Patrick to receive Order of the Sword honor
By Master Sgt. Joshua Strang, Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs
/ Published January 08, 2018
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Retired Maj. Gen. Leonard Patrick has been selected to receive the Order of the Sword honor during a ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Feb. 9, 2018.
Patrick served for 35 years and his final assignment was as Air Education and Training Command vice commander before retiring from active duty, Sept. 1, 2016.
According to Air Force instruction, “the Order of the Sword was established by the Air Force enlisted force to recognize and honor military senior officers, colonel or above, and civilian equivalents, for conspicuous and significant contributions to the welfare and prestige of the Air Force enlisted force, mission effectiveness as well as the overall military establishment.”
The Order of the Sword ceremony traces its lineage to Sweden and the Middle Ages. In 1522, King Gustavus the First of Sweden enjoined the noblemen commissioned by him to appoint officers to serve him. Those appointed were the accountants, builders, craftsmen, teachers, scribes, and others responsible for conducting the ordinary daily affairs of the kingdom. The system worked so well it was incorporated into the Swedish army as a way to establish and maintain a cohesive, disciplined, well-trained force for protection of lives and property in the kingdom.
These noncommissioned officers would honor their leader and pledge their loyalty by ceremoniously presenting him with a sword. The sword, a symbol of truth, justice and power rightfully used, served as a token for all to see and know that here was a leader among leaders. This ceremony became known as the Royal Order of the Sword. It was passed through the ages, coming to the United States about the time of the Revolutionary War.
The practice of awarding a sword lay dormant for many years. The only known instance of its use was in the 1860s when confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was presented a sword by his command. The Royal Order of the Sword ceremony was revised, updated, and adopted by the NCOs of the United States Air Force in 1967. The Order of the Sword is the highest honor and tribute the enlisted corps can bestow upon an individual.
*Editor’s Note: Historical background information was taken from Air Force Instruction 36-2824 – Order of the Sword Programs.