Servicemembers from all over Iraq gathered in the Al Faw Palace rotunda at Camp Victory, Baghdad, to reenlist and celebrate Independence Day.

All 1,215 servicemembers celebrated by raising their right hands and pledging to continue defending the "land of the free" in what is the largest reenlistment ceremony since the all-volunteer force began in 1973 according to Command Sgt. Maj. Marvin L. Hill, command sergeant major, Multi-National Forces - Iraq.

"Volunteering to continue to serve our nation, while deployed - is both noble and inspiring," said Gen. David Petraeus, commanding general, Multi-National Forces - Iraq. "It is, as award citations often state, in keeping with the finest traditions of our military services."

Petraeus presided over the ceremony and led the airmen, Marines, sailors, and Soldiers in their oath to defend their country against all enemies both foreign and domestic on this day of celebration of America winning its independence.

"We recognize the sacrifices they make and the sacrifices their families and communities make as they serve in Iraq," Hill said. "These servicemembers know the cost of war and they are still reenlisting."

Accumulatively servicemembers pledged more than 5,500 years of additional service to their country.

"It makes me feel proud to serve this great nation," said Spc. Zackary Cunningham, mechanic, 602nd Maintenance Battalion, Tactical Base Balad, who plans on making the Army a career.

The reenlistees have every right to feel proud according to Petraeus.

"You and your comrades here have been described as America's new greatest generation, and, in my view, you have more than earned that description," Petraeus said. "It is the greatest of honors to soldier here with you."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16