LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Members of the 45th Infantry received their first combat patch during World War II. Since then the former 45th Infantry Division and current 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team have seen combat across Europe, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan.
On Sunday, September, 11, 2011, the Thunderbirds added another combat patch to their lineage, but this patch ceremony was different.
The day marked 10 years since the attacks on the United States that killed more than 3,000 Americans.
"For me it was the biggest reason I joined the military," said 1st Lt. Brett Campbell, 45th IBCT assistant personnel officer, who received his combat patch today. "I felt I wasn't doing enough sitting in college while so many people died that day. It means more than someone just slapping a patch on your shoulder, to be a part of the ceremony on a day like today is unbeatable."
45th IBCT Commander, Col. Joel P. Ward, travelled to forward operating bases and combat out posts across Laghaman Province to conduct the ceremonies himself giving more than 400 Soldiers their Thunderbird patches.
At each location, Ward took time to address the Soldiers, reminding them of the significance of 9/11 and its direct connection to the reason the ‘45th' is in Afghanistan and to share the honor of being a Thunderbird.
"I felt it was important to have the ceremony on this day to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11," said Ward as he addressed troops in formation. "I want to thank each of you for being here and for serving your country. I am honored and proud to be your commander," said Col. Joel P. Ward.
Double Thunderbird signifies a Soldier is a current member of the 45th and has deployed to a combat zone with 45th enabling that Soldier to wear the Thunderbird on his left and right shoulders.