By Capt. Andrew Camp
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
CAMP ECHO, Iraq – It may surprise some to know that re-enlistment rates among military intelligence and intelligence support Soldiers in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division are high here in Iraq.
In the early part of December, seven Company A, 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. Soldiers made the decision to continue to serve in the Army's operations support branches.
"Retaining [military] intelligence Soldiers on active duty can be difficult," said Warrant Officer Jason Glassow, the company intelligence electronic warfare maintenance technician. "The specialized training and skills they possess give them great opportunities and high-paying jobs outside the military service. For a Soldier to pass up all of that and stay in the Army says a lot about them and their commitment to their country."
Sgt. Iannina McDaniel, an IEW maintainer assigned to Glassow's section, re-enlisted Dec. 12, taking her oath between the IEW shop trucks and a Saddam-era warehouse on Camp Echo's flight line. With the rest of the IEW section and the battalion command sergeant major in attendance, McDaniel re-enlisted for four years with reassignment to Fort Meade, Md., following this deployment.
While McDaniel was influenced by many other factors, a Soldier's individual experiences play a significant role in the decision.
"I hadn't really considered re-enlisting before being assigned to the Special Troops Battalion. But here in Co. A, I'm doing my job as an IEW maintainer and the [non-commissioned officer] support channel has been phenomenal. [They] both helped to influence my decision to stay in," said McDaniel, who comes from Santee, Calif.
"Besides," added McDaniel, "I've always wanted to be stationed in Maryland."
Families also play an important role in a Soldier's decision to re-enlist. Staff Sgt. Henry Henson, senior operator and non-commissioned officer-in-charge for the forward control site of the company's Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Platoon, made the decision to commit to six years only after extensive consultation with his wife.
"She wasn't too sure about it at first," said Henson. "But we talked about where the economy was and where we wanted our career to be in a few years. With the deployment bonus, we can make sure our debts are paid off and make some good investments for the future."
Henson and 2nd Lt. Brian Morschauser, the TUAV platoon leader, climbed to the top of a 25-foot-tall pyramid of shipping containers supporting the forward control site's antenna array.
Henson said he conceived the idea of mounting the antennae atop a stack of containers to significantly increase the effective range of the TUAV signal and, as such, decided to hold his re-enlistment ceremony atop the pyramid on Dec. 11. Henson hails from Yuba City, Calif.
"I can't think of any better location for a re-enlistment ceremony than on top of the pyramid," said Morschauser. "Staff Sgt. Henson came up with the concept, and it's only fitting he re-enlist at the same location. He brings to the Army an impressive understanding of the TUAV and a genuine concern for our Soldiers. It's a huge benefit to the Army to retain him on active duty."
Other Co. A Soldiers who committed to re-enlist this month included Sgt. Andrew Dickenson, TUAV instructor operator, Sgt. Larry Robinson, a satellite communications NCOIC, Spc. Daniel Phillips, TUAV operator, Spc. Amanda Sheltrown, armorer, and Spc. Paul Yoshimoto, IEW maintainer.
Dickerson comes from Tempe, Ariz.; Robinson, from Mount Holly, N.J.; Phillips, from Woodlands, Texas; Sheltrown, from Bay City, Mich.; and Yoshimoto hails from Torrance, Calif.
This work, Company 'A' Soldiers re-enlist in Iraq, by CPT Andrew Camp, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.