Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Young veterans shouldn't be kept from wearing combat patches, regardless of cost

One of the benefits of being a retired military officer is the ability to speak my mind when it comes to the Army.

Here's my beef:

On Veterans Day, I was honored to be a guest speaker for the University of Akron's annual flag pole ceremony on campus. The ROTC cadets were sharp as always, and the service was great.

Later in the day, I interviewed a few of the cadets who had already served overseas in combat zones in an enlisted status before returning to college to join ROTC.

I wondered why these cadets -- new veterans entitled to the proper recognition -- weren't wearing the combat patch they earned on the right shoulder of their dress uniforms?

One of the cadets told me that regulations prohibited this.

That set me off. How could our troops who risked their lives at such a young age be prevented from wearing the badge that our government bestowed upon them?

I checked with Tim White, who earned his commission in the Air Force through ROTC, to see if he knew of such a regulation. Tim is a retired Brigadier General and veteran, but he too was stumped.

This just doesn't seem right. Heck with right, this just isn't fair!

I checked with the cadre at the University of Akron to see if they could help me understand the issue, and they clarified it.

Basically, if the cadet where's their own Class A uniform, they can wear the combat patch. If they accept a Class A uniform from the University of Akron, they cannot wear it. The reason is that the university's uniforms already have an ROTC patch on the right sleeve, so to add the combat patch would require an additional sewing cost to the university when that Class A uniform is turned back in.

OK .. so at least there's a reason behind it .. and it's not a discriminatory one.

Still .. I'll be there's a VFW or another group that would cover the cost for these new veterans so that they could wear that right shoulder patch. In fact, I wonder if there's not a local group that would just buy the Class A uniforms for these new veterans so that it's completely covered. There's really only a few that it affects.

ROTC is such a great program, and the University of Akron's program is top notch. I just wonder if this little tweak couldn't be made so some of these new veterans who have risked so much .. and who ask for so little .. and who are taking their experience to the next level by becoming officers.

See .. isn't it great to be retired so I can speak my mind?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for checking Eric. As a peace time Veteran who by the grace of GOD did not see action I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving and am looking forward to a wonderful Christmas and New Years. Thank you for your service sir. (Hand Salute, Ready too!)