By Seaman Tim Newborn
Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan - Symbolizing the close partnership and teamwork between the Afghan national security force and combined security transition command - Afghanistan, CSTC-A's first patch was unveiled and distributed at a shoulder sleeve insignia patch ceremony, Oct. 16, 2008, at Camp Eggers.
In attendance at the ceremony were CSTC-A key leaders and their Afghan counterparts, who replaced the previously worn Central Command patch with the new CSTC-A patch.
"Insignia are symbolic to a unit's history lineage and pride," said U.S. Maj. Gen. Robert W. Cone, CSTC-A commanding general. "This new CSTC-A shoulder sleeve insignia best illustrates the cooperation and teamwork of the new Afghan government, the Afghan national security forces and CSTC-A in the development of a new Afghanistan."
The original patch design was submitted by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Brian Posey, a former CSTC-A servicemember, during a contest that invited all CSTC-A personnel to submit ideas for the future CSTC-A SSI.
Using Posey's design, CSTC-A leadership continued to expand the patch to slightly resemble the China, Burma, India SSI patch of Army Gen. Joe Stillwell's unit in Southwestern Asia during World War II.
"The new patch is a direct reflection of the U.S. and Afghan partnership and how close we've become along the way," said U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Aurthur L. Coleman Jr., CSTC-A command sergeant major.
The new patch is a shield-shaped insignia with shafts of wheat extending up from the base and both sides. A Roman gladius short-sword is shown in the center of snow-capped mountains of the Hindu Kush, the foothills of the Himalayas.
The golden stalk of wheat on the patch denote prosperity for the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and the gladius short-sword and infantry crossed rifles show the support for security from the Afghan national security forces, the United States and coalition authorities as they bring peace and stability to the region.
"It was designed in close cooperation with the Afghan national army based on Afghan national army symbols and demonstrates just how much CSTC-A is connected to the Afghan national army," said Cone. "Based on this partnership cooperation and teamwork, it is only fitting that our ANA friends participate in this historic event today."
Over the past year, while the patch was being designed and created, CSTC-A has made significant growth and progress in developing a more stable security force, said Cone.
The Afghan national army fielded two brigade headquarters and 24 kandaks, 26 units became capable of independent operations; and the Afghan national army units now lead 62 percent of operations, an increase of over 14 percent from last fall.
Additional symbolic representation on the patch includes a set of silver wings behind the short-sword, which denotes the technological and logistical advances of the new Afghan national army air corps.
Throughout the year, the Afghan national air corps has increased its capability and now flies 90 percent of all missions required for its Army, showing growth as a self-sustaining force.
The guest speaker of the ceremony, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak, Afghan minister of defense, expressed his thoughts about the new patch.
"I would like to express our profound gratitude, deepest appreciation and heart-filled thanks to every member of the Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan for what they have done, what they are doing and what they will continue to do for my beloved ANA," said Wardak.
"I hope and pray that the new Afghanized insignia will bring luck, successes, glories and more victories to every present and future member of CSTC-A," he said.
A unique addition to the new SSI is the sky background, which is composed of the tricolors of the Afghanistan national flag, black, red and green, and is symbolic of a new democracy spreading throughout Afghanistan.
"Presenting the colors of our flag deeply touched and enormously impressed not only me but a very gracious Afghan nation," said Gen. Wardak.
"This is one step forward in the right direction of building unity and being a part of something great," said Coleman.
"With a strong conviction, I can say that no command in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Armed Forces or the international forces has so lasting, so far-reaching and so enduring effects and impacts on the peace, security, stability and future prosperity of this county as the CSTC-A," said Wardak.