Army South Soldier reenlists above Haiti
Capt. Christopher Feliciano, political military analyst, U.S. Army South, administers the oath of reenlistment to Spc. Sarah Lystra, administration specialist, U.S. Army South, while flying 350 feet above Port-au-Prince, Haiti on April 24. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Maj. Rick E. Black, U.S. Army South Public Affairs)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - A U.S. Army South soldier completed her first reenlistment while flying in a UH-60 Blackhawk more than 300 feet above Port-au-Prince, Haiti on April 24.

Army Spc. Sarah Lystra, an administration specialist with U.S. Army South, took advantage of her deployment to Haiti to conduct her reenlistment ceremony in a helicopter from the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment deployed from Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras.

"At first I wasn't going to reenlist but after weighing all of my options this was the best decision for me and my family," Lystra said. "Since I made that decision, I wanted my first reenlistment to be a unique and memorable experience."

Not only was this event a memorable experience for Lystra, it also was unique for her reenlistment officer, Army Capt. Christopher Feliciano, a political military analyst with Army South.

"It is always an honor to have a Soldier request you as their reenlistment officer and this is my first time to administer the oath during a deployment and also in a Blackhawk," Feliciano said. "This unique reenlistment not only boosted her morale, but it boosted mine as well."

Coming from a joint service family with her father and brother serving in the U.S. Navy and her husband in the U.S. Air Force, Lystra commented that it was fitting that she reenlisted during her deployment in a joint environment with Joint Task Force-Haiti supporting Operation Unified Response. While she says the different branch of service jokes are plentiful among her family members, they still support her choice of service to the United States.

"We are a military family and we are all proud of each other's service," said Lystra.

After Lystra reaffirmed her commitment to the U.S. Army for three years, she was afforded the opportunity to take in a bird's eye view of Haiti from the devastation caused by the earthquake on Jan 12.

While Lystra stated that she is excited about her future military career, she's already thinking about how to conduct her next reenlistment ceremony.

"I'll have to come up with another way to top this one. It will be hard," Lystra said. "I think it's important that Soldiers make their reenlistment memorable because it's an important and personal commitment that shouldn't be taken lightly."

Page last updated Tue April 27th, 2010 at 09:38