By Michael Behlin
3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq – Soldiers of the 304th Sustainment Brigade officially marked their deployment by receiving their combat patch during a ceremony Dec. 24, 2008.
Lt. Col. Norman Green, commander of the 304th Sust. Bde., presided over the ceremony in which Soldiers donned the 304th Sust. Bde. patch on their right shoulder.
"The mission of my brigade is to sustain coalition forces through transportation, contracting and help train the Iraqi security forces," said Green, a native of Columbia, S.C. "What we want to accomplish while we're here is not only to continue to provide support at a high level, but also improve the proficiency of the overall logistical posture here in theater."
The 304th Sust . Bde. activated on Sept. 16, 2008 at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Calif. Green mentioned upon activation that his unit had a month to mobilize and get acquainted with one another.
Although Green stated there was only a short time-frame to get Soldiers ready to deploy, he is pleased with their performance so far.
"I'm very proud of my unit considering we only had a month to mold them together as a team," said Green. "We mostly have a young team, but they have the motivation to achieve anything. It all goes along with our unit motto - 'Bridge the gap, sustain the force' - because anything out there that other units can't do, my unit can."
The brigade is one of 35 in the Army reconfigured to support the Army' s rapidly changing combat and support structure. The brigade's expeditionary capability allows it to rapidly deploy anywhere in the world, open and operate air and sea ports, establish a theater distribution system and provide sustained logistics support to the Warfighter in a joint, interagency and multinational environment.
The shoulder sleeve insignia of the 304th Sust. Bde. represents a rich history that includes many important pillars of the sustainment brigades. Consisting of a bridge with a river flowing underneath, the patch has many symbols that embody sustainment operations.
On the insignia, the color blue symbolizes honor and highlights the units call to duty. The bridge symbolizes strong support, with the seven stones on top representing the seven Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. The river, which flows in the shape of an "S", represents the missions of sustainment, service and support, which govern the task and purpose of the unit.
The combat patch, which is worn on the right shoulder of an U.S. Army uniform, symbolizes past or active participation in wartime service. The wearing of a combat patch also signifies a Soldiers participation in the continued freedom and protection of the liberties for the people of the United States of America.
This work, 304th Sustainment Brigade Soldiers earn combat patch, by SSG Michael Behlin, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.