Morale: One Of The Little Things


May 2, 2007: One of those subtle things about the U.S. Army uniform is the unit patch worn on the right shoulder. This patch identifies the unit (usually a division) the soldier served with while in combat. Means nothing to most civilians. Means a whole lot to the troops. Until new regulations came out, there were a lot of restrictions on who could wear it, even if you were in a whole lot of combat. Many of these restrictions have now been dropped. What this means is that when small units (down to company size) are sent into a combat zone, they can wear the patch of the division the unit belonged to. Before, you could not do this unless most of the division was sent to the combat zone. With the new regs, there's no minimum time you have to be in the combat zone either. These new rules are partly the result of the reorganization the army is currently undergoing, making the brigade, not the division, the primary combat unit. Thus many divisions are sending brigades to Iraq and Afghanistan, but not the division headquarters. Moreover, reserve divisions often send off small units as needed.

This change is one of those simple things that does a lot for troop morale.


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