By Spc. Creighton Holub 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div., PAOAugust 19, 2008
AMARAH, Iraq (Army News Service, Aug. 19, 2008) - Forget money. Forget choice of duty station. Forget everything but the t-shirt.
Believe it or not, the t-shirt for reenlisting on the front lines was the only incentive Pfc. Jacob McHenry wanted prior to signing up for an additional three years in the Army.
"The Army is too easy for me, and I have no reason to get out," said the 18-year-old forward observer from Monroe, La., assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. "But it's really hard to change my MOS (military occupational specialty), because there's not a lot of people in my MOS."
The artilleryman expressed no desire to find a new job; right now, he's the go-to guy when attack aviation assets are around.
"This is completely different than doing anything in 'normal' artillery," he added. "Talking to Longbow Apache helicopter pilots is different than anything else in the artillery branch. I have to take into consideration air-to-ground integration and put myself into the pilot's position. I have to create a clear picture in their minds before they can attack the enemy."
McHenry's artillery background came in handy during a recent Iraqi army "cordon and dig."
"It's great having him because he has training related to artillery rounds," said 1st Lt. Trevor Jones, a Houston native and the Company A's 3rd Platoon leader. "It helps to have someone who has more knowledge, and he can pass it down to my other Soldiers as well."
The leaders in his unit are happy to have McHenry in their ranks assisting as the (Iraqi security forces) takes the lead in combat operations out on the streets of Amarah.
"He's extended his time in the Army, so we know he's committed to doing what he's here for," Jones said.
In addition to the reenlistment t-shirt, McHenry received a $7,500 cash bonus for reenlisting through July 2013. He also reaped brigade-specific reenlistment incentives such as picking his own guaranteed vacation time, a pair of four-day trips to Qatar and getting the first flight home at the end of the deployment. He also has the opportunity to complete more civilian education upon returning to Fort Hood.