New tradition, continuing legacy: 137th SOW patching ceremony

  • Published
  • By Airman Erika Chapa
  • 137th Special Operations Wing

On my right sleeve, a patch is proudly displayed with a legacy stitched into the threads. The subdued emblem symbolizes the ethos of the air commando, quiet professionals capable and ready to conduct special operations anytime, any place.

After eight months of training, I rejoined my peers with the 137th Special Operations Wing and got straight to work. At first, it was a little difficult to feel connected to the mission, wing and my fellow Airmen, almost as if I was missing a piece to the full picture. This changed after my patching ceremony. 

The 137th SOW has started welcoming their newest Airmen back from training with a short patching ceremony. Airmen from across the wing watched as we were given the wing patch by Col. Christopher Gries, 137th SOW commander. Learning that we had returned to the original patch our Airmen wore during World War II helped me distinguish the evolution of our mission, and it connected me to something bigger than myself.

Our emblem emphasizes faith in our heritage and highlights our culture of pride, performance and professionalism. The colorized version consists of a blue sky and clouds that symbolize the domain of air power and three lightning bolts that symbolize the capabilities our Airmen exert in the air, on land and in cyberspace. The camouflage patch represents some of the best Airmen, wingmen, and warriors the Air Force has to offer: the Air Commando. Being an air commando means striving for excellence, freedom and justice and not resting till the job gets done.

The patch I received is more than something I wear on my uniform. It connects me to the elite group of Airmen who served before me as well as those who will serve alongside me for years to come. It is a reminder to push myself and my wingmen to continue to embody the values our wing shares as Citizen Airmen and to earn the title of Air Commando.