Saturday, June 6, 2009
As of 0900 yesterday morning, all the soldiers in our unit are authorized to wear a combat patch. This is a patch worn on the right sleeve and is the unit you served in combat with. The left sleeve is the patch for the unit to which you are currently assigned. So I and many of my fellow soldiers have the same patch on our left and right sleeves. If a soldier has been in combat with more than one unit, he or she can pick which unit is on the right sleeve.
Many people have multiple deployments and tend to put the coolest patch or their favorite unit on their right sleeve. A few of the mechanics in our unit have been deployed with 82nd or 101st Airborne and wear those patches instead of the our Keystone patch. When I went to my most recent Army training school, one of the instructors was a female generator mechanic who was taken from her unit in Afghanistan and deployed to another country which she could not even name with a Special Forces unit. She is entitled to wear a Green Beret patch--and did.
How proud are some soldiers of their combat patch. One of my teammates when I was on Green Mountain Cyclery of Ephrata was a soldier who had served in the 2nd Armored Division during the first Gulf War. He had a scale replica of the "Hell on Wheels" patch (Patton's division) tattooed on his right shoulder in exactly the spot where the combat patch would be on his uniform.
Our Keystone patch is all red when it is on the dress uniform. Because 28th Division units had so many casualties in previous wars, the red Keystone is also called the Bloody Bucket. It is only a historical reference now.