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|Illinois Guardsmen in Kuwait receive combat patches during ceremony|
|News Releases - Military & Veterans News|
|Written by Sgt. Joshua S. Edwards, 4th Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment|
|Tuesday, 28 August 2012 13:02|
ALI AL SALEM, KUWAIT (08/24/2012)(readMedia)-- Nearly 60 days after arriving in Kuwait 10 Illinois Army National Guardsmen became members of a proud tradition during a right sleeve insignia ceremony at the Army Life Support Area (LSA) post chapel Aug 15.
For most, this was a second and third right sleeve patch awarded, but for one Soldier it was his fourth time, said Maj. Jeff Walden, Theater Gateway deputy director.
"This is my fourth deployment, but first time to have a ceremony." he added. "It reminds you of the importance of the mission."
For Spc. Kaila McConkey, an Arcola, Ill., native, it was the first time in her nearly four-year enlistment to receive the right sleeve patch.
"I feel that becoming a veteran and serving is one of the greatest and most important things that anyone can ever do," said McConkey.
The right sleeve insignia or combat patch was first introduced during WWII. Since that time Soldiers who have deployed to a combat area, or as a combat support element overseas, have earned the privilege and honor of wearing the right sleeve insignia.
"We may be here in a combat support role, but the role here is sending Soldiers into the fight," said Sgt. Maj. Diane Rogers of Girard, Ill., Theater Gateway sergeant major, "I've served in Afghanistan and know what they (Soldiers) are up against."
Col. David L. Jones, 113th Sustainment Brigade commander, attended the ceremony to show his support and add a few words of encouragement.
"Yes, you are a small unit, but your mission is enormous," said Jones. "We are warriors first and logisticians second."
The Illinois Guardsmen are deployed to Kuwait for a nine-month long rotation. Their mission, according to Lt. Col. Natalie Northern of Springfield, Ill., director of the Theater Gateway, is to provide transportation, billeting and accountability for U.S. servicemembers, DoD employees and contractors entering and exiting Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan for deployment, redeployment, rest and recuperation, emergency leave and temporary duty.
Photo caption: Lt. Col. Natalie Northern of Springfield, Theater Gateway director, receives the right sleeve insignia of the 113th Sustainment Brigade from Col. David Jones the 113th Sustainment Brigade commander, at the Army Life Support Area post chapel in Kuwait Aug 15. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joshua S. Edwards)
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