By SSG Garrett Ralston, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment Public Affairs
Blackanthem Military News
BABIL PROVINCE, Iraq - The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, currently deployed in support of Operation New Dawn, conducted a mass reenlistment ceremony across its area of operation on Veterans Day.
Simultaneous ceremonies were held on three contingency operating sites. Separated by hundreds of miles, 212 Soldiers raised their right hands and recited the time-honored oath of enlistment.
"These Troopers have volunteered to reenlist in a time of war to protect the freedoms we all enjoy," said Master Sgt. Mike Walker, Senior Career Counselor for the regiment. "Many of them are staying with the regiment and reenlisted simply because they want to continue to serve their country."
Maj. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander of both the 1st Infantry Division and U.S. Division-South in Iraq, administered the oath of enlistment to Soldiers re-enlisting at Contingency Operating Site Kalsu.
"It's a great day to spend time with some of the world's greatest warriors," said Brooks.
Brooks thanked the Soldiers for their initial willingness to join the Army while commending their leaders for inspiring them to continue to serve.
"The regiment is one month into the fiscal year and half its retention goals have been met," said Brooks. "If that's not ‘Brave Rifles' style, I don't know what is."
The 1st Inf. Div. deputy commanding generals, Brig. Gen. Ricky Gibbs and Brig. Gen. Randal Dragon, administered oaths at Contingency Operating Site Echo in Diwaniyah and Contingency Operating Site Delta in Wasit. The division's support for the regiment's Soldiers across southern Iraq made the event a success. The 212 reenlistees pledged to continue their service to the Army and to write the next pages in the chronicles of an already storied regiment.
The history of the 3rd ACR dates back to 1846 when it was enacted by Congress to establish military stations on the route to Oregon. The regiment saw service in ten of the nations' major campaigns and conflicts. It was during the Mexican-American War that Gen. Winfield Scott, upon seeing his men bloodied from battle, proclaimed "Brave Rifles! Veterans! You have been baptized in fire and blood and have come out steel!" From then on, the moniker "Veterans" stayed with the unit.
Of the 212 reenlistees, two are a married couple serving alongside each other.
Spc. Daniel L. Saenz, a light wheel mechanic from Abilene, Kansas, and Sgt. Susana A. Saenz, a signal support specialist from El Centro, Calif., both of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, stood together and recited the oath.
"We chose to stay because we enjoy serving in the Army," said Susana. "Veterans Day is a great day to do it because it honors the sacrifices of us all and those who came before us."
As part of the ceremony on Kalsu, every reenlistee passed before Brooks and received a coin and a handshake.
"These veterans who raised their hands today exemplify the ardent spirit of the American Soldier and demonstrate the commitment of this regiment to a stable Iraq," said Col. Reginald E. Allen, commander of the 3rd ACR. "We owe such dedication and resolve to the thousands of American Soldiers who left their homes to fight for freedom in this land and, more importantly, to the thousands of American warriors who did not come back home."