Dec. 16, 2010

29th ID Soldiers in Afghanistan conduct combat patch ceremony 

By Lt. Col. Tim Donnellan
29th Infantry Division Public Affairs

KABUL, Afghanistan — Members of the 29th Infantry Division from the Maryland and Virginia National Guard on federal active duty in Afghanistan conducted a combat patch ceremony in Kabul Dec. 9, recognizing their deployment to a combat zone.

  Staff Sgt. Ryan Yancey holds the 29th Infantry Division combat flag while Sgt. Maj. Ricky Edmonds uncases the colors as part of the Relief in Place ceremony in Kabul held Dec. 9. (Photo by Lt. Col. Tim Donnellan, 29th Infantry Division)

Staff Sgt. Ryan Yancey holds the 29th Infantry Division combat flag while Sgt. Maj. Ricky Edmonds uncases the colors as part of the Relief in Place ceremony in Kabul held Dec. 9. (Photo by Lt. Col. Tim Donnellan, 29th Infantry Division)

The historic event followed a relief in place ceremony in which the 29th officially took over the Security Partnering mission in Afghanistan from the Vermont Army National Guard.

Col. William O’Neil, director of Security Partnering, “slapped on” the first combat patch to the right arm of Sgt. Maj. Ricky Edmonds. O’Neil  then repeated the presentation to Col. Marco Harris, Col. Michael Kristian, Col. Thomas Morgan, and Col. Paul Griffin.  Once presented with the shoulder sleeve insignia, these officers went one-by-one placing the 29th Infantry Division patch on their Soldiers’ right arm.

“29 Let’s Go!” said O’Neil as he addressed the formation. The motto has been used for the 29th ID since World War II.

“I am proud to wear a combat patch from a Virginia unit. So many combat patches are from other units, I am glad this one belongs to Virginia,” said Maj. John Winkler.

According to U.S. Army regulations, Soldiers are authorized to wear a shoulder sleeve insignia for wartime service on their right arm to symbolize their deployment in a combat zone. The combat patch is worn under the American Flag to show the unit in which they served under while deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism. The unit patch for NATO is worn on the left arm to show the current assignment of the 29th Infantry Division. 

  Col. Paul Griffin congratulates Sgt. 1st Class John Allen on receiving the 29th Infantry Division combat patch as part of the Relief in Place Ceremony held in Kabul Dec. 9. (Photo by Lt. Col. Tim Donnellan, 29th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

Col. Paul Griffin congratulates Sgt. 1st Class John Allen on receiving the 29th Infantry Division combat patch as part of the Relief in Place Ceremony held in Kabul Dec. 9. (Photo by Lt. Col. Tim Donnellan, 29th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

The 29th Infantry Division shoulder patch is a half-blue, half-gray Chinese yin yang. The uniting of the blue and grey symbolizes how the division was composed of units from the Confederate and Union armies during the American Civil War.

As part of the ceremony, the color guard unfurled the 29th Infantry Division combat flag.  This represents the first deployment of an element of the 29th Infantry Division Headquarters into a combat zone since the unit’s deployment during World War II.

The Soldiers of  the 29th began federal active duty Nov. 1 and will remain in Afghanistan until late next fall. The Soldiers are part of what was formerly known as the Afghanistan National Security Assistance Development Team and now goes by the new name of Security Partnering.

The mission will be to provide subject matter expertise and conduct training and assessment of Afghan National Security Forces.

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