'Warrior Pride' displayed in 159th patching ceremony

Story and photo by Spc. John Stimac
139th MPAD
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Soldiers with the 159th Seaport Operations Company out of Fort Story, Va., took part in a combat patch ceremony Oct. 19 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

Capt. Philip M. McDowell, commander of the 159th SOC and a Charlottesville, Va., native said the Soldiers have been in Iraq for 83 days and felt it was better to wait to affix the combat patches.

“We wanted to have the Soldiers get used to the mission first and earn their patch,” said McDowell. “We feel the Soldiers are now ready and it is a good time for them to wear their patches.”

The 159th SOC will wear the patch of the 7th Sustainment Brigade, and Soldiers were given a brief history of the 7th SB patch. According to its Web site, the seven rays issuing from the center of the shield refer to the receiving and dispersal of personnel and cargo. The name ‘rook’ is derived from a Persian word meaning Soldier and is used to represent the military troops and equipment being transferred from one mode of transportation to another at the organization.

It was authorized for wear by personnel of the 7th Transportation Group on March 1, 1984.  It was re-designated for the 7th Sustainment Brigade, with the description and symbolism updated effective Oct. 17, 2006, according to the Web site.

Sgt. 1st Class Freddie Raiford, platoon sergeant for the 159th SOC and a Miami native, said receiving a combat patch is a special time for a Soldier.

“It’s giving honor to those that served before me, presently, and for those who will serve in a combat zone after me,” said Raiford. “I’m just doing what the nation calls for me to do and I want to do it honorably.”

Raiford, who is on his second deployment to Iraq, said whether it is your first or second deployment there will always be rough challenges ahead, but he knows his Soldiers will show resiliency and pull through it.

Pfc. Lee Dear, an operations specialist with the 159th SOC, said it was an honor to be patched because not many people get to serve their country in a combat environment.

“Deploying with this unit has been a great opportunity for me,” said Dear, a Chattanooga, Tenn., native. “We have great leadership here and I’ve learned a lot from them not only about my job, but about being a leader.”

In a speech at the end of the ceremony McDowell said the patch the 148 Soldiers just put on is a symbol of selfless service and a reminder that they are forever a member of the 7th SB and the Warrior Pride team.

Raiford said we wanted to leave our mark here on JBB.

“We want everyone to know that ‘Warrior Pride’ is standing tall and ready to serve.” Said Raiford.

 

news photo
Sgt. 1st Class Freddie Raiford, the platoon sergeant for the 159th Seaport Operations Company and a Miami, native affixes the 7th Sustainment Brigade combat patch to Spc. Roger Martinez, motor transport operator and a San Antonio, native in a ceremony held at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. The 148 Soldiers waited 83 days to wear their combat patches.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. John Stimac 139th MPAD, 13th SC(E))

news photo
Sgt. 1st Class Freddie Raiford, the platoon sergeant for the 159th Seaport Operations Company and a Miami, native affixes the 7th Sustainment Brigade combat patch to Pfc. Nathaniel Mullins, motor transport operator and a Tulsa, Okla. native in a ceremony held at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. The 148 Soldiers waited 83 days to wear their combat patches.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. John Stimac 139th MPAD, 13th SC(E))