Story and photo by Staff Sergeant Ricardo Branch, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne)
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – The shoulder sleeve insignia is an embroidered patch used by major formations of the United States Army. Each formation has a unique formation patch, which serves as an indicator of a unit’s heraldic lineage.
For the soldiers of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), their lineage is traced to four distinctive patches, highlighting their headquarters throughout the years: 101st Airborne Division, 1st Special Operations Command, U.S. Army Special Operations Command and the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command (USASOAC).
Soldiers, families and friends of the 160th SOAR (A), “Night Stalkers,” marked a new chapter for the unit during the shoulder-sleeve insignia ceremony Oct. 1 at Fort Campbell, Ky.
The ceremony begins a new lineage for the “Night Stalkers,” which will move forward wearing the USASOAC shoulder sleeve insignia.
“For the first time, we have a patch that reflects our own identity as an aviation special operations force,” said Col. John R. Evans, regimental commander, 160th SOAR (A). “This new patch is uniquely ours, and its history and lineage moving forward will be built by the deeds of our soldiers.”
During the ceremony, members of the USASOAC command team repatched regimental Chief Warrant Officer 5 Ivan S. Murdock, and regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Greg M. Chambers, 160th SOAR (A). Following the regimental command team’s repatching, Evans and Chambers placed new patches on the battalion command teams within the regiment.
“It’s something that’s been long and coming,” said Spc. Arturo Dimas, Company D, 2nd Battalion, 160th SOAR (A). “With a separate patch, it distinguishes the unit as an organization within the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.”
The USASOAC patch with Fairbairn-Sykes and up-swept red wings form a spearhead reminiscent of the 1st Special Service Force and symbolizes the unit’s role as the aviation element of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
“A lot of thought went into the design of this patch and it reflects our history and lineage,” Evans said. “It links us to SOF’s earliest heritage in World War II, but also recognizes the speed adaptability and versatility that special operations aviation brings to the modern and future fight.”
He added, “I am certain the deeds of the men and women who wear it will soon make it recognized and respected across our Army and our joint force.”
With the changing of the patch, the 160th SOAR (A) officially joins the USASOAC team. The soldiers will continue to wear their regiment crest, all others assigned to USASOAC will don the new distinctive unit insignia.