CAMP PHOENIX, Afghanistan – With a quick slap to their right shoulder over 300 Soldiers from the oldest field artillery regiment in the U. S. Army stuck the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team patch onto their uniform, May 28, 2010.
In a play on time and dates, May 28, 2010 was the 101st day since the 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery had stepped foot in Afghanistan. The ceremony took place at exactly 1636 hours in remembrance of the year the regiment was established.
The “combat patch ceremony” is a time honored tradition dating back to the Revolutionary War. Soldiers who serve in a combat zone for more than 30 days are authorized to place their unit patches on their right shoulder. The Army is the only military service that authorizes a Soldier to wear the unit patch of a wartime element on their uniform. The patch solidifies the Soldier’s status as a combat veteran.
Lt. Col. James Hally, commander, 1-101 FA said, “For most Soldiers the Combat Patch is a symbol that you did your part, that you answered the call to duty to protect freedom and democracy for all Americans.”
The patch symbolizes a bond to the 86th IBCT, to Operation Enduring Freedom and is a visible statement of shared commitment, value and hardship.
The 101st FA was organized on Dec. 13, 1636 in Boston and has defended the United States through various colonial wars, the Revolutionary War, WWI, WWII, OIF and now OEF. The 1-101 FA has recently served in Bosnia, Iraq and now Afghanistan. The regimental colors carry three unit award streamers and 46 campaign streamers.
“For the rest of my military career when I put on this uniform and look to the patch on my right arm I will remember our time we served here in Afghanistan together,” Hally said.
The 86th IBCT unit patch is an updated version of an older Vermont National Guard patch. The original patch was in the shape of a shield and it included the colors red, white, and blue, featuring a white buck’s head. The red and the blue symbolized the artillery and the infantry. A white letter “V” stood for Vermont. The modern patch is a rectangle with a mountain tab. The colors represent the three combat arms branches within the brigade; scarlet for the field artillery, yellow for the cavalry and blue to symbolize the infantry.