has since become a historical Army tradition. The wearing of patches in general was important and began out of a necessity for leaders and Soldiers to identify their troops.
Over the years, this system evolved and eventually led to patches being worn on the left and right shoulders of the uniform, allowing proud veterans to display their unit patches as symbols of prior campaigns and battles.
Worn on the right should of the U.S. Army uniform, the combat patch symbolizes a Soldier's past or active participation in wartime service.
“Combat patches symbolize a brotherhood of serving in harm’s way when the nation and our Army calls upon you,” said Lee Priest, aviation maintenance manager with the 3rd ESC and a Brooklyn, New York, native. “I also feel that it represents shared experiences with other combat veterans.”
The 3rd ESC’s shoulder insignia has proud tradition and history of honors, which date back to the 3rd Logistical Command, which was activated in Japan on Sept. 19, 1950, for service in Korea. The 3rd ESC has repeatedly answered our nation’s call participating in campaigns to Korea, France, Germany, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan represented in the command’s proud history.
The 3rd ESC shoulder sleeve insignia is comprised of three blue arrows pointing outwards that represents the command’s numerical designation and mission to provide combat support wherever it’s needed. The arrows and arrowheads are symbols frequently used in U.S. Army insignia designs because they represent items used in warfare and defense. The red circle outlining the 3rd ESC patch signifies the never-ending valor and courage of its Soldiers. The white field represents purity and dedication.
The 3rd ESC is serving as the single sustainment mission command managing the remainder of the retrograde of equipment and sustaining the train, advise and assist mission.