1710th Trans. Co. Soldiers receive combat patches

Lt. Col. Don Gillespie, commander of the Montana Guard's 495th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, presents Capt. Rodney Rhodes, commander of the 1710th Transportation Combat, with the 1889th Regional Support Group patch during a Combat Patch Ceremony held June 26, 2013, at at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Rochelle Krueger, 3rd Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

Lt. Col. Don Gillespie, commander of the Montana Guard’s 495th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, presents Capt. Rodney Rhodes, commander of the 1710th Transportation Combat, with the 1889th Regional Support Group patch during a Combat Patch Ceremony held June 26, 2013, at at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Rochelle Krueger, 3rd Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

SANDSTON, Va. — Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard’s Emporia-based 1710th Transportation Company, 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group received the Shoulder Sleeve Insignia Former Wartime Service, also known as the “combat patch,” to recognize them as combat veterans in a ceremony held June 26, 2013, at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.

Lt. Col. Don Gillespie, commander of the Montana Guard’s 495th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, presented Capt. Rodney Rhodes and 1st Sgt. Frank Mitchell, commander and first sergeant for the 1710th, the 1889th Regional Support Group patch, symbolizing the authorization of all Soldiers assigned to the 1710th to wear it. Rhodes and Mitchell then presented the patch to each member of the company. For many of the Soldiers, it was their first time participating in a Combat Patch Ceremony.

“It shows that the Soldier has made the sacrifice for his or her country,” Rhodes said. “The patch solidifies the personal and professional accomplishments of the Soldier during this time of supporting freedom. It signifies a job well done.

“I have seen the growth and success of these fine Soldiers,” Rhodes said. “I am very proud of them and it is an honor and privilege to serve with them. I am honored to serve with this new command and receiving the authorization to wear their patch proves that we are an Army of one.”

According to Capt. Jennifer Breitbach, master of ceremonies for the event, the U. S. Army is the only military service that authorizes a Soldier to wear the unit patch indicating former wartime service on their uniform. The patch worn on the uniform was based on a unit actively participating in or supporting overseas ground combat operations against hostile forces during which they were exposed to the threat of enemy action or fire, either directly or indirectly, and receive the approval of the Army Chief of Staff.

“Combat Patch Ceremonies first began during the Revolutionary War under General George Washington,” Breitbach said during the ceremony. “Soldiers who had served in a combat zone during a period of active enemy engagement placed their unit patches on their right shoulders to signify their participation in the continued freedom and protection of the liberties for people of the United States of America.”

The 1889th RSG patch symbolism is as follows: The arrowhead and buffalo skull recall Montana’s Native American heritage, and the buff border and scarlet interior are the support branch colors. The two swords of Thomas Meagher raise the Nation’s colors, scarlet and blue, alluding to his famous rally cry, and the inverted red pile creates a smoother, sharper inner arrowhead symbolizing the determination of the group.

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