298th SMC receives combat patch

Story by Pfc. David T. Christian
Photo by Sgt. Jonathan Jivan
298th Support Maintenance Company
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Soldiers with the 298th Support Maintenance Company, 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), out of Altoona, Pa., received the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) shoulder sleeve insignia-former wartime service May 15 in a ceremony here.

The ceremony awarding the SSI-FWTS, or combat patch, a tradition dating back to the Revolutionary War, was held in the Joint Base Balad Field Maintenance Facility, where the 298th SMC conducts vehicular, generator, electronic and general equipment repairs in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  

“It was inspirational,” said Pfc. Tricia White, a wheeled vehicle mechanic and a native of Greenville, Pa.  “Hearing the history of the patch made me feel like I am a part of that history now.”

This is the first deployment for White and many others in the unit. 

“The Soldiers here on their first deployment, as well as those who have deployed before, now share a common bond — a patch that binds them in brotherhood,” said Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Danilson, automotive noncommissioned officer-in-charge with the 298th SMC and a Martinsburg, Pa., native.

The unit patch is a white disc within a one-eighth-inch red border and a blue and red compass representing the worldwide deployability and readiness of the 316th ESC. It includes a white Fleur-De Lis, representing the Tennessee state flower, and the City of Knoxville, the original home of the command.  

“I felt a lot of pride and accomplishment when the 316th patch was placed on my shoulder,” said Pfc. Wayne Saunders, an electronic device repairman with the 298th SMC and a Dallas, Ga., native.

With the patch ceremony marking the end of the first 60 days in country, the Soldiers of the 298th look forward to continuing their mission.


news photo
Sgt. Christopher Garhart, the 298th Support Maintenance Company, information management officer with the 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and an Altoona, Pa., native, receives his shoulder sleeve insignia-former wartime service, or combat patch, from Staff Sgt. Timothy Winters, communications and electronics repair shop foreman and Johnstown, Pa., native. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jonathan Jivan)