‘Tropic Lightning’ warriors don first combat patch

| January 27, 2011 | 0 Comments
Col. Bjarne Iverson (right), chief of staff, 25th ID, awards “shoulder sleeve insignia-former wartime service,” more commonly known as a combat patch, to a first-time deployed Soldier with 25th ID, during a ceremony at Camp Liberty, Iraq, Jan. 14. (Sgt. 1st Class Krishna Gamble | 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

Col. Bjarne Iverson (right), chief of staff, 25th ID, awards “shoulder sleeve insignia-former wartime service,” more commonly known as a combat patch, to a first-time deployed Soldier with 25th ID, during a ceremony at Camp Liberty, Iraq, Jan. 14. (Sgt. 1st Class Krishna Gamble | 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

25th Infantry Division Public Affairs
News Release

 

BAGHDAD — It wasn’t their first day in the Army, but for some of the 176 Soldiers standing in formation, it was their first combat patch.

Soldiers in the 25th Infantry Division were awarded “shoulder sleeve insignia-former wartime service,” commonly known as a combat patch, Jan. 14, during a ceremony at Camp Liberty, Iraq.

Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Leota, command sergeant major, 25th ID, said that while the division has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan before, this deployment means something special to units of 25th ID Headquarters, as it’s their first time assisting, training and advising Iraqi security forces in building a more stable and secure Iraq.

Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Leota, command sergeant major, 25th ID, places the division's patch onto "Bleckie,” a military working dog, during the division’s combat patch ceremony held at Camp Liberty, Iraq, Jan. 14. (Sgt. 1st Class Krishna Gamble | 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Leota, command sergeant major, 25th ID, places the division’s patch onto “Bleckie,” a military working dog, during the division’s combat patch ceremony held at Camp Liberty, Iraq, Jan. 14. (Sgt. 1st Class Krishna Gamble | 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

“These Soldiers know and understand that what they are doing is making a difference,” he said.

Sgt. 1st Class April Murray, plans and casualty operations noncommissioned officer in charge, 25th ID, said that the gravity of the experience didn’t hit her until after the ceremony.

“It was a most humbling experience, when you think about all the Soldiers who have served and sacrificed so much,” she said.

Pfc. Puakaleihua Westbrooks, protocol specialist, 25th ID, received her first combat patch with her husband, Pfc. David Westbrooks, mechanic, 25th ID.

“This whole experience has been insane,” she said. “We’ve been together more than two years, (though) it will be our first year married in May. We joined (the Army) together, got stationed together out of (Advanced Individual Training), deployed together and now this.”

“Tropic Lightning” Soldiers arrived at Camp Liberty, December 2010, for a 12-month deployment to support Operation New Dawn’s advise and train mission.

“Since 1933, the 25th ID has made significant contributions in every conflict, and you are now a visible part of those accomplishments,” said Maj. Gen. Bernard Champoux, commanding general, 25th ID. “We’re going to ask a lot of you … and I know every man and woman here is up to the challenge.

“I am very proud of you,” he said.

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Category: Deployed Forces, News

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