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29th ATKS, Mescalero collaborate on new squadron patch
HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Cooney Starr, Mescalero Indian Association president speaks to members of the 29th Attack Squadron, Oct. 23 to unveil a new patch and dedicate a painting of the last Chief of the Mescalero Apache Tribe. The 29th ATKS asked the Mescalero Apache to design a patch for their newly activated squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Means)
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29th ATKS, Mescalero collaborate on new squadron patch

Posted 11/12/2009   Updated 11/12/2009 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Michael Means
49th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

11/12/2009 - HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The 29th Attack Squadron invited members of the Mescalero Indian Association to the base, Oct. 23 to unveil a design for a new squadron patch.

The 29th ATKS chose the Mescalero Apache tribe's warrior culture to model their squadron after because of their close proximity to Holloman and rich history in the area.

The newly activated squadron was in need of a patch design and requested one from the Mescalero Apache tribe. They asked that the translation of the word "Reaper" be placed on the patch. The closest translation was "Chinde Nagutzunde" meaning "Ghost Warriors".

"The patch shows a war bonnet made of eagle feathers, said the patch artist," Gervase Peso, Mescalero Apache Tribe. "It is earned through brave deeds in battle. The eagle is considered by the Indian Nation as the greatest and most powerful of all spirits. The real value of the war bonnet is its power to protect the warrior in battle."

The squadron commander said he is honored to be linked to the Mescalero warrior through the wear of the new patch.

"The Apache warrior culture is something we are extremely excited to be associated with and foster as we create our own heritage for the squadron," said Lt. Col. James Merchant, 29th ATKS commander.

The honor was shared by both 29th ATKS members and those of the tribe.

"Coming down here is a real honor for me and those of us from the Mescalero Indian Tribe," said Cooney Starr, Mescalero Indian Association president. "It is the first time we have been invited to participate in something like this here."

While the Mescalero Indian Association was here visiting, Gervase Peso also dedicated a painting of the last Chief of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, his great grandfather, Chief Peso, to the 29th ATKS. Chief Peso was a Mescalero Apache that occupied the territory from the Sierra Blancas to the Guadalupes in the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Coahuila.

"It is with great honor that my painting will be part of the 29th ATKS," said Mr. Peso.

The Mescalero Apache tribe has left a lasting impression on Holloman with the dedication of the squadron patch. The invitation to the Mescalero Indian Tribe has initiated a positive lasting relationship with the base.

Mr. Starr said he looks forward to continue working with the 29th ATKS and the people of Team Holloman.

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