Staff SGT Donald Wayne West, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army National Guard on September 11, 2001. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Company A of the 150th Combat Engineers served active duty Aug 29, 2004, until Dec 30, 2005. SSGT West returned to college in January, 2006. He married Lauren Ritchie June 9, 2006, at Seaside, Fla., and they have three children. SSGT West completed military service at Camp Minden, LA on Aug 23, 2009.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Don't Ask. Don't Tell.

The combination of warmer mid-day temperatures and the effort to load all his gear into the back of Lauren’s SUV made it warm enough for Wayne to take off his coat just before we left Camp Shelby.

“Oh, yeah,” he said, sticking his chest out, and pointing to a spot just above his pocket, “Take a look at my new Combat Action Badge.”

“Do I want to know what that’s for?” I asked sheepishly.

“Probably not,” he winked.

On 2 May 2005, the Army’s Chief of Staff approved the creation of the new award to recognize soldiers who demonstrate and live the Warrior Ethos.
Warrior ethos compels soldiers to fight through all conditions to victory no matter how much effort is required. It is the soldier’s selfless commitment to the nation, mission, unit, and fellow soldiers. It is the professional attitude that inspires every American soldier. Warrior ethos is grounded in refusal to accept failure. It is developed and sustained through discipline, commitment to the Army values, and pride in the Army’s heritage.
This subdued cloth version on an olive green base cloth shows the bayonet, grenade, oak wreath and border of the bar embroidered in black. The metal version is a two-inch silver badge consisting of an oak wreath supporting a rectangle bearing a bayonet surmounting a grenade, all silver. Stars are added at the top to indicate subsequent awards.

In keeping with the spirit of the Warrior Ethos, the Combat Action Badge provides special recognition to Soldiers who personally engage the enemy, or are engaged by the enemy during combat operations. The bayonet and grenade are associated with active combat. The oak wreath symbolizes strength and loyalty.

Congratulations, SGT West!

If there were a Weather Action Badge, I think they should give one to Mike Hollingshead, who has been chasing storm clouds for years. See some amazing storm cloud photos here.