CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait — Brig. Gen. Lance G. Curtis and Command Sgt. Maj. Phelicea M. Redd, the command team for 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, recognized more than 20 “Spears Ready” Soldiers for their service in designated combat zones during a Shoulder Sleeve Insignia-Former Wartime Service patching ceremony here, Mar. 9, 2022.
The unit has been deployed since August of 2021 staffing the 1st Theater Sustainment Command operational command post, supporting the 1st TSC’s mission to execute logistics operations throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
SSI-FWS patches, colloquially known as combat patches, are awarded to Soldiers who actively participate in or support combat operations. More than 30 “Spears Ready” Soldiers have undertaken missions in designated combat zones in the last seven months, and still others are scheduled to do so before the unit redeploys to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Curtis said he was honored to present the patches, but cautioned the Soldiers to not forget the reality of combat service.
“This is a symbol of what you’ve done, this is a symbol of what you’ve trained for, and this is a symbol of your sacrifice, but it can change like that,” the general said. “What we do here is really about sacrifice—not everybody comes back.
“Let’s be sure we bring everyone home because we’re thinking about our brothers and our sisters to our right and left because we love them more than we love ourselves,” Curtis continued. “I’m proud of your sacrifice, and let’s not forget the sacrifice of our families—our families back home are paying a heavy price for us to be here.”
During the ceremony, each Soldier walked to the center of the stage individually to receive their patches, and each Soldier was photographed with the command team.
Spc. Darius J. Green, an ammunition specialist, said he was honored to receive the patch.
Green served in Qatar in early 2022 and helped manage the munitions retrograde from Afghanistan. He also supported the emergency resupply effort to U.S. forces in Afghanistan in the final moments of the U.S. military’s presence at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
“It was definitely a learning experience,” the specialist said. “You hear about it all the time in the office, but when you see different ASPs at different bases you start to get an idea about how everyone does things a little differently, and you get in sync and better understand that main mission objective and how to get to it correctly.”
ASPs are ammunition supply points, which are designated areas on military installations where munitions are stored and distributed.
Green said he has served with the 3rd ESC for six years, and so receiving a combat patch at this juncture, on the precipice of a permanent change of station, is significant.
“This feels like the patented label on my time here,” he said. “After six years, to end it all with a combat patch, it’s like a perfect stamp on the letter.”
Sgt. Sonia S. Smith, an information technology specialist who also received a patch, said the patch will always serve as a reminder of her service with the 3rd ESC.
The sergeant spent 90 days of the deployment in Jordan helping to establish the communications help desk for Area Support Group - Jordan.
“I one hundred percent loved it,” Smith said. “I loved the people—I worked with fantastic NCOs, civilians and Soldiers—and everyone’s main mission was to get this to be a suitable area to have network access.
“The experience was pretty much once in a lifetime, it never really happens that you stand something up,” the sergeant continued. “Most of the time we just always maintain it, so actually creating something from scratch was pretty great.”
Smith has served with the 3rd ESC since September of 2018, and said receiving the patch is like everything coming around full turn.
“To earn this combat patch is solidifying that 3rd ESC has always been with me, will always be with me, and is the main contributor to who I am.”