RANGER AGAINST WAR: Homeward Bound <

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Homeward Bound

We would rather be ruined than changed;

We would rathe
r die in our dread

Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.
--W.H. Auden

I wish I was,

Homeward bound,

Home where my thought's escaping,

Home where my music's playing,

Home where my love lies waiting

Silently for me
--Homeward Bound
, Simon and Garfunkel

It is curious that physical courage should be
so common in the world and moral courage so rare
--Mark Twain


The Screaming Eagle patch of the 101st Airborne Division is one of the most iconic and recognizable symbols of the U.S. Army. When this patch is worn on the right sleeve of a uniform, this indicates combat service with the unit.

The body of 101st medic Specialist Shannon Chihuahua passed through Tallahassee en route to its final resting place 11.21.10. He was KIA serving the unit that patch represents.

At the same time this soldier's body was homeward bound, the West Point football team was being trounced by Notre Dame. Why does the West Point team wear the Screaming Eagle on their right sleeves? They have not earned the right, as Spec. Chihuahua had. What kind of sacrilege is this misuse of a combat-earned right?

These cadets do not posses the right to wear this patch unless they served with the unit in combat. This usage is a denigration of the symbol dedicated to the memory of generations of faithful paratroopers. Why do the war hawks -- who love them some football -- do not decry this blasphemy (though they are quick to call "stolen valor" when they see an opponent of the war wear his decorations)?

What gives West Point the right to frivolously use this noble and hard-won patch on a crummy football jersey? Despite the hyperbole of the announcers, football is not battle, it is a game. Since when are patches authorized on civilian attire?

An announcer, in a feeble attempt to recognize the courage inherent in that little piece of cloth, noted, "the Infantry is the backbone of the Army." Wrong. The Infantry IS the Army; t
he Army exists to support the Infantry.

We wrote in April about 101st Airborne troops in the Atlanta airport on their way to R & R, and how they were forbidden to wear combat patches and badges on their uniforms though authorized to do so by regulations. Why can W.P. football uniforms display this patch, while real, live soldiers in the unit are forbidden to do so?

It is amazing how insults like this just slip under the radar. Bastogne is a long way from Yankee Stadium.

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