Combined Joint Task Force 1
Story by Sgt. Kimberly Browne
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – Eighty nine years after the formal activation of the 1st Cavalry Division, America’s First Team chalked up another first.
June 14 marked the United States Army’s 236th birthday and also set the 30 day mark for the first heavy armored division in Afghanistan.
Throughout the Army, soldiers wear a unit designator known as a patch on their left sleeve. Those that have spent time on a combat deployment will don that patch on their right sleeve. However, this ceremony was not only for division troopers; the CAV also inducted sister service members along with French, Polish and Canadian partners as 1st Cavalry Division combat veterans.
“For some of us this is the first opportunity to emblazon our right shoulder with a combat patch,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Dan Allyn, commander of Regional Command-East. “For others, the 1st Cavalry Division patch will respectfully replace a patch earned on another battlefield amongst friends and comrades from another time.”
Over 300 service members stood at attention for the biggest patch in the Army on their right shoulder.
“From Luzon to Pusan to Khe Sanh to Baghdad and now Bagram… Every soldier standing in formation today is now a part of that storied history,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jeremy Siegrist, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Cav. Div.
Col. and Mrs. Dorcy, then with the 7th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Bliss, Texas, designed the patch in 1921. Seeing a trooper riding his mount at sunset gave the patch its bright yellow color and the thoroughbred the trooper was riding gave the patch its blue-black outside color. The blue was later replaced by black to symbolize iron and armor. The black stripe, termed a "Sable Bend," represents a "baldric" (a standard Army issue belt worn over the right shoulder to the opposite hip - sometimes referred to as a "Sam Browne belt") which retains either a casing which sheaths the trooper's saber or revolver holster.
“Today is the first time the Baldric, Shield and Horse’s head will be awarded for combat service in Afghanistan,” Allyn said. “Wear it with pride, Cavalry troopers!”
With their new CAV combat patch firmly in place, service members within ears reach were talked about the pride in donning the 1st Cavalry Division’s patch as a combat patch.
“It was a great honor to be a part of this ceremony,” said U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Charlie David. “To be commander of troops and lead a unique formation of soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines was an honor.”