By Spc. Avery Cunningham
172nd Public Affairs Detachment
The Vermont Army National Guard's 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain) aligned with the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) during a re-patch ceremony at Camp Ethan Allen Training Site, Jericho, Vermont, October 15.
"The primary function is to officially recognize that we have been realigned for training authority purposes under the 10th Mountain and as part of that we removed our beloved mountain patch and replaced it with the storied and well respected 10th Mountain patch on our left sleeve," said Col. Andrew Harris, commander of the 86th IBCT (MTN), Vermont National Guard.
During the ceremony Soldiers stood at attention in formation as the history of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) patch was read while leadership from the 86th IBCT (MTN) began switching Soldiers' old patches for the new. Behind the formation, on a tall wooden tower, a curtain was lowered, simultaneously revealing the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) full-color patch.
Originally developed as the first Mountain unit in the Army in 1941, the 10th Mountain Division received its current name in 1944 before being deployed to Italy during World War II.
The aligning of the 86th IBCT (MTN) to the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) is part of the Associated Units Pilot Program.
"This is a step forward into the future for the 86th aligning with the 10th Mountain and formalizing an already developed training partnership,” said Maj. Gen. Steven Cray, the adjutant general, Vermont National Guard. “The purpose of this total force integration is to help enhance our capabilities and readiness.”
While changing patches does have an effect on the unit as a whole, it does not uproot the unit or alter their course.
"For us it means steady as we go, with the difference being that our training will be reviewed and evaluated by the 10th Mountain Division, so the staff at the division headquarters will sign off on our training calendars, they'll look at the training we have planned, they'll tell us if they think it meets their needs," said Harris. "All with the aim of making us more ready than we have been in the past, getting us at a higher level of technical competence and a higher level of ability to do our job as an infantry brigade."
There is a mutual benefit, allowing the 10th Mountain Division to incorporate more mountain training and expertise into the division while allowing the Vermont National Guard units better access to good training.
"It'll provide us with the opportunity and resources to do more active duty training," said Spc. Jordan Peterson, Charlie Troop, 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry Regiment, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain), Vermont National Guard.
The opportunities in this re-alignment affords the unit to set goals to better themselves.
"My goal is that we come out of this better trained, better resourced, better equipped and better able to be responsive to the needs of our nation and of course the needs of the State of Vermont," said Harris.
Despite all that the unit will receive, as part of the 10th Mountain Division, the Soldiers of the 86th IBCT (MTN) will always be Green Mountain Boys.
"Mine [86th IBCT Patch] is going off my left sleeve and right into my breast pocket over my heart and that is where it's going to stay," said Harris. "It remains the visual image of who we are as a brigade, and it tells the story of our lineage better than any other patch and having said all that, part of progress, part of becoming a better thing is recognizing when it's time to step up, step forward and that's what we're doing by putting on the 10th Mountain (Division) patch."