By Sgt. 1st Class Donald Sparks Army News Service
Cavalry troopers from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment raise their right hand to repeat the Oath of Reenlistment during the unit's Mass Reenlistment ceremony held at Fort Carson, Colo. on May 5. A total of 640 Soldiers participated in the event. (Photo, SFC Donald Sparks)
Soon after his arrival back home from Operation Iraqi Freedom, Spc. Aaron Ziegler knew exactly what he wanted to do – stay in the Army and continue to serve.
A food service specialist assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Ziegler recently reenlisted.
Ziegler and 639 other Soldiers of the 3rd ACR recited the Oath of Reenlistment during a mass reenlistment ceremony at Fort Carson, Colo.
"For me, I wanted to continue the lineage of men in my family who have served in the military for our country," Ziegler said. "Also, when I look back at what the 3rd ACR accomplished in Iraq, I'm just extremely proud to be a part of something special."
Both Ziegler's father and grandfather served in the U.S. Army.
Maj. Gen. Robert Mixon, 7th Infantry Division and Fort Carson commanding general, gave remarks and specifically thanked the family members, "because without families none of this would be possible," he said.
Col. H.R. McMaster, 3rd ACR commander, said that since the regiment's existence, cavalry troopers have continually answered the call to serve, as they today amidst the demands of the Global War on Terrorism.
"It is difficult to understand the less tangible rewards of service – knowing that you are making a difference in an endeavor greater than yourself and knowing that you are part of a team in which the Soldier next to you is willing to give everything, including his or her own life for you," McMaster added.
According to Master Sgt. William Koke, 3rd ACR senior career counselor, the regiment has already achieved 135 percent of its annual reenlistment goal.
"Of that number, 358 were first-term reenlistees and in one week alone, 280 Soldiers reenlisted to continue service to the nation," Koke said.
Koke mentioned 95 percent of the Soldiers who reenlisted served in Operation Iraqi Freedom III. More than 280 reenlisted to stay at Fort Carson, 55 for stateside assignments and 38 for overseas assignments.
Ziegler reenlisted for an assignment to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Belgium.
"The decision was easy for me to stay," Ziegler said. "I'm proud to be a Soldier."