By Spc. William R. Begley, 11th Public Affairs DetachmentApril 20, 2010
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti- Re-enlistment can be a nerve-wracking, thought- provoking, second-guessing experience for one person. Now times that by two and imagine re-enlisting with a spouse.
Spc. Darwin Quinteros, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with Headquarters Support Company, Special Troops Battalion, U.S. Army South, deployed with Joint Task Force-Haiti in support of Operation Unified Response. His wife, Spc. Erica Quinteros, an intelligence analyst with Alpha Company, Special Troops Battalion, G-2, U.S. Army South, is at home at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Despite the distance that divided the couple, both re-enlisted together by video teleconference April 7.
This was a unique opportunity in that they re-enlisted and also got some face-to-face time while being in two different countries.
Darwin was deployed to Haiti almost immediately following the birth of his daughter, Luci, who is now 11 weeks old. It was difficult to leave so soon but he knew that it was part of being a Soldier in the Army. Darwin and Erica have been married for nearly a year.
Not long ago, Erica received Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders to go to Korea. With a new child, and a husband on deployment, Erica decided to see what options she had available to her. She had never re-enlisted before and found out that if she and her husband both re-enlisted they could remain stateside at the duty station of their choice. She also had another reason to re-enlist.
"I wanted to see my husband," said Erica. "Re-enlisting by video teleconference is also unique and different."
Darwin also wanted to see his wife. After the re-enlistment ceremony, mom, dad and daughter were allowed to talk alone.
"It felt good to talk to her," he said. "I haven't seen her and the baby since I came here."
Re-enlisting for three more years, Darwin was a jumble of emotion. This wasn't the first time he had re-enlisted so he wasn't sure about making the commitment once again. However, his wife Erica was determined to keep her new family together.
"At first, I was nervous," said Darwin. "But then she convinced me and we did it."
Maj. Gen. Simeon Trombitas, deputy commanding general, Joint Task Force-Haiti, was present at the re-enlistment ceremony. After the ceremony, Trombitas presented Darwin with two coins.
"Here's one for you and one for your wife," Trombitas said.
Even when you re-enlist, the needs of the Army must be taken into consideration. The Army also takes into consideration the needs of its Soldiers.
The Quinteros' will be heading to Fort Lewis, Wash. in December where they will be closer to Erica's family who lives in Washington, and can care for their daughter if Erica and Darwin are deployed at the same time.
With the family's needs met, and the Army able to retain two good Soldiers, a unique re-enlistment ceremony ended.
"It was amazing," said Erica. "I'm just so excited that he got to see his baby."