Soldier re-ups atop network vehicle, witnessed by Soldiers behind his reason to stay
April 28, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- A Soldier re-enlisted in the Army on April 28 atop a vehicle and in front of his fellow Soldiers-two of the reasons he chose to re-enlist.
Staff Sgt. William Girard, a Soldier for 13-1/2 years, took the re-enlistment as 2nd Lt. Danielle Low, A Soldier since May of last year, conducted her first re-enlistment ceremony.
A platoon sergeant with the 206th Signal Company, Girard told his fellow platoon and company members that he was thinking of "going AGR" (Active Guard Reserve) but that they were why he would stay with the Army and the unit.
"It's a small enough company that they don't just rely on you for professional issues. It's personal. It's the company that really helped me make my decision," said Girard.
Girard had left the Army after serving as a medic from 1982-1994. After the September 11, 2001 tragedy he went back into the Army full-time into the Signal Corps.
Initially, Girard said he did not like being a Signal Soldier. He operated Mobile Subscriber Equipment (MSE), which is now being replaced by Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, Increment One, called frequently by its former name, the Joint Network Node (JNN).
Operating the new system changed his perspective. "Signal was not my thing until JNN. JNN made a lot of sense," he said.
Girard's first encounter with JNN came while he was stationed at Camp Red Cloud in Korea, where JNN was replacing the older MSE equipment. He then became a 25N, JNN Operator. He said the new system made more sense because Soldiers coming into the Army today are accustomed to operating computers in ways that an "old Soldier" like him was not.
Many network operations in the new system are computer based. "It's much more flexible. It's easily integrated into any network that we go into," said Girard.
To conduct the ceremony, Girard and Low climbed atop a JNN vehicle with two Soldiers from the platoon who held up the United States flag.
It's truly an honor," said Low about conducting her first re-enlistment. "Not just because it's my first and his last, but he's really been a help to me."
The 206th Signal Company was participating in Austere Challenge 09 here and was supporting an Operational Validation of the Network Service Center, which allows units to maintain Internet connectivity throughout their deployment cycle.