By: Capt. Richard Barker<br /> 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs<br /> <br /> KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (Task Force Wings), presented soldiers who are deployed for the first time with their 25th Infantry Division combat patches during a patch ceremony on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, March 8.<br /> <br /> Soldiers who have been on a combat deployment have the honor of wearing a unit patch on their right sleeve which they earn during their deployments after 30 days on ground.<br /> <br /> “The patch is a rite of passage,” said Capt. Aaron Matthews, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, company commander. “It’s a recognition of their sacrifice to the United States of America for being part of a combat deployment.”<br /> <br /> 25th CAB commander Col. Frank Tate talked to the soldiers following the ceremony to let them know they are now part of an elite club that only one percent of one percent of Americans has the privilege of joining.<br /> <br /> “This was long awaited,” said Spc. Clint Swisher, a signal support systems specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade. “I’m glad to finally be able to wear this patch. I have been in the rear before and always wanted to feel like I was part of the team. Now I do.”<br /> <br /> Headquarters and Headquarters Company is one of several companies in the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade who have conducted similar patch ceremonies over the last few weeks since first arriving in Afghanistan in early January.<br /> <br /> “I feel proud,” said Sgt. Jacqueline Garza, a command group administrative assistant for the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade. “I have been excited to get my patch and feel like I fall in with the rest of my peers.” <br /> <br /> Garza, and the other Headquarters and Headquarters Company soldiers who earned their patch at the ceremony, now fit in with the more than 2,500 deployed 25th Combat Aviation Brigade soldiers who all now wear the same 25th Infantry Division combat patch.