[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                          May 8, 2009
Mobilization

Engineer unit holds new patch ceremony

Photos and story by Tom Michele, The Real McCoy Contributor

Photo: A Soldier with the 844th Engineer Battalion places the new 926th Engineer Brigade patch on his uniform during the patch ceremony. (Photo by Tom Michele)
A Soldier with the 844th Engineer Battalion places the new 926th Engineer Brigade patch on his uniform during the patch ceremony.

Slapping a Velcro-backed major unit patch on the left sleeve of a Soldier’s Army Combat Uniform is a simple task and procedure. It takes about 10 seconds and is an occasional task for many Soldiers.

This task took a more significant turn at a ceremony on the Fort McCoy parade field when six engineer units had about 800 Soldiers slap on the 926th Engineer Brigade patch, all at the same time.

It was while the six units were side-by-side in formation and the order, "Change patch," was given.

The sight and sound of every Soldier using their left hand to open their left breast pocket and their right hand pulling out the new 926th patch and slapping it, neatly and squarely, of course, on their left sleeve, took all of 10 seconds.

It took a little while longer to get to that order. The 844th Engineer Battalion of Knoxville, Tenn., the parent unit of the six units, hosted the event. At their sides were the 655th Engineer Platoon of San Antonio, 808th Engineer Company of Houston, 961st Engineer Company of Sharonville, Ohio, 375th Engineer Company of Huntsville, Ala., and 321st Engineer Detachment, also of Knoxville.

Photo: Capt. Joe Ronca, Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander of the 844th, renders a salute during a pass-and-review ceremony as part of the patch ceremony. (Photo by Tom Michele)
Capt. Joe Ronca, Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander of the 844th, renders a salute during a pass-and-review ceremony as part of the patch ceremony.

All are Army Reserve units. The 844th is training to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The units are being aligned under Task Force 844 for the deployment. The 926th patch has a scarlet saltire (a bearing like a St. Andrews Cross, formed by a bend and a bend sinister crossing) Cross of St. Andrew of the Alabama State Flag with four white squares around the cross highlighting the engineers’ missions of mobility, counter-mobility, survivability and sustainment. The gold castle tower is adapted from the Corps of Engineers.

Lt. Col. Adam Roth, 844th commander, said, "The unity of purpose at Fort McCoy is unquestionable. The pomp of the actual ceremony has exposed many Army Reserve Soldiers to functions not normally encountered in a typical Army Reserve career. Many of the older noncommissioned officers-in-charge have come to me in the days after the ceremony saying they haven’t seen such a ceremony since they were at a division change of command."

Photo: Flame, smoke and a bang salute the states of the units involved in the patching ceremony. (Photo by Tom Michele)
Flame, smoke and a bang salute the states of the units involved in the patching ceremony.

"Hey, this was our birthday. It was a great way to celebrate what we are doing and what we have to do," he said.

Roth added, "The technical training that we have yet to accomplish at Fort McCoy, in conjunction with our partners at the 181st Infantry Brigade and the Fort McCoy Garrison, has set conditions for what is truly a remarkable exercise where each engineer Soldier and Soldiers with other military occupational specialties will have the opportunity to train in their skills prior to actually employing those skill sets as we move into theater. 

The feedback from our gaining unit in-theater is that we are on track, and we could not have done it without our partners at Fort McCoy."

 

[ Top of Page ]

[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]