KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – As the two Black Hawk helicopters touched down, the cool wind whipped at the soldiers who had been patiently waiting for their ride. This particular ride was not going to be very long and its only destination was up in the air to circle around then land right back down. But for one soldier, this would be an unforgettable once in a lifetime ride.
Spc. Rodger Beko, an intelligence analyst with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, re-enlisted to stay in the Army for another three years in a helicopter hovering above Kandahar City, March 7.
“It’s his first re-enlistment and first deployment so we wanted to do something memorable,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Sullivan, the intelligence operations non-commissioned officer in charge with HHT. “He’s a great soldier, probably one of the best soldiers I’ve had so far, and we wanted to do something to show him we appreciate the hard work he’s doing out here.”
“Nobody had any problems with this guy being re-enlisted,” said Master Sgt. Stephen Acord, the brigade intelligence NCOIC with HHT. “He is ‘Jonny on the spot;’ he is a great intel analyst.”
When soldiers decide to raise their right hand and re-take the Oath of Enlistment it is also their choice where they will say that oath.
Sullivan informed Beko of the different places he could choose from.
“I’ve never gotten the opportunity to ride in a Black Hawk and the option was presented to me and I took it,” Beko said. “Staff. Sgt. Sullivan said he would do what he had to, to make it happen and he did.”
Sullivan coordinated everything to get the helicopter, but because of missions and weather, it wasn’t 100 percent guaranteed until the helicopter actually arrived.
A total of seven soldiers accompanied Beko for his re-enlistment.
“I’m happy and proud that he chose me to administer his oath of re-enlistment,” said Chief Warrant Officer Rick Tyson, the brigade all source intelligence chief with HHT. “It’s interesting, this is my first time. I’ve done re-enlistments in a combat zone before but this will be my first one in the air-- I hope he can hear me.”
In order for the oath to be heard, both Beko and Tyson were fitted with headsets. The re-enlistment and flight went off without a hitch.
“It was freakin’ awesome,” Beko said after landing. “It was my first time riding in a Black Hawk and it was fun. I’m glad everything worked out great. I got lucky and it was a very unique experience.”
||PANAMA CITY, FL, US
This work, Warhorse Soldier re-enlists over Kandahar City, by SSG Ruth Pagan, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.