‘Hatchet Holder’ ceremony held at Fort Polk

Col. Mario Diaz, commander of the 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (DVIDS/U.S. Army)
Col. Mario Diaz, commander of the 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (DVIDS/U.S. Army)
(Source: DVIDS/U.S. Army)
(Source: DVIDS/U.S. Army)

The following is a story released by the U.S. Army:

By Sgt. David Edge

Huzzah, Huzzah! A battle cry repeated throughout the night as 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, leaders gathered at the Warrior Community Center for the brigade's Hatchet Holder Ceremony. The ceremony was held to honor the Patriot Brigade's past and set the foundation for its future.

The Hatchet Holder Ceremony that was held June 20 is unique because it brought together leaders, both old and new, and gave them one last chance to fellowship before the brigade's upcoming deployment in July.

"I feel the significance of the Hatchet Holder Ceremony is to bring new leaders into a cohort of professionals that are tactically and technically sound leaders, that will assist the brigade in whatever mission that we are given by the Army," said Command Sgt. Maj. Noe Salinas, 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. "The setting is ideal because what we want the leaders to do is cross pollinate ideas and work together so that they are not trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to running the battalions and companies on a day to day basis.

To honor the Patriot Brigade's past, brigade and battalion command teams conducted the Patriot Punch Bowl ritual. It started with a simple, yet elegant silver punch bowl centered in the middle of the room. Each battalion commander and their sergeant major were called to give a brief history of their battalion. After highlighting their battalion history, they added a drink historically important to that battalion to mixture.

"The Patriot Punch Bowl ceremony is fairly simple and moving. The ceremony allows each battalion commander to talk about the different military engagements or wars that they have fought in," said Maj. Christopher Jackson, the plans officer for 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. "The Patriot Brigade is made up of a mix of different organizations that previously fought with different divisions and different corps throughout almost every war that our great country has fought in."

The ceremony's conclusion came with a round of toasts. Col. Mario Diaz, the commander of 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, gave the first toast of the evening. The commander raised his glass announcing: "To the United States."

More than 80 voices thunderously repeated the toast and drank the Patriot Punch deeply from their glasses. Patriot Brigade leaders then raised their hatchets and with one voice they roared "Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah."

There were many toasts that came in rapid succession during the night, including toasts to the president of the United States, the 10th Mountain Division and the 4th Brigade Combat Team.

Fittingly, the command sergeant major gave the final toast of the ceremony. Raising his glass and looking around the room, he toasted with a low and clear voice, "To our fallen comrades."