Combat patch question.

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Anonymous

I served a deployment in Kuwait, arriving a month prior to 9/11, and finishing 7 months later. We never recieved a combat patch for the deployment, which I have always accepted. Recently I recieved notification from VA that I qualify for benefits based on service in a combat theater. My question is: where does VA get its info on combat theater ops? and which army entity can I contact to see if the status of our deployment may have changed?

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MSG Glenn
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Joined: 08/31/2010
I've done research on combat patches...

... and I've found nothing. Since the VA has declared that you served in a combat area I don't see any reason that you can't qualify for the patch. If you're not in the Army at this time you might have difficulty, though.

Combat theater duty is spelled out & any agency who works for you has access to the location & dates that are included, especially the VA. There are other benefits that you can receive if your duty is considered a combat op so they have to know that from your records.

bjones65 (not verified)
more info

Thanks MSG Glenn for the info. I'm still in the guard serving in a line unit as a company 1st sergeant. When VA contacted me, which was through a letter, I called their 800 number thinking they had me mixed up with someone else. They confirmed that it was my service in Kuwait that qualified me, but could not provide me with any further information regarding who I could contact within VA, or the Army, who could fully answer my questions on the subject. I guess I can just contact VA and see if they can provide me with what organization within the Army provides them with stats on combat theater vets etc. Any info or advice you can offer would be appreciated. Thanks again.

MSG Glenn
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Joined: 08/31/2010
Check with...

...your S-1, Top. The dates you served in a combat area should be in your records & that should qualify you officially. I can't remember going through any type of ceremony getting the combat patch or anything "official" about the authorization to wear it. We just did it as I recall. That duty should also give you overseas stripes ("Hershey bars") to be worn on your class As. If the dates that you served line up with the area being classified as a combat zone you should be good to go.

A short story - one of my Soldiers was going before the promotion board. He almost didn't make it because one of the board members commented on the fact he wasn't wearing a combat patch or hershey bars. He said he was never authorized officially. The board member told him he didn't have to be. He should know whether that area was classified as a war zone. That might just have been that particular member but the rest of the board seemed to agree. When I was on boards as a 1SG we never questioned the wear of combat patches as long as the dates & location of service were right (if we even checked). Somewhere there has to be a listing of all your postings.

I'd say wear them. As a 1SG nobody will question what you wear but when I came into the Army as a SGT from the Navy I didn't wear my UDT badge or Divers badge but wore jump wings (earned while in the USN but schooled at Airborne School,Ft. Benning) I almost got raked over the coals for NOT wearing them & was considered technically out of uniform.

Let me know of anything else you learn.

bjones65 (not verified)
MSG Glenn, I was contacted by

MSG Glenn,
I was contacted by someone within the Army, G1 as I recall, and I was informed that my dates of service in kuwait (Jul 2001-Feb 2002) do not qualify me to wear a patch. Apparently the Alaract that covers the wear of a patch says that CENTCOM's area of authority, that being kuwait and Afghanistan, began in July 2002. Given that we departed Kuwait in Feb 2002 we missed the window by several months. The irony is that CENTCOM started moving into Kuwait right after Sept 11th and my unit provided security for all the assets the Army pre-staged for further operations. I wish there was some way to request a re-evaluation of the matter, but the chances of changing something like that seem remote at best. I do appreciate your advice and hope all is well with you wherever you're serving. We are scheduled to deploy in the next 6-9 months, so maybe that deployment will qualify for a patch. Do units serving in Iraq still get patches even though the operation (New Dawn) has shifted to a new phase? Again, thanks for your time.

MSG Glenn
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Joined: 08/31/2010
That's unfortunate...

...that you don't qualify for the combat patch but worse things could have happened. You could have busted the E-8/1SG board. You could have gotten caught doing the things we all know you did (lol) & gotten busted to buck ass private.

Stay in long enough & I'm sure you'll get the opportunity to qualify for one. I think Iraq still is good to go as a combat area but I'm not sure.

I am no longer serving, Top. I retired with 27 years a while back. I had served in the Navy's Submarine Service & Underwater Demolition Teams for 6 years & 21 years in the Army, mostly Airborne Infantry with a short time as 1SG of a Commo Co in Desert Storm. I did it for the diamond but in the process missed the opportunity for a CIB. Oh well. Much of my time was in G-3 & since I was a qualified Army Instructor did lots of TDY instructing 11X & other MOS OSUTs, ROTC camps, Airborne School, NCO schools like BNCOC & ANCOC. It sems that when the COL had the opportunity to get rid of me he did. My only regret is not getting the CIB but my son, an Army Ranger got his so it's all good.