By Beth E. Sherman, Combined Joint Task Force-82 Public AffairsApril 12, 2010
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Spc. Alexander Moore's mother and step-father didn't get a chance to see him enlist in the Army two years ago. However, they more than made up for it when they watched him re-enlist April 10, in an unlikely place, in eastern Afghanistan's Paktya province.
"I feel very fortunate, surprised and privileged that I have parents that do what they do, and can see me on this special occasion," said Moore, an artilleryman with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 320nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
Mrs. Beth Moore and husband, Mr. Anthony Ralph are government contractors at Bagram Airfield and only a 45 minute flight away from their 29-year-old son stationed at Combat Outpost Wilderness.
"Words cannot begin to express the joy and pride we feel being here," said Mrs. Moore, a retired U.S. Army Master Sgt. "It truly is a very special day for us."
Moore's step-father is a retired U.S. Army Sgt 1st Class, and was thrilled to be by Alexander's side. "It's an exciting day, an important day, and a milestone. This one is special," he said.
While Moore was thrilled to have family at COP Wilderness, he also had star power at his re-enlistment. U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, Combined Joint Task Force-82 commanding general, re-enlisted Moore and two other soldiers at the COP. Moore was touched the commanding general would take the time to be there.
"It makes us feel important," said Moore with a smile. "It says what we do really matters and is making a difference in the long-run. "
For Scaparrotti, it was an opportunity to connect with those carrying out the mission.
"It makes my day. It's why we're here. They're doing the hard work. You have to go out to see them and despite all of our intelligence on the battlefield, I always learn a lot," he said about the fight.
The men and women of Moore's unit also saw how much the Afghans cared about the fight when the commanding general of the 203rd Afghan National Army "Thunder" Corps, Maj. Gen. Abdul Khaliq, said a few words at the ceremony.
"I think it's truly amazing that such great Americans with such great American families would re-enlist to help the cause for Afghanistan."
Moore's family said they felt at home at COP Wilderness. With only enough soldiers to field a few football teams, Spc. Moore says it still reminds them of Sierra Vista, Ariz.
"It reminds me of Arizona, except there are no mesquite trees and the dirt is gray instead of red."
While other moms may not know all the risks their soldier face, Mrs. Moore is all too familiar. As a contractor, providing full motion video feeds to the Joint Operations Center, she sees the dangers of war every day. Yet, she says she'd rather know than wonder.
"Sometimes your imagination can be far worse than reality," Mrs. Moore said. "It also provides a great deal of comfort to his wife and grandparents knowing I can keep an eye on what's happening in his area."
For Mr. Ralph, faith in his step-son's training, his unit and his survival instincts also brings some peace of mind. "It helps to be a phone call, email or rotary flight away."
While Moore's wife, Andrea and two children couldn't be at his ceremony, the third generation soldier admits, this re-enlistment may be tough to top.