JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - On April 8, a Tennessee father placed a combat patch on his son's right shoulder recognizing his son's service with the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment here in Iraq.
Second Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) has been in country for about a month, and its patching ceremony was held outside of the squadron's headquarters building here, where Col. Jeff H. Holmes, the regiment's commander stationed at Contingency Operating Base Taji, Iraq, patched his son, Spc. Hulon Holmes, a gunner with 3rd Platoon, F Troop, 2-278th ACR.
Jeff Holmes said it was an honor to put a combat patch on his son and he was glad he was able to make it for the ceremony.
"I haven't been able to attend all the regiment's subordinate combat patch ceremonies, but it was very special for me and I wanted to make sure I was here for it," he said.
Jeff Holmes said these ceremonies typically happen after 30 days into a rotation.
"This is a good chance to commemorate a Soldier's service in wartime and in theater," he said.
Jeff Holmes said many of the Soldiers already have a combat patch from prior deployments, but for those who do not, they try to make this a significant event.
"It exhibits a lot of respect from one combat Veteran to the other, and a significant transition in one's career to put one on," he said.
Jeff Holmes said it is a rare occurrence that a father has a chance to put a combat patch on his son.
"I wanted to seize the moment," he said.
This is Hulon Holmes' first deployment, and he said receiving the combat patch is special. "It's kind of an honor to be able to receive something like this, knowing that I've been here with these guys making a difference," he said.
Hulon Holmes said it was an honor to be patched by his father.
"I didn't expect that this would be able to happen," he said. "It was nice to see him in general, but for him to be able to put the patch on me, it was a great moment."
Hulon Holmes said he is proud to serve under his father and could not ask for a better assignment. His father was patient with him, he said, and never pressured him to join the military.
"He left that completely up to me," said Hulon Holmes. "Eventually, it just kind of got to me. I knew it was something that I wanted and needed to do."