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    Iron Dragons get patched

    Iron Dragons get patched

    Photo By Sgt. Ashton Hofmeister | 3-501st Soldiers of the Combat Aviation Brigade receive their combat patch from their...... read more read more

    Trask Force Iron Dragons Soldiers of the Combat Aviation Brigade received their combat patch from their command teams in Afghanistan, Mar. 17, 2019.
    The Soldiers are now able to don the 1st Armored Division on their right sleeve, signifying their deployment with the Combat Aviation Brigade. Lt. Col. Daniel Artino, the Task Force Commander, addressed his troops before giving each soldier their combat patch.
    “You raised your hand and you took a step forward and you said I will defend this country and here you are, and you’re doing it right now. That’s a big deal because not many people have the will to do that,” Artino said. “So, the first thing I want to say is thank you for your service. Thank you for being here, right now.”
    Artino was joined by Task Force Iron Dragons Command Sgt. Maj. Archie Deese and each company’s command team, who helped go through each rank of the formation and patch their Soldiers.
    “You are with your brothers and sisters in arms,” Deese said before patching Soldiers. “You’ll never forget this moment. You’ll never forget this time.”
    For many Soldiers in the formation, like Pfc. Karol Casetellanos and Pfc. Tahjai Gorham, it is their first deployment and the patching marks a significant milestone in their career.
    “It was pretty nerve-wracking at first, I was kind of like, how’s it going to be, how am I going to do over there, mentally, physically, emotionally, and so far, it’s been pretty good,” said Castellanos. “Some days I want to go home, but other than that, some days I am actually proud to be here, and I am glad I am here with my people around me, and my friends, and that’s really what keeps the light in my life is having my friends around me. My commander and first sergeant are great as well. The team is great, so I’m proud of that.”
    “It makes me proud to actually have joined the Army,” said Gorham. “It’s an accomplishment for all of us.”
    Artino held the ceremonies to ensure that his Soldiers understood the importance of receiving the patch and to let them know that their presence and sacrifices do not go unnoticed.
    “This binds you together,” said Artino. “No matter where you’re at for the next 20, 30, 40 years, you’ve got brothers and sisters in arms that shared that sacrifice with you, alight, and that’s why this is a big deal today.”
    While the patch marks a tremendous moment for the Soldiers involved in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, they are empowered by their leadership’s confidence and support.



    Date Taken: 03.30.2019
    Date Posted: 03.30.2019 02:31
    Story ID: 316278
    Location: AF

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