News: Aviation unit reaches 800th re-enlistment in Iraq
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Mills
3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division
CAMP STRIKER, Iraq – During the last 35 days of its 15-month deployment, one unit proves it isn't tough to keep Soldiers in the Army.
Third Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, recently marked the 800th Soldier to re-enlist since the unit deployed in May of last year.
Staff Sgt. John Sosebee, 3rd CAB legal team non-commissioned officer-in-charge, was the 800th Soldier to take his re-enlistment oath on June 20.
"That's about one-third of the brigade, right there," said Master Sgt. Barry Norris, senior brigade retention non-commissioned officer, 3rd CAB. The 3rd CAB has approximately 2,700 Soldiers in its ranks in Iraq.
This is the 3rd CAB's third deployment to Iraq. Many of the reenlisting Soldiers are like Sosebee: the Toccoa, Ga., native deployed to Iraq with the 3rd Inf. Div. three times since the 2003 invasion.
Norris, a native of Groton, S.D., attributes the tax-free deployment bonuses and the long deployment for keeping the numbers high.
"I don't think I've ever seen 800 in 14 months," he said, adding he never deployed as long as 14 months either.
Lately, time definitely plays into the equation. As the unit prepares to redeploy to Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga., Norris said previously undecided Soldiers now rush to the retention office to take advantage of the bonuses.
Sosebee said waiting was not his choice. He had to wait until he had 10 years of service before he could re-enlist.
"I love being in the Army and there's nothing else I want to do," Sosebee said after his re-enlistment. "It was never a question of 'if' I wanted to reenlist or not, it was 'when.'"