Finding their reason to serve
40th Anniversary of the All-Volunteer Force logo

BALTIMORE -- Every civilian has a different reason for enlisting -- some are looking for a new start in life, some want to serve their country, and some simply want to protect it. For applicant Geoffrey Auza, who will join as a 74D nuclear, chemical, biological specialist, enlisting in the Army provides an opportunity to give back while also gaining a U.S. citizenship.

"The Army is helping me get my citizenship, and I want to protect the U.S. from threats," said Auza, who was born and raised in the Philippines. "Also, I want to use the Army's college money to finish my bachelor's degree and pursue nursing. The Army will give me a chance to travel, further my education and raise my self esteem."

Some Soldiers enlisted for service in the Army while others were still being drafted for Vietnam. Specialist 4 Roy Milbrodt Sr. is one of those Army veterans.

"I was 18 years old and I knew I was likely going to be drafted," said Milbrodt, who enlisted into the Army out of Cleveland in 1968. "I didn't want to end up in a branch that I didn't know much about. I liked the idea of serving a branch [the Army] that had treated my father well in World War II."

Serving in the Army made him stronger, according to Milbrodt, who served two years in Vietnam, where he earned two Bronze Stars (one with valor) and a Purple Heart.

"The Army made me grow-up in a way that many others didn't have to. Being 18 years old and being shipped off to a combat zone made me realize the things we take for granted each day are the most important things."

According to Milbrodt, one of his greatest contributions to the Army is his son, Staff Sgt. Roy Milbrodt Jr., who serves as an assistant center commander of the Largo Center in Baltimore Battalion. But Milbrodt Jr. has a great deal of respect for his father and suggests that the new generation of Soldiers has a responsibility to honor the Soldiers of the past.

"Their selfless service -- their sacrifices to us and everyone -- went unnoticed during [my father's] time in the Army, and so many looked down on them when they returned home. It is up to us as today's Soldiers to honor and pay homage to their sacrifice and dedication."

More recently, the Army witnessed an influx of soldiers who joined in the months following the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. For Staff Sgt. Dominick Engel, who was living in New York at the time, this attack was his call to duty.

"[After the attack happened], I wanted to fight for my country," said Engel, who joined as an infantry Soldier. Six years later, Engel has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and has helped neutralized threats that could have potentially taken the lives of American Soldiers.

"I gained new experiences from my deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan," said Engel, "and I have a high level of pride in what I do."Throughout the past 40 years, every Soldier has had one thing in common: they all volunteered. And while the tangible benefits are sometimes a driving motive for why a young man or woman volunteers, it is often the intangible benefits -- pride, duty, and selfless service -- the Soldier cherishes most as a result of his or her service.

Page last updated Tue July 16th, 2013 at 16:43