• BAGHDAD - Capt. John Bond, the Battery B commander with 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery, 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, watches a ceremony in Bahrain via video teleconference before re-enlisting his big brother, Petty officer 1st Class Eric Bond, in the Navy. John is currently stationed at Victory Base Complex, and on May 2, he didn't feel so far away from his brother, who is stationed in Bahrain. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Samantha Beuterbaugh, 366th MPAD, USD-C)

    Watching a ceremony in Bahrain

    BAGHDAD - Capt. John Bond, the Battery B commander with 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery, 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, watches a ceremony in Bahrain via video teleconference before re-enlisting his big brother, Petty officer...

  • BAGHDAD - Capt. John Bond, the Battery B commander with 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery, 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, stands at attention re-enlisting his big brother, Petty officer 1st Class Eric Bond, in the Navy via video teleconference. John is currently stationed at Victory Base Complex, and on May 2, he didn't feel so far away from his brother, who is stationed in Bahrain. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Samantha Beuterbaugh, 366th MPAD, USD-C)

    Re-enlisting his big brother

    BAGHDAD - Capt. John Bond, the Battery B commander with 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery, 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, stands at attention re-enlisting his big brother, Petty officer 1st Class Eric Bond, in the Navy via...

  • BAGHDAD - First Lt. Angelo Valdebenito, the battalion adjutant with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery, 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, swears in his wife April 29 via Skype. His wife completed Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga. Angelo is currently stationed at Victory Base Complex, and Skype enabled him to administer the oath of commission to his wife to finalize her advancement. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Samantha Beuterbaugh, 366th MPAD, USD-C)

    Swearing in his wife

    BAGHDAD - First Lt. Angelo Valdebenito, the battalion adjutant with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery, 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, swears in his wife April 29 via Skype. His wife...

  • BAGHDAD - A new chemical officer, 2nd Lt. Lisandra Valdebenito, prepares her dress blues for her oath of commission April 29. Her husband swore her in via Skype after completing of Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga. 1st Lt. Angelo Valdebenito, the battalion adjutant assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery, 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, is currently stationed at Victory Base Complex and found the experience very rewarding. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Samantha Beuterbaugh, 366th MPAD, USD-C)

    Preparing for oath to commission

    BAGHDAD - A new chemical officer, 2nd Lt. Lisandra Valdebenito, prepares her dress blues for her oath of commission April 29. Her husband swore her in via Skype after completing of Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga. 1st Lt. Angelo...

  • BAGHDAD - First Lt. Angelo Valdebenito, the battalion adjutant with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery, 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, greets his wife via Skype April 29. The former Staff Sgt. Lisandra Valdebenito just graduated Officer Candidate School in Fort Benning, Ga., April 29. Angelo is currently stationed at Victory Base Complex and was united with his wife to administer her oath of commission. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Samantha Beuterbaugh, 366th MPAD, USD-C)

    Greeting wife via Skype

    BAGHDAD - First Lt. Angelo Valdebenito, the battalion adjutant with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery, 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, greets his wife via Skype April 29. The former Staff...

BAGHDAD - In previous years, communication with the outside world wasn't always easy while on a deployment. Today, Soldiers serving in Iraq are finding that technological advancements are helping them stay closer to family members and closer to home.

Two Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery, 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division recently used multimedia technology to perform ceremonies for their loved ones.

First Lt. Angelo Valdebenito, a Miami native and the battalion adjutant assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, raised his hand as he stood in front of his laptop, which was placed on a lectern in front of the American flag April 29 at Victory Base Complex.

Skype, a free online webcam and chat service, enabled Valdebenito to administer his wife's oath of commission. The former Staff Sgt. Lisandra Valdebenito duplicated the oath to officially state her new pledge to the United States Army as a 2nd lieutenant after completing of Officer Candidate School.

"One of her dreams was for me to be present, and Skype made it possible for me to be there," said Valdebenito.

After swearing his wife into the U.S. Army Officer Corps., Angelo said, "I wasn't able to be there physically, but I was there mentally."

Throughout the deployment, Skype has helped the couple stay close, but Skype isn't the only way in which Soldiers and loved ones are able to come together during ceremonies.

Capt. Matt Hardy, a communications officer with 1st Bn., assisted Capt. John Bond in coordinating with U.S. Air Force members to arrange a re-enlistment ceremony via video teleconference at an Air Force facility May 2.

Bond, the Battery B commander and a native of Silver Spring, Md., was given the opportunity to re-enlist his big brother, Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Bond, who has been in the Navy for 16 years and is currently serving in Bahrain as an intelligence specialist.

"The last time I saw my brother was two Christmases ago," said Bond.
Bond stood in a small conference room with several Airmen present, who wanted to partake in the joint ceremony. The brothers greeted each other with a few jokes before the ceremony, but they quickly snapped to attention as the ceremony commenced.

Like Valdebenito, Bond raised his right hand and administered the re-enlistment oath as his brother recited the words after him. John was proud to be the officer swearing in Eric with his final re-enlistment ceremony.

"It was a special connection just to talk using the same mannerisms and to look at him," said Bond. He added that he felt especially connected when they were reciting the oath despite the vast distance that separated them.

When recalling previous deployments, Valdebenito said phone calls were even a challenge in the past. Technological advancements are keeping service members in touch with their loved ones both back home and overseas, which is increasing troop morale.

Both officers agreed that it is important to incorporate ways to boost morale while Soldiers are deployed. Connecting with loved ones through communication methods such as Skype and video teleconference calls is strengthening Soldiers and supporting them during their mission in Iraq.

Page last updated Fri May 7th, 2010 at 07:54