POUPPEVILLE, France — U.S. Army Spc. Nathaniel Hills, a Manchester Township, New Jersey native and 4th Infantry Division Soldier, reenlisted at one of the most historic sites in World War II history June 6, 2023. The ceremony took place at Utah Beach, the same location where 4th Infantry Division Soldiers landed during the largest amphibious attack in history June 6, 1944, on the Cotentin Peninsula, located in Northwest France. While raising his right hand, Hills echoed the Oath of Enlistment spoken by Maj. Gen. David Hodne, commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division.
“I am so grateful to inherit the title of Ivy Soldier and be able to come here and see where former Ivy Soldiers have stormed these beaches,” Hills said. “It’s truly heartwarming to see how the former Ivy Soldiers from World War II would have reacted and see what legacy I am taking up.”
Hills, a 2020 Manchester Township High School graduate, is a cavalry scout assigned to the Bravo Troop, 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, which is located at Fort Carson, Colorado.
Hills grew up listening to veterans tell their stories and it was that environment that inspired him to serve his country. At 17 years of age, Hills raised his right hand and enlisted into the U.S. Army.
“I joined the Army to give my all to something bigger than myself,” Hills said. “I have always wanted to try and set an example for my younger siblings, and I definitely want to inspire those around me.”
Hills is not the first in his family to serve. Both his grandfathers served, one in the Navy and the other in the Army during World War II.
“My Grandpa Hanlon was a fireman and an electrician who worked in a torpedo room of a submarine and my Grandpa Goble was an engineer who helped build the Bridge of Remagen,” Hills said.
Hills said that it’s an honor to be on the beaches were former Ivy Soldiers once landed, and in France where his grandfathers fought.
During his youth, Hills was adopted and wanted to immerse himself into a diverse workforce. He believes people need someone in similar situations to look up to that can motivate them to be all they can be. He is the oldest of twelve children and says his siblings offer him a wealth of inspiration.
“What inspires me to Be All I Can Be is definitely my 11 siblings,” Hills said. “Going home and seeing all of their smiling faces definitely sets me on a good path and I hope to be a good example for them.”
Spc. Lucas Goellner, an infantryman assigned to Hills’ unit says Hills makes everyone around him better.
“Hills is a well-rounded, quick-learning, morale booster,” Goellner said. “If he’s not joking with everyone, he’s learning something new or teaching new Soldiers.”
Success in the military is predicated on teamwork. According to Goellner, one of Hills’ largest strengths is making competition a habit while also incorporating togetherness.
“He makes me want to compete with him,” Goellner said. “He is a good example for people to follow but he also teases people to be better with a competitive nature.”
Hills says his devotion to the Army inspired his own reenlistment.
“I really love the Army, it has set me on a good path,” Hills said. “I didn’t have the best home life, but I am enjoying where I am going now.”
Heading into a life of continued service, Hills spoke on his future in the military.
“Goals of mine would be to earn my Ranger tab and to pursue a job in the medical field,” Hills said. “I would also like to eventually end up at (the United States Special Operations Command).”
Select Soldiers when reenlisting have the option to change their career fields and Hills is taking advantage of this to become a combat medic.
“What made me want to switch is my family because a lot of them are emergency medical technician certified,” Hills said. “I definitely want to help those around me.”
Hills says the best piece of advice he could give someone looking to enter the Army or extend their career is to simply give effort.
“[Effort] can get you a long way,” Hills said. “As long as you are showing me that you can give effort, I’ll give you the best effort I can too.”