Aviation Center site of Cav style reenlistment
May 28, 2009
By Jeremy Wise
- First-ever horseback reenlistment at the U. S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence
- Steeped in tradition, Staff Sgt. Michael Banks renewed his commitment to the Army
FORT RUCKER, Ala.--Staff Sgt. Michael Banks, 6th Military Police (MP) Detachment investigator, grew up in San Marcos, Texas, surrounded by horses. Fittingly, horses surrounded Banks during a portion of his Army career when he was a member of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.
That opportunity, plus a love of horses, allowed for a unique scenario at Fort Rucker last week as Banks, sitting on a draft horse, reenlisted indefinitely. According to retention officer Staff Sgt. Gary Everett, it was the first post reenlistment done on horseback "in known years."
The third and final reenlistment for Banks occurred at the Equestrian Center May 19. It also marked the anniversary of his journey to become a Soldier.
"It's still significant. When I was trying to find my way in life, find a way to provide for my girl and Family, the Army was there," he said. Banks completed basic training 11 years ago at Fort Bliss, Texas, followed by duty in South Korea.
He said his original plan was to serve five years in the Army. Because of that plan, he became an MP.
"When I first joined, this was a stepping stone. I wanted something that was an easy transition from Army life to (civilian) life," Banks said. During the first few years of his Army career, Banks said he did not have a chance to continue his childhood love - horseback riding.
"(When I was young) my uncle had horses, and my dad had horses, so I would just go (outside) and have fun - riding and roping," he said. In March 2001, he was reunited with that lost childhood love when he was stationed with Fort Hood's, Texas 1st Cavalry Division.
"It was (going) back to my roots, back to being a country boy again," Banks said. Since San Marcos is about 100 miles south of Fort Hood, Banks said he grew up learning a lot about the 1st Cavalry Division, which made the move that much more significant for him as a Soldier.
"You get wrapped in the tradition. It's the Cavalry charge, the spurs, the spur rides," he said. Banks was a part of the 1st Cavalry until 2006 when he joined Task Force Odin at Fort Hood. In January 2008, Fort Rucker became his new duty station.
When asked why he chose to conduct his reenlistment on horseback, Banks said, "It's a 1st Cav. thing. This was my last reenlistment. I thought this was the best opportunity."
Now that he has reenlisted, Banks hopes to return to Fort Hood to be a part of the 1st Cavalry's horse detachment. After retirement, Banks said he hopes to embrace his childhood love once and for all. "It still is a dream. In retirement, I hope to have a house and enough land to have a six-stall horse barn, a roping arena and a few horses," he said.