A new patch on the shoulders of Kentucky Soldiers

By Staff Sgt. Alexa Becerra, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Lt. Col. Gina SanNicolas, commander of the 129th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, places the 101st Airborne Division patch on of a Soldier of the 2123rd Transportation Company during a patching ceremony at Fort Knox, Ky., Oct. 22, 2016. The 2123rd and 129th are now partnered for training as part of the Army's Associated Units Program. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Alexa Becerra)

Lt. Col. Gina SanNicolas, commander of the 129th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, places the 101st Airborne Division patch on of a Soldier of the 2123rd Transportation Company during a patching ceremony at Fort Knox, Ky., Oct. 22, 2016. The 2123rd and 129th are now partnered for training as part of the Army’s Associated Units Program. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Alexa Becerra)

FORT KNOX, Ky. –Soldiers from the 2123rd Transportation Company participated in a patching ceremony with the 129th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Sustainment Brigade at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Oct. 22, 2016.

The 2123rd, stationed in Richmond, Kentucky, now dons the 101st Airborne Division patch, the screaming eagle, as part of the associated units  program. The 2123rd will be aligned with the 129th CSSB for training purposes until 2018. The 2123rd is the first unit in the Kentucky Army National Guard to be selected to participate in this program.

“It is an honor to be one of only two units selected to be associated the historic 101st,” said 1st Lt. S. Logan Weiler III, commander of the 2123rd. “The 101st mission for the 2123rd is to be prepared to deploy with short or no notice to austere environments with internal assets.”

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The program is part of an Army Total Force initiative, and its objective is to leverage the capabilities and capacities of the Active Component, Army Reserve and the Army National Guard as one Army, according to Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley. The Army has scheduled 12 unit pairings across all three components. The 101st will also partner with the 1176th Transportation Company from the Tennessee National Guard.

With this partnership, the demand to achieve and a maintain readiness has been radically increased, said Wieler.

“I believe this partnership will bring a lot of opportunities for the state, more resources and also motivate our Soldiers and help with retention in the unit,” said 1st Sgt. Randy White with the 2123rd.

The unit will train alongside the 129th CSSB in the spring and is also slated to conduct annual training with them, said White.

“We are honored to have this opportunity,” said Spc. Joseph Carlson, a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic for the 2123rd. “To be able to be a part of the 101st and still be a part of the Kentucky Army National Guard is something I am very proud of, and I know my family will be to.”

“The greatest change you can see in the Soldiers of the 2123rd is the Air Assault culture,” said Weiler. “Soldiers are preparing for the rigorous demand of the Air Assault school and maintain 101st Airborne standards: 4 mile run in under 36 minutes and 12 mile ruck in under three hours.”

After the ceremony, Brig. Gen. Scott E. Brower, acting commander of the 101st Airborne Division, surveyed the training area for the 2123rd and took time to speak to several Soldiers about the new partnership.

“How many of you want to go to Air Assault?” asked Brower. After the majority of the Soldiers raised their hands. He proceeded to explain to them the requirements and also that there are parts of the program that still need to be refined.

But as for the association, Brower reminded them all that they all belong to one Army.

“As of now, I am not sure if you will still be wearing the 101st patch if Governor Bevin calls you up on State Active Duty,” said Brower. “But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what patch you wear on your shoulder, the patch that matters is the one on your chest that says U.S. Army.”

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