Return to Guardlife Homepage
Soldiers Receive Combat Patch on 9/11

(Army National Guard photo/Released)

KABUL, Afghanistan – On a bright crisp morning of September 11, 2011, Soldiers of the New Jersey Army National Guard received their combat patch standing in front of half mast flags at Camp Black Horse, Afghanistan.

Not only was this a day of remembrance but a day of reconfirming why we are here as brothers, standing next to each other receiving the ISAF Joint Command (IJC) patch that will unite the team forever in the war against terrorism.

The New Jersey Army National Guard's first Joint Albanian-United States Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (OMLT,) took part in a time honored ceremony, having the units patch placed on the right shoulder signifying a Soldier's service during war time. The OMLT, made up of 12 NJARNG Soldiers and 20 soldiers from the Republic of Albania are training members of the Afghanistan National Army.

Air National Guard graphic by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen/Released

The New Jersey Soldiers arrived in Afghanistan after a long journey that took not only months but had the team crossing continents. Starting in New Jersey the team moved to Louisiana for mobilization. From there they traveled to Albania to link up with their counterparts. Traveling through Italy, Austria, the team finally ended up in Germany to the Joint Maneuver Readiness Center in Hoenfels, for Phase II in preparation for this mission. After all training was complete; the entire team flew to start their mission in Afghanistan.

Although eligible for the patch earlier, the New Jersey Soldiers of the OMLT chose to wait until September 11, 2011 to conduct the ceremony. The significance of the day, especially for the Citizen-Soldiers, was not lost on any of those in attendance. Many of the members of the OMLT were serving in the NJARNG on 9-11 and since then have been a part of the numerous contribution made by New Jersey to the support the Global War on Terror.

The IJC patches were presented by Brig. Gen. John Hammond, Commander of Task Force Yankee, 36th Infantry Division, Massachusetts Army National Guard. Assisting the general was Col. Nicholas Chimienti, the Senior Advisor to the human resources directorate ANA Development.

Chimientipraised the American and Albanian soldiers for coming together to support the NATO mission in Afghanistan. He also commended the service members of the various other nations present at the ceremony, observing that the effort to build a strong and free Afghanistan was truly a global one.

Once the ceremony ended, the OMLT Soldiers went back to work. There was no big parade, there was no party, it was time to get back to doing one's job. While the patches on their shoulders will represent the time spent here, the day will be remembered forever.

Table of Contents
Volume 35 Number 4 Staff / Information
(c) 2013 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs