FORT WORTH, Texas — In a captivating ceremony, a Fort Cavazos commanding general swore in 25 future Soldiers into the Army and retained 25 other Soldiers in front of an audience of thousands Sept. 24 at Texas Motor Speedway during the Autotrader Echo Park Automotive 400 series race.
Just before the engines started revving up, the Soldiers took center stage and the roaring audience cheered them on as they committed and recommitted to service in a group oath of enlistment.
Before administering the oath of enlistment to the Soldiers, Lt. Gen. Sean C. Bernabe, III Armored Corps and Fort Cavazos commanding general, addressed the gathering, emphasizing the values of commitment, dedication and patriotism to our country. Bernabe outlined their promising journey ahead.
“By serving in the Army, you will learn how to be a leader,” Bernabe said. “You will also see that military service is a springboard for success in life.”
Continuing, Bernabe expressed gratitude to those reenlisting for their dedication to active duty and acknowledged the unwavering support of their families on the home front.
“Thank you for staying on,” Bernabe said. “And thanks to your families for continuing to support you as we serve our great nation.”
The Soldiers took their positions center stage, solemnly reciting the oath before the NASCAR audience. Among the ranks was Jayden Westerlund, a future Soldier aspiring to become a 13 Bravo Cannon Crewmember. Drawing inspiration from her family, she recounted, “Throughout my years of growing up, seeing all the jobs I could do, I never really saw myself doing any of them long-term.”
However, Westerlund said, “I could see myself in uniform, protecting the country like my dad did.”
Jason Westerlund couldn’t be happier as he watched his daughter, Jayden, embark on a journey that mirrors his own.
With immense pride, he shared, “It’s a dream come true. My daughter actually wants to follow in my footsteps, and she will be able to get out and experience the world a little.”
Jayden felt the moment’s weight, saying, “It feels amazing. I absolutely love NASCAR, and to share this day and become a Soldier like my father was, is a great feeling.”
Soldiers from Fort Cavazos descended on the Speedway as early as Sept. 21, preparing for one of the standout events on the NASCAR calendar. Throughout the race weekend, attendees could participate in the “Meet Your Army” event, which introduced spectators to the military’s might. Static displays featured the M109 Howitzer, the M1A2 Abrams SEP v3 and a state-of-the-art joint military tactical vehicle, all of which were crowd favorites.