It was a sound like no other as hundreds of "Durable" Soldiers removed their left arm patches in unison, replacing them with the "Big Red One" patch worn by their fellow Soldiers across the 1st Infantry Division.
The 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, conducted a redesignation and patching ceremony April 22 on Fort Riley's Cavalry Parade Field. Following direction from Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the chief of staff of the Army, the brigade switched to the 1st Inf. Div. Shoulder Sleeve Insignia, cased its colors and uncased new colors as the redesignated 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade during the ceremony.
"The patch matters," said Brig. Gen. Eric J. Wesley, 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley senior mission commander, who served as the presiding officer for the afternoon ceremony.
Wesley spoke about what the patch meant to Big Red One Soldiers like Col. Robert McCormick, a wealthy World War I veteran of the division and president of the Tribune Company in Chicago who, Wesley said, considered his nine months with the division as "the single greatest accomplishment of his life."
Upon his death in 1955, McCormick left his $55 million estate to the McCormick Foundation, whose role in part is to sustain the legacy of the Big Red One "and that patch you just put on your shoulders," Wesley told the Durable Soldiers in formation on the field.
The 1st Sust. Bde. was originally formed as Division Trains in 1917 to support the newly formed 1st Inf. Div.
"I can't tell you how great it feels to once again be wearing the Big Red One patch; In my case, on both uniform sleeves," said Col. Robert A. Law III, 1st Inf. Div. Sust. Bde. commander, who previously served with 3rd and 4th infantry brigade combat teams and with the division's headquarters. "This has been a long time coming."
Law said that despite his brigade's new patches, colors and name, the mission -- to provide trained and ready units for future contingency operations and to coordinate, synchronize and execute sustainment operations in support of the division -- has not changed.
"There is no doubt that this brigade has been an integral part of this division throughout its history," Wesley said. "But today, you will wear that patch, and it will forever be part of your fiber and the legacy of your life as a Big Red One Soldier. And no one will ever take that away from you."