News: Patching Ceremony for the 17th Field Artillery Brigade Headquarters
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- It has been more than a month since the 17th Field Artillery Brigade arrived in Kuwait. While deployed a Soldier becomes eligible to wear a combat patch on his or her right shoulder to commemorate service abroad.
On May 22, the 17th FA Bde., the American Premier HIMARS Brigade (APHB) conducted a Shoulder Sleeve Insignia - Former Wartime Service (SSI-FWTS) commonly known as a combat patching ceremony.
Since deploying, 17th FA Bde. conducted engagements to increase cooperation and extend partnership within the Arabian Gulf region. The 17th FA Bde. reinforces the working relationships that previous units had developed while deployed to the U.S. Army Central Area of Operations (ARCENT A/O) with the same mission.
The history of a combat patch began with the onset of World War II, where the combat patch symbolized which Soldiers had previous deployments and helped senior leaders to place those Soldiers in the right position to lead others through difficult combat operations.
With the 17th FA Bde. combat patch and historical lineage, the unit has a reputation for building strong bonds amongst the Soldiers that have served within its ranks.
“This is the first time that I have had the opportunity to deploy, and it is a great privilege to serve with these hard working Soldiers," said Sgt. Brandon Baldwin before the ceremony.
Unlike previous combat operations, the unit is conducting a much different mission. The 17th FA Bde. is actually conducting engagements at the strategic level to help increase cooperation between the U.S. and the Arabian Gulf nations. However, the 17th FA Bde. stands ready to transition to a tactical mission if the conditions and environment changes.
“It is an honor to be able to lead these Soldiers into combat and be able to say I deployed with a highly motivated unit that is conducting a mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom,” said Capt. Lindsey Patterson, commander of the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 17th FA Bde.
Under Col. Tim Kehoe’s command, many leaders have multiple combat deployments. However, for some Soldiers, this is their first deployment of any kind. For those previously combat tested Soldiers, this deployment to Kuwait is proving to be a much different experience. For some, it is the first time they have worked at the Army Component Command level.
This deployment might be a change for those experienced tactical combat leaders, but as Kehoe stated in his address to the unit, “This mission may be different from what most of us have experienced before, but it does not diminish the importance and the impact that this mission has in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Although we are not directly involved in combat action, the reason we are here is to prevent that from happening. If those conditions change, we will always stand ready to defend our regional partners and to defend America’s national interest abroad.”