''Colonel Nelson Irizarry's uniform''

This uniform belonged to Colonel Nelson Irizarry and was worn by him while serving as the commanding officer of the 83rd US ARRTC. The uniform is a standard issue Army Combat Uniform (ACU) which was worn by all units of the US Army until 2016 when a new camouflage pattern was introduced.

On the left sleeve of the uniform is the patch for the 83rd USARRTC, the unit he was assigned to while wearing this uniform. On the right sleeve is the patch for the 3rd Armored Division, with whom Colonel Irizarry was deployed before joining the 83rd. Above the 3rd Armored Division patch is a US flag patch. Above the US Army tag is the famous Parachutist Badge, better know as Wings, which are awarded after completing Parachutist training. On the front of the jacket, as well as the cap is the Colonel grade insignia. The back of the cap also still has Colonel Irizarry's name tape.

When this uniform was discontinued it was kindly donated by Colonel Irizarry for my collection. I am honored to be the caretaker of this part of the history of the Thunderbolt!


Colonel Nelson Irizarry was commissioned through ROTC as a Military Intelligence officer and served on active duty until 1992 when he received a fellowship to attend graduate school. He holds a Master of Science and a PhD in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University.

He was a member of the faculty at the University of Puerto Rico where he attained the rank of Associate Professor. Colonel Irizarry is a professional engineer and successful transportation engineering consultant. He has held important positions in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as Advisor to the Governor for Infrastructure, Transportation and Public Works; Member of the Puerto Rico Planning Board; and Administrator of the Puerto Rico Building and Permit Administration.
Colonel Irizarry has commanded at all levels including the 807th Signal Company; A Company, 35th Signal Battalion; and the 338th MI Battalion (Interrogation). His staff positions include Tactical Intelligence Officer and S2, 4th Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 3rd Armored Division; Assistant S2, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade; Counterintelligence Operations Officer, 301st MI Battalion; S2 and S3, 35th Signal Battalion; Chief of Operations, 335th Signal Command; Chief, G3 Capability Engagement Branch, US Army South; and Chief, G3 Reserve Programs, US Army Intelligence and Security Command. Recently, he served as Deputy Commander, 66th MI Brigade (AC) in Germany from 2012 to 2014. He is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Colonel Irizarry’s military education include the Military Intelligence Officer Basic and Advanced Courses; Signal Officer Advanced Course; Combined Arms and Services Staff School; Command and General Staff College; Defense Strategy Course; Reserve Components National Security Course; Human Intelligence Management Course (G2X); Senior Service College at the Inter-American Defense College; and Airborne School.
His awards and decorations include: Meritorious Service Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters; Army Commendation Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters; Army Achievement Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Clusters; Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters; National Defense Service Medal with 1 Bronze Star; Southwest Asia Service Medal with 3 Bronze Stars; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” Device; Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia); Kuwait Liberation Medal (Government of Kuwait); and Parachute Badge.

In a change of command ceremony at Haszard Auditorium July 1, 2015 the 83rd U.S. Army Reserve Readiness Training Center said goodbye to Col. Ernest Parker and welcomed Col. Nelson Irizarry. Parker moves on to his new assignment in Norfolk, Virginia. As Parker leaves a legacy, Irizarry will be picking up where he left off.

"I am honored to assume command of the 83rd ARRTC today," Irizarry said. "Our unit carries the lineage of the 83rd Infantry Division. A unit that pushed further into Germany than any other during World War II. A unit that when given the mission to cross the Elbe River overcame all obstacles and achieved what other more recognized divisions could not. We will follow in those steps as the Army Reserve’s premier education and training platform."

Irizarry previously served as chief of Reserve programs, headquarters, installation command, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

In a change of command ceremony held May 31, 2017 at Waybur Theater on Fort Knox Col. Nelson Irizarry, the commander of the 83rd U.S. Army Reserve Readiness Training Center, relinquished his duties and responsibilities and passed the mantel of command over to Colonel Kathleen Porter.

Colonel Irizarry is married to Regina and they have four children: Amber, MarĂ­a, Christian, and Connor.

Colonel Nelson Irizarry and me at the Annual Reunion in August 2015, Louisville, Kentucky