News: Patch Ceremony Gives Soldiers Bi-Coastal Representation
By 1st Lt. Herbert Karg
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - Soldiers of the 716th Quartermaster Company, 80th Ordnance Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command Expeditionary, celebrated a milestone with a combat patch ceremony marking 90 days in theatre, Feb. 27.
The 716th, out of Jersey City, N.J., was authorized to wear the patch of the 593rd Sustainment Brigade, based out of Fort Lewis, Wash.
The Soldiers assembled in Warehouse 2 of the Joint Base Balad Supply Support Activity. The unit patch is that of the 77th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade headquartered at Fort Dix, N.J. It depicts the Statue of Liberty, and like many units, the patch itself is full of history.
"The patch represents freedom and so much more," said Capt. James Beck, 716th QM Company commander and Butler, Pa., native. "The history behind this patch takes you back to World War I and how the then 77th Infantry Division was a diverse force comprised of immigrants from Manhattan," Beck explained.
The 716th upholds that tradition of diversity with Soldiers representing six nationalities and speaking a total of five different languages fluently.
Diversity is not the only thing that binds the 716th. The unit that has made its way to Iraq is comprised of Soldiers that were cross-leveled under the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) with Soldiers from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia.
Because the unit here is a detachment of the 716th QM Company in Jersey City, the 716th did not use the 77th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade as its combat patch for the ceremony. The unit was authorized to wear the patch of the 593rd Sustainment Brigade, the higher HQ of the 80th Ord. Bat. at Fort Lewis, Wash.
"With Lady Liberty on our left, and the 593rd on the right, our Soldiers are representing both the east and the west coast," said 1st Sgt. Nilsa Davila-Aranda, 716th QM Company first sergeant and Yonkers, N.Y., native.