CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Gathering the Soldiers of the 1161st Transportation Company from Ephrata, Wash., who fall under the 419th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, was not an easy task considering the mission at hand.
On Aug. 29, the company was able to bring together many of the Soldiers for a much anticipated ceremony to receive the 10th SB's patch to wear on their right shoulder as a combat patch.
"I was in a non-deployable unit before; I joined the 1161st so that I would be able to deploy and have the honor of wearing a combat patch. I am really excited to have the 10th Sustainment Brigade's on my right shoulder," said Spc. Michelle Kickland, a native of Richland, Wash. and transportation specialist for the 1161st.
The company is comprised not only of Soldiers from the 1161st but also the 1041st Trans. Co. out of Spokane, Wash. and a number of Inactive Ready Reserve Soldiers. The unit arrived to Iraq in May and immediately was required to send one platoon to Victory Base Complex. 1st platoon was chosen to support the mission at Victory. 1st Platoon falls under the 620th CSSB, 10th SBDE.
The 419th Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Kristan Hericks, from Irvine, Calif., requested that the 1161st receive the 10th SBDE combat patch. The 1161st commander, Capt. Leslie Jines, who hails from Selah, Wash, also pushed for this, arguing, "I want the entire unit, the 1161st and the 1041st combined, to be able to wear the same combat patch when we go home; it will aid in unit cohesiveness. We want to have a part in the lineage and history of the 10th SB."
The ceremony began with the singing of the National Anthem, then as Lt. Col. Hericks walked through the formation and applied the insignia patch to each Soldier's sleeve, a brief history of the 10th SB was recited. After all the Soldiers received their combat patch, Hericks gave a speech about what it means to receive the brigade's patch. The ceremony ended with a few words from the brigade's command sergeant major.
Command Sgt. Maj. Allen G. Fritzsching, from Houston, stated, "Through the combat patch, you are now bonded as a band of brothers and sisters. You are now written into the history of the 10th Sustainment Brigade. I am very proud of what it stands for." The 10th SBDE supports the largest land area in Iraq and more than 110,000 personnel.
"I feel there is a lot of history and prestige in the 10th Sustainment Brigade. I am going to wear the patch with pride and honor," said Sgt. Mathew Lathrop, an operations sergeant for the 1161st and a native of Bellingham, Wash.
The 1161st is only the third non-Fort Drum unit to ever receive the 10th Sustainment Brigade combat patch.