BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Dec. 21, 2007) - Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. re-enlisted 267 Soldiers in a ceremony at Camp Victory's Al Faw Palace Dec. 19.

The Soldiers, who had come from throughout Multi-National Division - Center's area of operations, raised their right hands and pledged to continue risking their lives.

"Thank you all for what you're doing, and for the difference you're making in Iraq," Gen. Casey said. "I think it's important, every once in a while, to take a step back and think about the big picture and remind ourselves what's at stake out here in the war on terror.

"We are at war with a global-extremist-terrorist network that is out to destroy our way of life," he continued, "but what's happening here in Iraq, because of your efforts and the efforts of others like you, is that Iraqis are turning against extremists. Make no mistake, what you're doing here is having a great impact."

Although the Soldiers who gathered for the ceremony shared a common bond - their desire to continue their military service - their reasons were diverse.

Pfc. Heather Lee Haynes, with the 632nd Maintenance Company, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, said she was pleased that Gen. Casey had come to conduct the ceremony.

She has only been in the Army for a year and a half, but has already decided to re-commit for six years.

"I'm working on my bachelor's degree in criminal justice," she said. "This way I can use my tuition assistance for that, and my husband can use my Montgomery G.I. Bill money for his school."

Staff Sgt. Dominic Clegg, with F Co., 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Inf. Div., said he was re-enlisting because he wants to train Soldiers.

"I'm not ready to get out," he said. "I re-enlisted for Fort Jackson, S.C., for eight years. I want to teach new Soldiers."

He added that it was an honor to receive the oath from Gen. Casey, because he was in Iraq when the chief of staff was the Multi-National Force-Iraq commander.

"This is my third deployment over here," Staff Sgt. Clegg smiled.

"You don't have to look any further than the 267 men and women about to raise their right hand to understand that this is the best Army in the world. We're blessed and humbled just to be in your presence," Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, Multi-National Division-Central commander, said, noting the Soldiers were committing to a total of 1,264 years of service.

"People ask me all the time," he continued, "'Lynch, how can you have so much confidence'' It's easy, because I'm around you all the time. And that's where we draw our confidence from, so we don't have to worry about our nation and our Army because you're there, and you're continuing to be committed. You're doing it to protect our freedom and our way of life."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16