News: 3rd ESC soldiers receive combat patches
Story by Staff Sgt. Michael Behlin
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – After 30 days in country, soldiers of the 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) marked their deployment to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, May 17, by receiving their combat patch during a ceremony here.
Brig. Gen. Kristin K. French, the 3rd ESC’s commanding general, presented the soldiers with their patches as they officially became a part of command’s history. French said that she was proud and excited to present the soldiers of the 3rd ESC with their combat patches.
The combat patch has a rich history and different meanings to those authorized to wear them. But something similar to those authorized to wear them, is the sense of pride and accomplishment they bring.
“There’s a lot of history dealing with the awarding of combat patches to those serving in combat zones,” said 1st Sgt. Keevin Fields, the 3rd ESC’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company senior non-commissioned officer. “To all of us who have served, the combat patch has many different meanings, but it’s always rewarding to award a young soldier his/her combat patch.”
The history of the combat patch dates back to the Civil War 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.
Because of this, soldiers devised a system that each corps would wear a distinctive patch on top of their hats. When identification became an issue because of injuries or lost hats, the system was revised to include the patches on the uniform.
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 soldiers past or active participation in wartime service.
“Receiving a combat patch is a big accomplishment for me because everyone can’t be in the military, and everyone can’t deploy and withstand the things that you have to go through in order to get a patch,” said Pfc. Stephan Humes, an executive administrative assistant and Kinston, N.C., native. “I feel that it represents something I could always tell my children about and wear even after I retire.”
The 3rd ESC’s shoulder insignia represents a long history for the command which includes participation in every Operation Iraqi Freedom rotation since 2003 and in Afghanistan as part of several rotations of Operation Enduring Freedom. Campaigns to Korea, France, Germany and the Balkans are represented in the command’s proud history.
Comprised of three blue arrows pointing outwards, representing 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.