By Spc. Sophia R. LopezJuly 4, 2008
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq - There comes a time in every Soldier's life when they have to decide if they are ready to leave the service or stay on for another term. For Soldiers in Iraq who decide to stay in the Army, this becomes a choice on whether to reenlist here or back in the U.S.
Some Soldiers may want to reenlist while in Iraq for the chance at their pick in duty station or for the tax-free bonus. Others do it for more personal reasons.
"I knew I was going to stay. I had already made up my mind about four or five years ago," said Staff Sgt. Dimas Estrada, an air and missile defense operations sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th Mountain Division. For Estrada, the chance to reenlist while serving here was a significant event. He comes from a long line of Army veterans, but his father, who served in Iraq during Desert Storm, had also reenlisted here.
"I was going to reenlist when I got back," said Estrada, a Phoenix native, stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y. This is Estrada's forth reenlistment, having already served twelve years.
Serving his country for only three years thus far, Spc. Jeremy Giddings, of Watertown, N.Y., also had an important decision ahead of him.
"I've been considering reenlisting for at least the past year," said Giddings, a member of a battalion security detail for Headquarters and Support Company, Division Special Troops Battalion. "I realized I wanted to stay in and make a career out of it. Besides, you can't beat the benefits," he said with a smile.
However, with the benefits, comes the possibility of deploying again, but this had no affect on Giddings' decision.
"I expect at least two or three more after this," he calmly said.
This was something that Estrada took into account though.
"I had to really think about it at first," he said. "I know I'm going to deploy again, but I don't have much time left (until retirement). It's a good thing for my kids. My family, after all, is secure - not just financially. I feel that my family is safer with me being in the military," he added, mentioning the presence of military police on post (at Fort Drum).
Many Soldiers have many reasons for reenlisting and these reasons differ whether back in the U.S. or in Iraq. For Giddings, this is a decision that would have the same outcome no matter where he's at.
"This is just one of many (reenlistments) to come," he said, making it clear that no matter where he hung his hat at night, this was one decision that was already made up in his mind.
Approximately 1,200 Soldiers are reenlisting in a mass ceremony at al Faw Palace July 4. Gen. David Petraeus, the Multi-National Forces - Iraq commander, will be swearing Soldiers into their next term.