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HEIDELBERG, Germany — A new shoulder patch seen around Army posts these days belongs to the Installation Management Agency — the command responsible for base operations.

“The patches make IMA personnel who are military more visible,” said Sandy Goss, spokesman for IMA-Europe Region.

In Europe, troops working for all base support battalions and area support groups fall under IMA and must wear the patch. Before the agency’s activation last year, those troops wore the U.S. Army Europe patch.

Secretary of the Army Thomas E. White activated the agency on Oct. 1 at a Pentagon ceremony. Troops were immediately authorized to sew on the new patch, but at the time, they were hard to come by.

“The patches weren’t widely available last October because of the timing of the approval of the design and the timing for the decision to activate IMA-Europe combined with the lead time needed by manufacturers,” Goss said via e-mail.

Now, local military clothing sales stores have them stocked, Goss said.

Units also order the patches from the manufacturer.

The seven-sided patch’s two crossed swords rest atop yellow chains linked by a center ring. The scarlet background is traditionally used by support units, of which the agency is associated, Goss said.

The chain links and ring symbolize the unit’s continuous worldwide support to all the soldiers, civilians, their families and units, Goss added. The swords refer to teamwork and the focus on preparing and training soldiers for combat.

But the most significant aspect of the new patch is it’s size: It is larger than most unit patches.

“It’s a big organization, we have a big patch,” Goss said. “It’s not as big as the 1st Cavalry Division.”

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