You would think with all the talk of a long (very long) with no end in sight war on terror, people would be thinking about getting out of the military if they can. A lot of people are deciding to reenlist when their term is up, though.
In Iraq, on Veterans Day, nearly 300 service members gathered in Holt Stadium to reenlist for another term of service. In total, 274 service members took oaths (again) to defend their country.
“We gather today to remind ourselves that our mission as fighting men and women must continue,” Army Brig. Gen. Michael Lally, commander of 3rd Sustainment Command and the host for the event, said. “To continue, we must have those that are willing, able and are inspired to raise their hands again and again to be counted with those that came before them.”
“The stories of those in front of you are still being written,” he continued. “Today another chapter has begun. Wherever they go, whatever they do, each story will be different. Each will contain trials and deployments, and tales from lands yet to be seen. However, the common theme in each will be their selfless service and their universal commitment.”
The choice to reenlist on Veterans Day was intentional, according to some of the soldiers.
According to a press release, Army Col. Kevin O’Connell, commander of 1st Sustainment Brigade, said soldiers stay in the Army for the same reasons they join: training, education, adventure, money. But the most important reason they stay in the military is service to their nation, he added.
Back in the United States, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Matthew Ryan Bradford, who lost use of both of his legs and his right eye from an IED in Iraq, wants to reenlist as well. Although he understands there are some things he won’t be able to do, he thinks he can help other troops in various ways.
â€œI want to be a Marine. I donâ€™t want to get out yet,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m trying to stay in so I can go back to Bethesda and work at the hospital in the liaison office so I can talk to the wounded.â€
Bradford earned a Purple Heart, which was given to him by Gen. James T. Conway, Marine Corps commandant, on Valentineâ€™s Day 2007.
Another wounded soldier wanting to reenlist is Navy Corpsman Daniel â€œDocâ€ Jacobs, who suffered from severe PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) got caught up in pain pills and alcohol after losing his leg in Iraq. After a near death experience, though, he decided to turn his life around and find a purpose. Part of that purpose may be staying in the military to help other soldiers returning from war.
He lost his leg after his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb. He was due to go home in just a few weeks and was on one of his last patrols in the Sunni Triangle. After 42 surgeries, Jacobs can run, swim and bicycle. He’s recovered enough that he can pass a Navy fitness test with his prosthetic leg.
Sgt. Brent Dale was another soldier who fought to reenlist.
This is a snippet of an interview he did with MVW News Network:
MVM: Did you re-enlist hoping to go to the Middle East?
Dale: I absolutely did. In the Army, everyone from the lowest privates to the highest generals have been here. I did eight years and didn’t get to. I didn’t get to earn my combat patch or my combat stripes. It’s just something that no matter what you do/did in the Army, if you say that you never went to Iraq/Afghanistan, people look down on you. I hated telling people that I never deployed. To me, that’s like a doctor saying he’s never had a surgery where the patient lived.
Well, now I can say that I’ve been there, and that excites me more than anything. I am having the time of my life here.
MVM: Anything else you want to add?
Dale: If you want, you can print my e-mail address. Maybe a few people will write that I haven’t talked to in a while.
Sgt. Dale can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s people like these that show you the all volunteer US Military is working and that people of this generation still believe in the idea of serving their nation in the armed forces.
This is Sgt Stryker Saying Thank You and Signing Out